Royce Martin, 17, has only been playing the piano for a few years, but when he performed at the 2017 St. Louis Arts Awards in January, he received a standing ovation from the crowd. (Check out this video to see why!) So it seemed only natural to introduce him to renowned jazz pianist Peter Martin and Open Studio Network (OSN), the newest tenant in the Arts and Education Council’s Centene Center for the Arts.

Open Studio Network is revolutionizing music instruction through its interactive online platform. Subscribers gain access to a variety of online music lessons including piano, drums and guitar. Courses, taught by Peter Martin and other GRAMMY award-winning musicians, include supplementary materials such as charts, sheet music and an interactive video player, as well as feedback from the instructors.

Using resources from A&E’s Art Education Fund, OSN hired Royce Martin as an intern this spring, teaching him music transcription, technique and the ins and outs of the music industry.

“The transcription that I'm doing is really helping with my beat counting and sight reading,” says Royce. “Also, the impromptu lessons, as well as the access to the online lessons, have been helpful and interesting; it's making me more of a well-rounded musician overall because it's exposing me to a lot of great Jazz ideas.”

The Art Education Fund, established with a lead contribution from Wells Fargo Advisors, provides tuition scholarships and transportation subsidies intended to remove financial barriers that may prevent talented students - like Royce - from expanding their creative training.

When he graduates from the Grand Center Arts Academy in 2018, Royce plans to study music composition or piano performance at the collegiate level.

For more information on the Art Education Fund, click here. To watch Royce’s performance at the 2017 St. Louis Arts Awards, click here.