The Our Own Thing Instructional Program, founded in 1969 by Dr. Willis Patterson, is a volunteer community organization in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area which provides access to free music instruction to students who would not otherwise have the opportunity and/or income to explore and pursue music with a variety of instruments, including voice. Held from September to May, group classes and private instruction are taught by community members. While the goal of this program has not been the development of career musicians, it has historically greatly enhanced the overall lifestyle of its participants, with many students enrolling in music programs in colleges, universities, and conservatories across the country. Enrollment begins in August 2021
1. To continue the legacy of our founder Dr. Willis C. Patterson.
2. To develop students a life-long love of music and achievement and help develop skills to that end.
3. To provide students with a successful and non-competitive mentorship experience and to encourage peer and parental support and involvement, when possible.
4. To provide a program that prioritizes teaching for diversity by being inclusive of multiple cultures, materials, etc.
Piano Program - MSTARs @ Our Own Thing Piano Program (formerly known as the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance/Our Own Thing Piano Partnership)
Founded in 2017 by Dr. Leah Claiborne while completing her doctoral degree at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (U-M SMTD), this piano program is a collaborative venture with U-M SMTD and focuses on the teaching the rich musical history of African American/Black composers to K-12 aged students in the Washtenaw County area. Group classes are taught from September through May onsite at U-M SMTD's world class facility by teaching artists, comprised of U-M faculty, and students, giving participants an immersive experience that creates a lifelong impact.