By Brendan Lai-Tong
Sheet Music Plus is excited to showcase the first entry in our new and recurring blog series, Music in Community! Through this series we will highlight ways that you, our Sheet Music Plus customers, have positively influenced your communities through music.
Our first story comes from Candace Love as she speaks to the challenges and rewards of starting up and successfully running a free music school. Yes, you read that correctly, FREE:
I started the Free Music School in San Jose, CA in January of 2007. Myself and 14 volunteer “Music Mentors” now offer free, weekly instrumental music lessons to over 100 students in grades 4-12. We offer beginning/intermediate and advanced group classes for keyboard (piano), orchestra and band instruments.
A local church allows us to use their building, free of charge, for 2 hours/week and for concerts. We had originally planned to have parents provide the instrument, and we would provide the free lessons. Thankfully many gracious supporters have donated instruments, supplies, and financial donations for sheet music and instrument repairs so most of our students can borrow an instrument free of charge.
Since we are on a tight budget, I am very careful about what music I purchase to introduce to our program. I frequently use ratings, categories, suggestions, listen buttons and previews to ensure that a piece is within my student’s playing level and will capture their interest.
Also, I recommend to the students that they use the listen button to hear the piece when they are practicing at home. A “free” service! :) I have a blind student who memorizes her music. She can listen to the music and hear/memorize complex (grade 2) pieces.
I love how Sheet Music Plus has made building my dream a lot easier. I hope that other musicians get together to build Free Music School programs around the country to help keep music programs alive in the upper grades.
I would be happy to offer suggestions to anyone who is ready to start a program on their own!
Candace Love | Creator/Director of the Free Music School | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like more information about the Free Music School or would like to donate to Candace’s dream, please visit their website: http://www.freemusicschool.com
As the subject of our Music in Community post, Candace will be receiving a $75 gift certificate from Sheet Music Plus. We hope that this helps her continue to provide a high quality education for all of her students.
Want to have your story featured on our blog? We will continue to regularly award $75 gift certificates and feature musicians, teachers and organizations helping the communities around them. Don’t hesitate to send your story to us at email@example.com if you haven’t already done so!
Brendan Lai-Tong is the Assistant Marketing Manager at Sheet Music Plus and holds degrees in trombone performance from University of Miami and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.