The DSO’s commitment to providing music training programs in DPSCD schools began in 2017 with the launch of the Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble, for entry-level violinists in the third grade at DPSCD’s Duke Ellington Conservatory of Music and Art. This partnership has enabled the DSO to instruct 61 students and is completely free of charge for participants, including instruction, instruments, and administrative support to recruit students and host auditions at local schools.
Students who play in either the Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble or Detroit Pistons Bucket Band are guaranteed scholarships if they wish to continue their training in more advanced ensembles.
Tina Rowan, Executive Director of Accent Pontiac, an El Sistema-inspired music program that uses music as a vehicle for social change, says that teachers report improved behavior and test scores by students who play in their program, which includes a bucket band in the Pontiac Public School System.
Rowan believes buckets are a unique vehicle for teaching musicianship because of their accessibility: “Buckets are an immediate entry point to music-making. Kids can leave their first session already having played a song. Student leadership is required of each participant due to call and response rhythm exercises, wherein each student takes a turn creating a rhythm that the rest of the class than has to repeat.” The DSO will utilize similar techniques in their instruction.