My name is Naomi, and I’m an AmeriCorps member with Seattle Music Partners, an after school music education nonprofit in Seattle’s Central District. I serve as their Program Coordinator, helping to teach elementary school musicians, mentor the high school volunteer tutors who work with them, and coordinate the logistics of attendance, transit, concert planning, and the myriad other tasks that combine to let us offer free, twice weekly after school music instruction to over 100 students at four low-income elementary schools.
As a flautist, one of my responsibilities is supervising flute students and their tutors, making sure student-tutor pairs have the resources they need for success. I support the elementary students in building beginning musical skills, and the high school tutors in building an understanding of educational pedagogy that empowers them to be more effective teachers and models of musicianship to their students.
Long and Max are two of the flute students whose progress I have observed during my first quarter of service. Both started from near-zero knowledge of their instrument, working on goals like mastering the basics of good embouchure and learning to play their first notes. In addition to teaching small group lessons for them, I met with their tutors to check in and review their progress, compiling notes on teaching techniques to help students deal with frustration, support focus during lessons, and cultivate good habits around practice and technique. It was wonderful to watch the arc of development as Long gained a clearer, more reflexive understanding of flute posture and breath control, and Max developed more regular practice habits and set learning goals around songs that interest him personally. After less than two months of lessons, they were part of our ensemble of elementary band and orchestra students who performed their first concert for a delighted crowd of roughly 300 of their family members, friends, tutors, and school staff.
I love that my service site gives me the chance to develop skills around program coordination while also making direct mentorship connections with students, and modeling the possibilities their musical futures can hold.