Too often the successes of philanthropic organizations are illustrated only in numbers of recipients and dollars spent. In an effort to truly illustrate the impact that music education is having on our children's lives, we must take a moment and listen to each individual's transformative story. Additionally, because individual success stories appeal to the heart more than numbers, it is possible that in harvesting these stories, serious funders will have a greater propensity to invest in our music education and intervention strategies.
Below you will find one the transformative story of Nyla, a high school student whose life was turned around by music education and Little Kids Rock.
In the Fall of 2009, a high school student named Nyla was in a gang and on the verge of dropping out of school. Like thousands of other inner-city high schools, his high school was without a music program. Shortly thereafter, LKR launched there through a high school science teacher who also shared a passion for helping our youth. On one of the rare days when Nyla was at school, this teacher told him about the LKR classes and signed him up. Slowly but surely, Nyla began attending school on days that LKR met for music rehearsal and his attendance only increased in frequency until he was in class most days out of the week. Now, Nyla is on track to graduate and he has left the gang.
After initial the success of Nyla and LKR, his teacher Seth announced that music would be part of the curriculum next year solidified by the hiring of a certified music teacher - big news! David wish spoke with Seth asking to what extent did LKR influence the decisions of the school's administration. According to Seth, a combination of competition between charter schools and the unprecedented success of the after school music program enacted by LKR got the attention of the reluctant and skeptical administration. The administrator had not considered music to be a core subject worthy of investment; it was considered a misallocation of vital funds. Now, he sees the lives of children being transformed and a substantial increase in attendance because, but not limited to, music education opportunities.
All of this was made possible because Seth opened the door to LKR.
Seth is a young teacher working in a VERY tough neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is, like so many of his newly-minted teaching peers, a major flight risk. Teacher turnover is one of the cruelest injustices inflicted on inner-city youth. Inner-city districts are incapable of attracting, cultivating and retaining talent. As a result, the children who would MOST benefit from expert teachers who are experienced get the greenest of teachers who often bail early in their careers. This perpetuates the problem. Seth says that LKR is one of the bright spots in his very challenging job and already he has beat the odds by remaining at his post for a 4th year.
When executed well, music education has several key benefits that we are all aware of:
1) Reduces dropout rates
2) Establishes a more humane environment for our kids
3) Gives meaning to teachers' work thus curing the flight risks
4) Eradicates schooling bleakness through the embrace of creativity
5) Readjusts administrative priorities
We need your help. Please send us your stories on how you've seen music education change a child's life. Let's build our music education tribe with your stories. Email them to us: QJMC or post them on our website: QJMC.com
We look forward to sharing your stories!!