Earlier this month, Paul Simon helped launch a new music education program in New York City with a $1 million donation that will fund a fellowship for middle and high school music teachers over two years.
Each year, the Paul Simon Music Fellows Program will partner 20 young music educators across the five boroughs of New York City with veteran teachers, who will provide mentorship and skills training over the course of a school year. Additionally, the program will help bring new “artists-in-residence” to schools across the city for 11 weeks at a time. And Simon will be involved as well, curating appearances from special guest artists who will lead master classes for students.
“School arts programs like the Music Fellows Program, when carefully guided and nurtured by dedicated teachers and gifted musicians, have the capacity to change and enrich students’ lives,” Simon said in a statement. “As a graduate of the NYC public school system myself, I look forward to seeing the flowering of musical talent, and hearing what our city’s kids give us, as they take advantage of this new program. This program could be a beautiful garden if we tend to it properly.”
The Paul Simon Music Fellows Program quietly launched last September with its first group of 20 middle and high school music teachers. The application process to find the cohort for next year will open in the summer.
Simon’s $1 million donation to fund the program notably came from the net proceeds from his farewell tour finale, a hometown concert in Corona Park, Queens, in 2018. While Simon technically wrapped his touring career after that gig, he has continued to play scattered one-off gigs, including a headlining set at Outside Lands last year. He also played two shows in Hawaii last August, with all the proceeds benefitting environmental charities.