The Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin today announced plans to create The UT Academy of Music, a comprehensive music school for community learning.
The academy will provide a diverse range of music instruction to the Austin community, including early childhood music and private and group instruction for children and adults of all ages.
At the center of the plan is a new 60,000-square-foot facility to house the academy and all of its programs. Plans are for the facility to be built east of I-35, near UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Plans for the building include classroom and rehearsal space, practice rooms, administrative space and a 300-seat concert hall.
With this new facility, the Butler School will offer comprehensive music instruction to the community, based on the success of its String Project. The award-winning String Project has provided non-credit instruction in violin, viola, cello and double bass to children in the Austin area for more than 60 years, and has been a model for more than 30 similar programs around the nation.
Students receive private instruction, ensemble experience and courses in musicianship, most of which are taught by graduate students at the Butler School of Music under the supervision of the faculty. The program provides music instruction to the community while supplying practical training and financial support to graduate students at the Butler School. The String Project meets in the Butler School’s facilities on the main university campus, and enrollment is capped to just more than 250 students because of space limitations. The waiting list for the String Project averages about 700 children.
The new academy will not only provide space to grow the String Project beyond its current enrollment, but will also allow the school to offer new programs in early childhood music, harp, guitar, piano, voice, brass, woodwinds and percussion, as well as a range of enrichment courses for adults.
In recent years, the Butler School has piloted several of these programs on a small scale and demonstrated a demand for such services to the community. The academy will also become the new home for all of the Butler School’s non-credit instruction. These programs include Informal Music Courses, which provide private and group instruction to adults in the Austin community, and The Austin Live Music Academy, a program for musicians seeking careers in popular music.
The UT Academy of Music will allow the Butler School of Music to further expand its educational mission into the Austin community, reaching a projected enrollment of more than 3,000 within five years. The academy will also expand the String Project’s practical experience to a wider range of graduate students and provide a significant increase in financial aid.
The Butler School of Music plans to raise support for the facility through private and corporate donations. No state funds will be used to build the facility or run the academy programs. Construction will begin once the funds for the building have been raised.