K-12 school music programs can help students develop high standards and lifelong skills, such as responsibility, accountability, and attention to detail. However, for music students to reach their highest potential, they require access to personalized, voice- or instrument-specific instruction outside of a large ensemble class setting. Students’ families are the main sources of financial support for private lessons. A large equity gap exists between students in schools where most families have access to personalized instruction and those in schools where most families do not have access to personalized instruction.
In response to this gap, Sandra Wiscarson founded the Music Lessons Project (MLP), a nonprofit that brings supplemental, personalized music instruction to Salem public school students who want to pursue music but are limited due to their family’s financial status. Students participating in MLP develop self-confidence and a sense of belonging as they benefit from lessons, sectionals, coaching, and clinics from professional instructors, among other opportunities for musical growth. Now entering its second year, The Music Lessons Project has served hundreds of students at schools in the Salem Keizer School District, including McKay and North Salem High Schools as well as Claggett Creek Houck, Parrish, Stephens, and Waldo Middle Schools.
MLP receives recommendations from music educators in identifying student individuals, groups, or classes with limited financial resources who would thrive with a form of highly personalized instruction. Once participants and programming are determined, MLP generally offers personal instruction on-site at students’ schools during the academic year. MLP does not replace music booster groups or fulfill a school’s responsibility relative to the ongoing financial support of school music programs; rather, in a manner complimentary to school music programs, the Music Lessons Project collaborates with schools to support every child’s success.
To learn more about The Music Lessons Project or to discuss a recommendation, visit http://themusiclessonsproject.org/.