Over the past several years, the Department has grown our community engagement efforts to include a number of dedicated outreach programs. From free music lessons for low-income youth to employing hip-hop in global conflict resolution, our faculty and students are finding creative ways to employ their musical talents for good. Some of our outreach initiatives are: 

Musical Empowerment

This student-run non-profit organization strives to enrich the musical education of underserved children from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community by providing free private music lessons taught by UNC undergraduates. While many of our music students have been active members of Musical Empowerment since its founding in 2002, the Department entered a formalized partnership with the organization in 2013. Musical Empowerment currently serves approximately 125 underserved students, including provision of instruments and method books free of charge.

Musician Corps

Musicians Corps (MC) is a San-Francisco-based program that seeks to promote music for public benefit and social impact by placing Musician Corps Artists (MCA) in settings where there is capacity to build musical relationships. From February through August 2014, the Department took part in MC’s North Carolina launch by hosting MC artist Max Puhala. A UNC alum with a firm footing the local music scene, Max dedicated worked to strengthen the Department’s connection with other musical organizations on campus, increase the visibility of Department activities, and foster volunteer relationships between music students and local schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities. The Department continues as partner organization for Musician Corps as it continues to develop its programs in public schools and non-profits across North Carolina.

Next Level

In Fall 2013, the Department became home to an exciting new international exchange program funded by a million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of State. The program, entitled Next Level, is sponsored by the state department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in association with the UNC Department of Music. The project sprung from the work of the Department’s Prof. Mark Katz, and gives global scope to a set of popular music courses he developed at UNC beginning in 2011.

Starting in 2014, “Beat Making Lab,” “Dance Lab,” “DJ Lab,” and “MC Lab” are being taught as part of three-week exchange programs in India, Bangladesh, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. During the exchange, teams of MCs, DJs, beat makers, and hip-hop dancers conduct public concerts, interactive performances with local musicians, lecture demonstrations, workshops, and jam sessions with diverse audiences. In Fall 2014 the program received an $800,000 renewal grant that will continue the program for two additional years and into a new slate of countries.