Eko Ise

ẹkọ išẹ

performance education

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center‘s mission is to honor and preserve the rich heritage and legacy of the African-American community of Charlottesville -Albemarle, Virginia and to promote a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, the contributions of African Americans and peoples of the Diaspora locally, nationally and globally. The Center is housed in what was the only all-black school in Charlottesville before desegregation.  

The Front Porch is a non-profit roots music school based in Charlottesville, Virginia. We host classes, workshops, masterclasses, weekly jams, and performances. We are dedicated to educating and experiencing traditional, roots, and folk music and dance. 

By combining the specific strengths of these two organizations, we hope to build a conservatory-style music education program tailored to and specifically for African American children ages 8 to 18. The following pages will outline the needs, structure and projected outcomes for Akekos/Students, Olukos/Teachers and the community alike.

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Eko Ise translates from Yoruban as Performance Education. The link of the Yoruba language to this project was chosen specifically to emphasize that children will be learning music created from the African diaspora. Our roots music. Our root history. Here are the other titles that will be used and their translation.

Akeko = Student

Oluko = Teacher

Obi = Parent

Onise = Artist


Create and sustain a rigorous curriculum meant to create a new generation of Black artists with a deep understanding of the Heritage they are carrying on.


Create an understanding of the important history and influence of Black music.



Each Akeko will receive a theory and instrument Oluko, and an instrument if needed. Olukos will meet the Akeko where they are with their musical acumen and create an individual plan to move them to the next level in their development as a musician. 

Every Saturday from 9 AM to Noon at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Akekos will take part as a group in music theory instruction as well as a number of seminars aimed at producing well informed and well-rounded musicians.


Olukos will be committed to imparting their knowledge of music, in all its forms, to each Akeko. First and foremost will be the dissemination of Black music’s history and continued impact on the world of music today. Each Akeko will learn four songs as staples that will be performed during recital with each other or working musicians from the community.


Akekos will be expected to uphold a 3.0-grade point average as well as conduct themselves with the utmost integrity as a member of the program. Each Akeko 15 and up will be expected to put in ten hours a week of community service either at the Heritage Center or at Front Porch. They will also be required to complete the Trailblazer program and assist with the regular tours offered by the Heritage Center.

Parents should be prepared to make sure Akekos are present and prepared for each of their sessions. They should participate in seminars with their children when needed, and be prepared to chaperone field trips. Parents will meet regularly with Olukos and the Program Director about their child’s progress.

Black artistic community from the ground up.

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