Banging the Drum to Make More Opportunities for African Americans in Classical Music

According to a recent report by the League of American Orchestras, African Americans make up only 1.8 percent of musicians in orchestras nationwide. A big factor in this inequity is that Black children from low-income households often cannot afford music lessons and turn to other hobbies and pursuits.

Sana Colter, a senior flute performance major at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has established an organization that she hopes will help. Cultural Rhythm Expressing Art to Empower (CREATE) was established to make a place where underrepresented groups meet in a supportive environment to discuss ways to overcome barriers to having artistic careers. CREATE provides networking opportunities for students and a platform for artists to land on-campus performances.

Colter hopes that CREATE will help underrepresented artists prepare for auditions, especially, those who have “imposter syndrome,” or a chronic sense of self-doubt despite a record of achievements.

“One of the things I want students to know is that they can make this a career,” said Colter. “Rutgers gave me the opportunity to start an organization where we can support each other and step outside of our comfort zones, and I hope it continues to flourish long after I graduate.”

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