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Playing it forward with harp at Peabody

Hanex scholar leads Harp Adventures community program
Posted October 7, 2014

Playing it forward with harp at Peabody


Award-winning harpist and Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute alumna and artist diploma candidate, Jasmine Hogan, has had many adventures – playing alongside Placido Domingo, studying music in China for a year through a Fulbright award, and teaching the harp to Baltimore youth.
 
But a few years ago, Hogan worried that playing the harp was no longer a viable career option for her. She had recently lost her father and at the end of her first year at Peabody wasn’t sure how she would afford tuition to complete her degree.
 
That’s when she learned she had received the John J. Hanex Memorial Scholarship, established by trustee and alumna Taylor Hanex, Peab ’75, ’78 (MM), whose father also passed away while Hanex was a Peabody student.

Receiving the scholarship made all the difference, according to Hogan. “I was just thrilled. It enabled me to continue attending Peabody, which otherwise would have been impossible for my family financially.”

Hogan began immediately “playing” this generosity forward, as a founding member and current director of Harp Adventures, a community outreach program that stemmed from the Peabody Harp Department’s Pedagogy Program.
 
“It’s an initiative that ties in training teachers and giving children in the Baltimore community a chance to have harp lessons,” according to Hogan, who adds that there are currently about 50 students in the program.

“Even if the students don’t choose to continue long-term study with the harp, they all say that it has really impacted their ability to socialize, to build their self-esteem,” she says about the program now in its fifth year.

One student, 11-year-old Anthony Alark, whose involvement in Harp Adventures has also landed him a Tuned-In scholarship at the Peabody Preparatory, says that he now plans to become a professional harpist. “Miss Jasmine is a great teacher and she’s the one who helped me get into this,” Alark says.

“Harp playing, it gives the day more interest,” according to another Harp Adventures student, 10-year-old Storm Ugbong. “It gives me lots of hope for the future, also.”

Performing and teaching go hand in hand, according to Hogan who also received the Lynn Taylor Hebden Prize upon finishing her undergraduate degree in 2011 and the James Winship Lewis Endowed Memorial Prize when she completed her master’s in performance and pedagogy in 2013.

Reflecting on the help she herself has received, she says, “There’s a wonderful responsibility there for me to pay it forward, to help engage other young people who want to continue to be musicians and to help encourage them.”