I pair children of incarcerated and deported parents with the amateur musicians among us to explore the children's interests in a particular musical instrument, develop their skills with that instrument, and work as a group to put on awesome musical shows. We just put on our summer performance in Modesto, CA, and are getting ready to begin working with a group of students living in Oakland. Because my colleagues met and developed relationships with these children in the past while working on behalf of their parents (and brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles), I have been uniquely positioned to identify and explore with them the instrument they want to devote their time and attention to and provide them with a consistent and safe learning environment. This project will mirror the last recently completed project out of Modesto, California. Each Saturday, one or two amateur musicians and I pick up a group of up to 5 children. We then travel to the home of an adult they know and trust (1 of the children's former attorneys who lives in Oakland has offered to host), and I will work for 30 minutes with each student individually while the others learn as a group to identify by ear the different musical instruments, different genres of music, and notes on the piano from sheet music. After the lessons are complete, we as a group will prepare an early evening supper together, and then we return the children to their homes. When the students sound and feel prepared, we put on a show, where we will ask audience members to identify instruments as the students play them from behind a curtain, each student will perform a piece, we will perform a group piece, and then we will break for an early evening supper prepared by the musicians. On graduation, students are given a certificate and their own instrument. Students who have been learning voice are given a karaoke machine. Once graduated, if desired, they continue to work with a mentoring amateur musician in their community.
Funded by Oakland, CA (December 2017)