A sudden move brought me to a new town in a new state in the spring of 2019. The orchestra I came to teach had been without a teacher from August until March when I arrived. A substitute teacher had provided worksheets detailing the parts of the instruments and the basics of reading music, but the students had not opened their instrument cases all year. Many of my students live in neighborhoods with boarded up houses and run-down buildings. The majority of our school’s student body qualifies for reduced-cost or free lunch based on their family’s income.
Resources are limited, but my music students eagerly waited many months for a teacher, and now they are highly motivated and learning fast.
Their dedication is evident in their willingness to stay enrolled in music program even without a certified music teacher in the classroom. Parents and administration are very supportive; now all we need is some help acquiring much-needed resources, such as instruments and auxiliary supplies.
My project seeks to provide materials that will help my orchestra students grow and thrive as musicians. There are three basic categories for the materials we need - instruments, supplemental supplies, and a teacher resource book.
I have excited students who desperately need a working instrument to take home to practice.
The school does not own quite enough violas to assign one per student, so they are not able to take them home at night. Two new violas will meet that need.
New bows, rosin, and replacement strings for the school will alleviate the same issue for my violin students - the school owns enough violins to cover the students, but the violins are not playable without working bows and strings. These supplemental supplies will mean more students can take instruments home to practice.
The teacher resource book is an important tool for streamlining pedagogy and basic skills in class. It will allow me to see all parts at once and quickly address specific challenges for each instrument. The book also provides online resources, including accompaniment tracks and supplemental music for advanced or struggling students. Finally, tuners will make it easy for beginning students to tune and maintain their instruments, teaching an important skill and saving class time for moving forward on our music.
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