National Sawdust Student CoLab

National Sawdust Student CoLab

National Sawdust’s flagship education program for middle school composers and artists.

At the core of National Sawdust’s mission is the belief in artistic expression to empower us all to create a more inclusive world. Our flagship education program, Student CoLab, aims to engage young people in this idea by using the power of music discovery to inspire interdisciplinary art making which reflects their own experience of the world, impacting both their lives and the lives of people within their community.  

Our partners, El Puente Beacon Leadership Program’s mission is to promote youth leadership through arts and activism to empower student voice, providing opportunities to engage in inquiry-based and project-based learning. Each year, Student CoLab engages up to twenty young people from the school to participate in a three-month program of workshops and performances.

Inspired by themes and artists in National Sawdust’s Artist-in-Residence and Projects programs, Student CoLab enables direct collaboration between these artists and young people. During the three-month program, young people watch live performances at National Sawdust and participate in workshops with teaching and performing artists to create original compositions and artwork. The program culminates in a performance of their work by professional artists and themselves at National Sawdust.

This journey of artistic discovery and self expression empowers young people to have a voice on the issues which affect them, while also enabling them to explore and fulfill their potential as a creative beings. It welcomes young people, their friends, family and wider community to National Sawdust, inviting them to access and experience art and music which is relevant to their lives.

The methodology for the composition element of the course is inspired by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s Very Young Composers program and our valuable partnership from 2015-18.

Student CoLab: Setting the Stage for Tomorrow’s