The Frost School of Music may have some of its youngest Mozarts in the Frost MusicReach program.
Frost MusicReach gives kids in low-income communities, such as Coconut Grove and Overtown, the opportunity to appreciate and be exposed to musical instruments. Children learn about all kinds of music genres from classical and jazz to bluegrass.
Cassandra Eisenreich, the program and outreach coordinator for Frost, oversees the 12 different programs in Frost MusicReach. She stresses the importance of not only teaching the children music, but also instilling valuable skills and lifelong lessons that they can use in other aspects of their lives.
“We’re not just shaping them to be musicians, but to be productive human beings, and using music as the vehicle to do so,” she said. “We’re teaching them all of the life skills that they need, and all of those skills can be taught through music.”
Eisenreich also advises more than 40 graduate and undergraduate teaching mentors that volunteer for MusicReach. Cassandra Davenport, a teaching assistant who participates in MusicReach, works at the Coconut Grove site.
“I really believe in nurturing and fostering new teachers and encouraging them to get involved in the community and showing them how important these experiences are for the teaching profession,” Davenport said.
The teachers do not have to be certified music educators. Many of the graduate students have advanced degrees and experience in teaching, so they are able to mentor the undergraduate students that do not have much experience as well.
Agarita Palavicini, another teaching assistant, has been teaching music to the same group of high school students for two years.
“There’s a difference in how the students are and how they are acting,” Palavicini said. “They now have a respect and a reverence for music that they did not have before.”
Andrew Krumholz, who is studying for his master’s degree in music, teaches at Ludlam Elementary School in South Miami. He also notices the difference in the students and how excited they are to learn.
“The classes in a way are an escape,” he said. “These kids really feel connected to us as the teachers. They can be expressive, and they don’t have to think about all the other things in their lives.”
Frost MusicReach collaborates with the Greater Miami Youth Symphony to provide instruction for seventh graders throughout Miami-Dade County.
Freshman music majors mentor kids for four years.
A video detailing the program can be found at bit.ly/1cLKznd.