Tri City Mentors Making a Difference through Music

By Anna Flurry

Throughout the past three weeks, TCP students have been leaving class, dressing up, and leaving campus, with their teacher’s permission.

Students from Tri-M, the National Music Honor Society, have been spending a half hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Del Rio and Territorial Elementary School classrooms, teaching children about music. Thanks to the Music Memory program, elementary and middle school students have the unique opportunity to learn about classical composers, the music they wrote, and hear the music played live at Tim’s Toyota Center.

“Music Memory is where you go and teach kids at elementary schools concert etiquette and appreciation of classical music, preparing them for the Music Memory concert,” said Jake Levin, a junior and a Music Memory mentor.

“Most of [the kids] don’t know much about music,” said Paige Skousen, a sophomore, “so it was awesome being able to share that with them and see them get excited about it.”

“Music Memory helps to spread music education to students who would otherwise not be able to have it,” said Marissa Melchiors, a junior. “Due to the lack of funding for music in school, most of the kids barely even know what a trumpet or a violin is.” Music Memory helps change that.

 In order to enter the classrooms and effectively teach the students, mentors must prepare extensively ahead of time.

 “As a mentor you should prepare lesson plans that reflect the piece and composer at an appropriate age level,” said Levin.

 Sometimes this is more difficult than it would seem. Last year, one piece that was included was the opera Carmen, by George Bizet, which is about a very flirtatious Gypsy woman who is eventually murdered. This year, Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky was taught. This piece is about the Devil cavorting with witches and spirits, so clips from Fantasia and a child-appropriate skit were used to convey the material more suitably.

 Both the mentors and the elementary students seem to enjoy the visits.

 “What I enjoy most is the kids,” said Levin. “The last two years I have been in Music Memory the kids were so well behaved.”

 “The class I help to teach is at Del Rio and has about 30 5th graders, which are all in a pretty small classroom,” said Melchiors. “They’re very cute and love to learn what we are teaching them.”

 “Most of them don’t know much about music,” said Skousen, “so it was awesome being able to share that with them and see them get excited about it.”

 The mentors themselves are also learning about music.

 “There were a few pieces of music that we taught the kids that I had never heard before,” said Melchiors, “and it was interesting to learn about the lives of the composers.”

 Overall, Music Memory has been a success for TCP students and the community,

 “I think that it is a worthwhile community service project as well as a good way to learn more about music,” said Levin. “It is a great experience.”

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