Good News for Piano Pals® Kids
The kids in Piano Pals® in five Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will perform in their first ever piano concerts in May and June for their parents, teachers, friends, and classmates at their respective schools. I will be attending all of the programs and cannot wait to see these children show what they have learned! Thank you to all the mentors, volunteer staff, and mentor parents who make this program possible. Thanks also to Faber Piano Adventures for donating piano books for the program! Look for an e-mail announcement from firstname.lastname@example.org in May announcing summer training opportunities for new and returning Piano Pals ® mentors for MCPS schools. As the program grows, so does the need for mentors.
The Foundation is also working out the details to bring Piano Pals® to affiliate sites in California, Arizona, and Northern Virginia. I look forward to the opportunity to share this music and mentoring program for underprivileged youth in three new states.
As usual, we are busy with many programs this month. So, I will keep this newsletter short. Enjoy the latest graduate spotlight. Thank you for all of your support.
Graduate Spotlight: Michael-Ann H.
Michael-Ann is a campaign finance analyst for the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C.
What motivated you to study music and to share music with others?
When I was a little girl, I saw pianists in church use music to lead others. They led the congregation to pray, to find peace, and to find joy in their spirituality. That's when I felt the power of music to take people places spiritually and emotionally and I definitely wanted to be apart of that.
What was it like to participate?
Whether it was performing music at Asbury or recording music for CDs that would be given to hundreds of people, I felt challenged to get over my fears of performing and insecurities in myself to share something sweet and spiritually uplifting for others.
I also remember being able to tutor children in piano and it was a phenomenal experience learning to share the passion and watch others grow. Even now after several years, I'm still watching the kids I tutored (they are almost young adults now) grow and pursue their passions. These experiences challenged me to put others before myself and learn, but they created a community of pianists who could grow and learn from each other.
When did you participate?
I started in the Holliday Piano Studio when I was 12 and then became part of the Tacy Foundation when it first started in 2008 or 2009 until I graduated from high school. I also completed the high school diploma in music from the National Guild of Piano Teachers/American College of Musicians.
I think it does. I know when I hear others share their music with me it moves me. I think sharing music, especially since we all naturally have so much individuality, gives people a sense of the diversity of emotions we share. When someone shows you their individuality and spirit in the song they performed, I feel like that creates connections that are so deeply human that words can't do it justice. That's why music exists. When you practice and craft your piece for others, I think they can feel the work and the emotion that you wanted to convey and I know I appreciate hearing that kind of care in music. It lets me know that someone wanted me to feel something deeper, to experience some catharsis from life.
How do you think your experience has made a difference in your life?
I feel like the experience made a huge difference in my life. After pushing me to share music with others, despite my stage fright, I (mostly) broke free from that fear and later started playing for church on regular basis. I've performed at a friend's wedding and I share the music with my friends all the time now. I feel like playing is more than a performance, it is a way that I can lead and show my appreciation for the people in my life.
As an all-volunteer organization, we are so grateful for your support of the mentoring and educational programs and performance opportunities that benefit children, families, seniors, veterans and hospital patients through our three-part mission:
- Educational Mission: Foster youth development through music, story and mentoring
- Philanthropic Mission: Empower youth to discover and use their gifts in service to others
- Social Mission: Build community partnerships, create intergenerational connections