Music Buddies Mentorship Program
The Music Buddies Mentorship Program is a peer-to-peer musical training opportunity run by Director Laura Cahn that provides private music instruction to financially disadvantaged students. Mentors are musicians from AYCO, AYSO, or AYP (8th grade or older) and apply for the program as an educational opportunity in addition to orchestral training. Mentors are matched with students based on the student's application, age, and instrument. Mentors give weekly lessons at T.C. Williams High School covering basic music skills, exercises, and school orchestra/band music. Students demonstrate the skills they learned from their mentors at the annual recital in front of an audience, either as a solo musician or with a small group. After each lesson, mentors participate in fun and educational club activities with Ms. Cahn that focus on discussing the day's lessons and learning new skills as music teachers. Mentoring is a way for young musicians to gain valuable hands-on teaching experience while enriching the lives of fellow musicians.
One goal of the program is to elevate the interest level and retention of young musicians in their school music program. Farina, a violin student, said that “the best part about my music lessons is that I could learn music to play on my instrument and at the same time I was able to share with my mentor." Another goal of the program is to instill a sense of community responsibility in AYPO musicians. Sarah Toy, AYPO alumnae and violist said that “Music Buddies is a wonderful program that provides young people with an interest in classical music, a unique opportunity to teach that would be otherwise unavailable, while providing private lessons for underprivileged youth in the community.”