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April 5, 2021

CIM Students Create Connections Through Mentorship

Hannah Rowland-Seymour, Black teenaged girl wearing glasses and a raspberry-colored sleeveless dress, sitting with her cello.
Photo of Hannah Rowland-Seymour by Roger Mastroianni.

The Musical Pathway Fellowship (MPF) – sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation and KeyBank Foundation – was launched in 2017 to develop and nurture talent at a young age, empowering Black and Latinx musicians to pursue high-level musical training that will prepare them for a conservatory or competitive music school education. A key component of CIM’s support of MPF fellows is mentorship.

The MPF Mentorship Program pairs each MPF fellow with CIM Conservatory student-mentors to serve as positive role models, supporting the MPF curriculum by reinforcing commitment to musical goals, creating meaningful connections between fellows and musicians in the larger CIM community, and providing encouragement to MPF families.

“My favorite part about CIM’s Musical Pathway Fellowship is definitely the community,” shared Hannah Rowland-Seymour, a 10th grade cello student of Abbey Hansen and fellow since 2018. “I love all my friends here, and it gives us a common interest and brings us together. Some of the fellows I’ve known for three years, and I consider them my family.” In addition to cello lessons, training in music theory and eurhythmics, and other components of CIM’s Pre-College curriculum, Hannah spent the past year paired with Conservatory cello students Chad Polk (Robinson) and Isabella (Bella) Lorenzo-Giguere (Kraut) through the MPF Mentorship Program.

Zoom-style screenshots of Hannah, Bella and Chad, with cookie dough in bowls and with finished cookies.
From top left: Hannah, Bella and Chad.

“We mainly stayed in touch [during the pandemic] through texting and video calls. We made cookies over a video call once which was really fun, but sometimes we just call to talk,” Bella explained. “Hannah is awesome, and I feel so lucky to have gotten this chance to get to know her this year.” Hannah added that “they were always there to talk to, and they helped with my cello playing and music as a whole.”

For MPF students, Conservatory student-mentors exemplify the next step of their musical journeys. “I’ve learned a lot more about the day-to-day life in conservatory. Bella and Chad have been transparent about their workloads, which has given me a better sense to prepare,” Hannah said.

“While I’ve had a lot of incredible teachers as mentors in the past, some of my most important mentors have been older students. When I came to CIM, I was lucky that the older members of my studio were so welcoming, encouraging and open to any and all questions, and they really helped set me up for success at the school,” Chad reflected.

CIM student-mentor Marquise Lindsey-Bradley said: “Mentorship is really beneficial for Conservatory students to practice connecting with others through music beyond playing our instruments. Through conversation and being on the giving or receiving end of guidance allows us to broaden our own scope and vision for our careers. Mentorship is the service that keeps our field alive.” Lindsey-Bradley mentors senior classical guitar student Damian Goggans and sixth grade clarinet student Nicholas Garrett.

The Musical Pathway Fellowship is designed for Black and Latinx students entering grades 5-12 who are interested in CIM’s Pre-College program and pursuing their studies and craft. Fellows receive a full scholarship covering all areas of study. Applications are open now through May 15 for students to apply to join the next class of MPF fellows. Learn more and apply here.