Clara Hardie (she/her or they/them) is the Founding director & lead violin teacher of Youth Volume (YV), a social justice Suzuki violin studio that began at a Detroit soup kitchen in 2010. Clara loves people and loves to teach! Detroit Youth Volume & Marquette Youth Volume are her dream music studios -- one in each of Michigan's pleasant peninsulas. Detroit YV was the original lab school of concepts presented during Clara's virtual Course of Action "Growing Equitable Music Studios" (GEMS), for music teachers who believe every child can change the world!
Since becoming a violin teacher in 2010, Clara has been sustainably fundraising to a percentage her students with full scholarships. The YV Equitable Tuition Fund removes barriers to a quality music education by providing tuition adjustment, a quality instrument, music accessories, transportation support, performance outfits, snacks, and tickets to local performances.
It is also invaluable for Clara to nurture positive cultural identity in her students as citizens of their cities, and as youth of color (applicable to half the YV student body). For example, Clara celebrates local genres simultaneous to classical repertoire by curating collaborative composition and performances between her students and local musicians; DYV has released five albums thus far.
Clara also sees her students as world citizens because she believes what she was taught in a community educators' course at Allied Media Projects: "Ultimately we need agents of social justice who are able to solve deep-rooted problems, imagine new realities and build movements that span communities across the world." (peopleineducation.org/rida-framework). With this in mind, Clara uses pedagogy to intentionally nurture students’ skills as changemakers and as musicians. At the end of each calendar year, success is measured using metrics and goals are set. Conferences involve the entire Suzuki Triangle: parent, student, teacher.
Clara became a Suzuki kid at age 5 in Marquette, Michigan, where she was raised by humanitarian medical professionals. In college Clara studied Social Science Theory at the University of Michigan. After moving to Detroit, she was coached by Ammerah Saidi at Allied Media Projects to personalize the Freire-inspired Rida Framework. Clara learned to teach Suzuki Violin Books 1-6 from Mark Mutter. She’s also received training as an early childhood Music Together specialist.
Clara, her twins, and vinyl-obsessed husband, relocated to her hometown of Marquette, MI in July 2022. Clara met her partner in 2007, while booking shows at the Trumbullplex, North America’s oldest anarchist housing collective and arts space. She lived there for four years while working at Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Rosa Parks Youth Program, where Detroit Youth Volume was founded.
Clara has presented her ideas at the Allied Media Conference, El Sistema USA National Symposium, Suzuki Leadership Retreat, Pedagogy & Theater of the Oppressed Conference, and Michigan American String Teachers Association Studio Teachers Forum, and Girls Rock Detroit.
Youth Volume recommends!
ASHANTI NORWOOD (Detroit, MI)
Ashanti Norwood (she/her or they/them) is a graduate of Youth Volume's Student Teacher program. This young violin/viola teacher spent their high school days at Detroit School of Arts, sitting principal violist in Maritza Garibay's orchestra. Ashanti loves to collaborate with other artists and mentor younger musicians to express their feelings through music. Ashanti completed a teacher training called Growing Equitable Music Studios with Clara Hardie as well as Book 1 Suzuki Teacher training with David Strom. She was a paid Teacher's Assistant under Clara Hardie in Detroit Youth Volume group classes for three years prior to taking on their own private lesson students in Fall 2022. Ashanti was also a Junior Counselor with Girls Rock Detroit at age 17. Ashanti co-facilitated a song-writing workshop series for DYV students alongside Detroit musician Joe Reilly. The workshops series resulted in the release of two original songs, recorded and produced by Ashanti. Aside from being a brilliant viola player, Ashanti also played violin for 12 years with Detroit Youth Volume, enjoying private lessons in the classical Suzuki method, group classes with local artists specializing in Detroit-centric genres like jazz, and teaching herself guitar. You can hear about A's experience with Detroit Youth Volume near the end of this video created by the University of Michigan. Ashanti frequents open mic nights whenever possible and is constantly putting out music as a singer song-writer.