Music Student Wins Social Justice Award for Bringing Music to Juvenile Detainees

Michael Schneider

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 28, 2016.  Roosevelt University graduate viola performance student Michael Schneider believes in using classical music to build community and share with those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to hear and learn about it.

The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., native is the founder of a new Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) program that may soon give Roosevelt students the chance to regularly share music with juveniles being detained at the Illinois Youth Center in Chicago.

Recently recognized for the initiative, Schneider, who will graduate in May, is a winner of the University’s prestigious 2016 Matthew Freeman Social Justice Award.

“Michael is breaking all kinds of boundaries through his engagement and desire to change lives with music,” said Heather Dalmage, director of Roosevelt’s Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation, which annually recognizes one or more Roosevelt students who best reflect the University’s social justice mission in action.

“We were impressed not only by his commitment to social justice, but also by how he interacted with others in communicating his ideas for this new program,” said Dalmage.

During the 2015-16 academic year, Schneider organized and led two trips to the Illinois Youth Center where CCPA student musicians performed and answered teens’ questions about classical music.

Celebrated activist Andre de Quadros, who is internationally known for his commitment to bringing music into prisons all over the world, accompanied Schneider during the group’s April visit. A third trip by Roosevelt student musicians to the federal juvenile detention facility is being planned for May.

“The idea is not only to help youth who are at the center, but also to give student musicians a chance to take ownership of their music in a way that is meaningful for social justice,” said Schneider.

The Roosevelt student hopes to transform the opportunity into a new Roosevelt course in which student musicians will be able to learn about social justice through music in the classroom and then live what they are learning by taking their music into the Illinois Youth Center.

“Not only are Michael’s ideas of how music can work beyond the walls of  CCPA creative, but he has also the demonstrated that he is organized and passionate about this project,” said David Kjar, a Roosevelt music history professor who nominated Schneider for the award.