Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Christiana Lafazani

Second Advisor

Camden Whitehead


The public school system in America has slowly phased music education out of most students curriculum. Cutting these programs help schools manage their fiscal budget and also keep students in the classroom longer in hopes that the extra time will produce better test scores. In recent years studies have shown that cutting music programs might not be in the best interest of students, or schools working for better test scores. One such study published in Social Science Quarterly, suggests that “students who participate in music are positively associated with academic achievement, especially during the high school years.” If this study is true, and there is overwhelming evidence that music education helps with academic achievement in other disciplines, then why are our public schools still insisting on cutting music programs? Why are schools not offering alternatives to music education? I plan to investigate a solution to this problem by designing an after school program for families who see the value in musical education, and who want their student/s to actively participate in music. The location for this after school program will be at what is now Bethlehem Lutheran Church, in the FAN district of Richmond, Va. at the corner of Ryland Ave. and Grace St. Architecturally the shell of the space is Neo-Gothic. The interior of the sanctuary adheres to the same style while the attached 3 floor rear office space offers little interior architectural references to that style. The office space has the potential to be redesigned to suit the needs of the program while introducing an architectural relationship with the sanctuary. The potential architectural relationship will be defined by the exploration of the concept “individual” versus “group”. This concept will additionally explore the notion of individual parts acting alone or working in conjunction with one another to operate as a whole. These drivers will help guide the design as it relates to music.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011