Music-based education planned for charter school using musicians

Music-based education planned for charter school using Charleston musicians in classroom
Published: Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:47 PM EDT|Updated: May. 1, 2014 at 12:34 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Wednesday afternoon parents met about a brand new charter school in downtown Charleston. This one is unlike any other; it will focus solely on using music to educate students.

Local musicians will lead the classrooms.

Allegro is often times seen on sheet music.

"It does mean quick or upbeat," said Michael Smith, Executive Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Musicians use tempo to create emotion and the Allegro Charter School of Music wants to use that emotion to ignite their students.

Smith, who's also chair of the charter school planning committee said, "The curriculum is interesting, you don't have to have any prior experience with music to attend this school."

The school doesn't have any students yet, but that's their goal by August of next year.

Project manager, Jennifer Metts said, "We are shooting for 115 our first year. That's 43 in the 6th grade, 23 in the 7th, 23 in 8th grad and 23 in 9th grade."

Members of Charleston Symphony Orchestra and other local musicians will serve as faculty for the charter school.

School committee members say the partnership will benefit musicians of the performance world where jobs aren't always available.

Smith said, "This will be an opportunity for our musicians who want to be involved, who are capable to be involved to be in our community but also absolutely for an extra income source for musicians from the symphony as well as other community musicians."

Committee members say the school will offer a different experience for students.

"Other art schools I think are really focusing on the performance aspect of it where you want to study violin to become a violinist." Smith said. "But the real hook is what it does for your overall education. It's not necessarily training performers of tomorrow; it's using music as a medium to enhance all of the other academic subjects."

In order to get the green light from the state and the school district, the school must show community support beyond just word of mouth.

The charter school needs parents of current 4th, 5th or 7th graders to fill out letters of student interest.

That information will be submitted to the state for review and will also have to be passed by the Charleston County School Board.

The school will submit a formal application to the state July 1st.

Public Informational meetings:

April 30 or May 20 from 5:30-7:30pm at the Main Library, 68 Calhoun Street

May 3 from 4:00-5:30pm at the Arthur Christopher City Gym, 265 Fishburne Street

May 14 from 5:30-7:30 at

Marshall Walker Real Estate, 582 Rutledge Ave