Music Inc. Program of Chicago Gives Children a Chance to Try Something New

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In Chicago, the Music Inc. program is about giving young children something to do at the end of the school day instead of having them running in the streets. It is a chance to give children the opportunity to show their talents to the world. Parents are not forcing their kids to join the program, they are instead coming on their own because they want to join and experience the music. Speaking to most of the children in Music Inc., they were asked why they care about the program and they all said “it’s like a second home.” This is inspiring because not only is the program helping them get better with playing music, but they also feel safe when they are there.

In an interview with Sarah Dupuis, an instructor with the program, as well as a few of her colleagues, they discussed the children who take part in the program on a daily basis.

Dupuis said they accept children who are in the third grade and up. They give the children two weeks to experience different instruments, and then, they have to write a paper about which instrument they want to play. This becomes the instrument they practice with and play when it is time for the concert planned for the community and parents.

When Dupuis was asked how the program began, she replied, “We’ve been in the community for seven years and they [were within the] schools, and this year they had an opportunity to serve outside of the school, so they took it because St. Agatha helped them.”

She explained that there are only 20 kids in the program at her location, and overall they have five sites with 175 students in all of the programs put together.

This led to the question about the children’s goals for being in the program, as well as their goals in terms of learning. She replied saying, “What’s great about being here, is they start on a lot of different kinds of instruments learning how to read and play the notes.”

Next, the discussion turned to the musical notes and if it was hard for the children to read them. Dupuis said that “they learn the notes progressively so they take small steps at a time. Some kids came in September where they already know how to read the music very well, and the students that just came in February are a little bit less then the other crew. It takes time to learn the music, but at the end of the first year of their studies they should be able to read a dozen notes, so they should be able to look at the music and play their notes very well.”

The program runs from elementary up through high school. If the children choose, they can continue coming to the program no matter what school they attend.

The interview revealed that Eva Jones, a student from the Music Inc. program, was actually quite successful with her training. She said she learned “how to play music and learn to read the music.” Speaking with another one of the older students, Kaniya, about what she got from the program, she explained that “It’s fun and she loves working with the students because they’re little and it feels like your teaching yourself all over again.” She even said “sometimes it’s hard to teach. Sometimes a little, but not a lot.” It is even rewarding to her to see the children learning new things everyday.

This program is the only one like it in the North Lawndale area. However, there are five more locations in Chicago. The Music Inc. program is tuition free. They get a lot of things donated to them, so they can pay to have instruments for the children to take home and practice.

Speaking with Dupuis’ colleagues about what they do at the Music Inc. program, Brenda Gilbert, the manager of the program, stated that she works with the violin.

Gilbert has done an amazing job maintaining the students in Music Inc. She also has no idea how much the children and her colleagues admire all the things she has done for the program.

Patrick Tsuji says he works with the students on the flute, clarinet , violin, cello, trumpet, and the piano. This means that Tsuji has a lot of skills when it comes to helping student learn to play different types of instruments.

Speaking with the people of the Music Inc. program revealed so much about what the program has done for many young children, as it helps them learn about different types of instruments, as well as learn to read the notes. Everyone has shown so much success while being in the program, and it proves that different types of music can make a difference in the community.

Written By: Twanisha Dixon


Interview with members of Music Inc.

Image taken by Twanisha Dixon


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