A child eagerly asks their parents if they can take piano lessons. It pains their parents to say it, but the answer is no. Help them say YES!
Financial hardship should not prevent my students in the Bronx from pursuing their dreams. They desperately want to take private music lessons to develop their musical skills over the next several years and prepare themselves for the competitive audition process for New York City's specialized public high schools.
Private lessons are prohibitively expensive for low income families, but private study is vital for children to be able to compete with their privileged peers when auditioning for the city's specialized arts high schools in their 8th grade year. These high schools not only provide professional musical training, but also prepare students for college.
Your generous, tax-deductible donation to the volunteer-run charity Friends of The Archer Shakespeareans will help pay for private music lessons that will create both musical and academic opportunities for children in the Bronx.
My students participate in The Archer Shakespeareans, a free nine-month long after-school program at a public elementary school in the Bronx in which forty 4th through 8th grade students study and perform a Shakespeare play, learn how to play in a rock band, and then integrate Shakespeare and music into one production. Our students return each year even after graduating from elementary school because they are not given enough musical and theatrical opportunities in their middle schools. They build their self-confidence as mentors and teachers to younger students and continue to explore their musical and theatrical passions in their elementary school safe haven as they navigate adolescence in the Bronx.
87% of students in The Archer Shakespeareans come from low-income families and they demonstrate greater yearly growth in reading and writing, on average, than students at the school who do not participate in the Shakespeareans program. Many have percentile growth scores between 80 and 100 percent. This exceptional academic growth remains true for students who work mainly on music rather than Shakespeare because the study of music increases children's ability to focus.
There are several children every year who discover they have extraordinary musical ability and passion, but were unaware of this until they joined The Archer Shakespeareans. One of our students had never played an instrument before he joined the program in 5th grade. He now plays the piano, guitar, drums, and bass!
As you can imagine, taking lessons with forty other students learning four different instruments at the same time limits an exceptionally talented student's ability to develop their skills to an advanced level, which is why the children are motivated and eager to take private lessons.
This limited access to arts education for low-income students in a city that is a mecca for the arts has created inequity in New York City's public school system, but you can help our students overcome this impediment and quite possibly change their life trajectories by donating to Friends of The Archer Shakespeareans so the charity can award educational grants to passionate and talented children from low-income families in the Bronx to pay for private music instruction. By helping to fund these grants, you will remove the financial obstacles that block their musical and academic paths.
A reputable music school that offers private lessons called Harriet And Robert H. Heilbrunn Music School
is only 25 minutes away from the students' neighborhood by city bus. They offer scholarships to low-income students who have demonstrated commitment, but it's a catch-22 situation: the school offers the scholarships only after families pay for 20 weeks of class, but the families cannot afford to pay for 20 weeks of class, which is why they need the scholarship in the first place!
Your donation will help pay for the 20 weeks of class that our students' families cannot afford, and by doing so, you will make it possible for our students to eventually earn half or full scholarship provided by Harriet And Robert H. Heilbrunn and Music for Youth Scholarship Funds. This will allow them to develop the skills needed to audition for a specialized high school and will set them on the path to college.
Recently, we told a family that their son had considerable talent at playing the guitar and would benefit from private lessons, which could eventually lead to him being able to audition for a specialized high school. The child and parents were excited and eager to call the music school to find out how they could register their son. Two minutes later his mother contacted us to thank us for thinking of her son, but she had just gotten off the phone with the music school and, unfortunately, she and her husband could not afford the cost of lessons. The family had been living in a homeless shelter for a year and had recently moved out.
The next student who wanted to take private lessons asked her parents, but they said that although they wished they could, they would have to deplete their emergency fund to pay for the lessons and that was out of the question.
These are talented, hard-working, and determined children who are passionate about studying music and dedicated to doing whatever it takes to lead successful lives. They deserve to further their musical education and reach their goal of attending a specialized high school in their city that will prepare them for college. Your generous tax-deductible donation provides them with experiences and opportunities they will not otherwise have, and opens doors to academic and artistic futures that will be brightened by the study of music.
- Marissa Kaufmann
- Sumiee K
- Henry Asher
- Sarah Putterman
- Noah Putterman
Friends of The archer Shakespeareans Inc
Donations are 100% tax deductible.