LITTLETON — Indian Hill Music is committed to sharing the transformative power of music where there is need. It sounds like a lofty ideal, but our dedicated music teachers and orchestra musicians put our mission, “Giving Music Generously,” into practice every day through our community education and outreach programs.
The cornerstone of these programs is the Ayer Shirley School Music Partnership, which offers after-school instrument lessons to the region’s elementary school students. Through the Partnership, fourth- and fifth-graders at the Lura A. White and Page Hilltop Elementary Schools are able to take lessons in flute, clarinet, saxophone, percussion, trumpet, trombone or violin for a small fee, with free or discounted instrument rental, in a supportive group setting. In addition, Indian Hill offers scholarships for anyone not able to afford lesson or rental fees.
Registration paperwork is being distributed now these schools. The deadline to register is Oct. 17. Students return all registration paperwork their own school office or directly to Indian Hill Music. Lessons begin after school on Oct. 27.
“Music is fundamental to the human experience, so it is unthinkable that a child would not have access to a good music program as part of their education,” says Michael Havay, director of Indian Hill Music School. “For those school districts who have found it necessary to cut the arts for the sake of budgets, partnerships like ours with Ayer Shirley School District become even more essential.”
Shirley resident Sue Gleason has taught through the Ayer Shirley School Music Partnership since it began in 2007. The Indian Hill flute and recorder teacher says she is thrilled to teach these students, and is uniquely qualified to teach and relate to them, because she sees herself in them.
“I didn’t grow up privileged,” she says. “When I expressed interest in music, my mother had to borrow money to buy my flute.” Sue paid for her lessons and bought her music with the money she earned from a part-time job.
Today, through the partnership, Sue is able to give back to her community. “I can bring my whole-life experiences to the table,” she says. “It can be a challenge, but it’s incredibly rewarding. You have to love the students — the most important thing is patience.”
Sue is especially proud of the progress her partnership students have made, three young girls in particular.
“Three of my students, all fourth-grade girls in Ayer, share parental involvement in their education, a commitment to weekly practice, and a genuine love of the flute,” she says. “The students played in my studio recital at Indian Hill Music School last spring, alongside my private lesson students. One of the Ayer students even decided to challenge herself by playing the teacher parts in the pieces.”
Indian Hill Music began this community outreach in 2007, to fill the musical void left by extensive budget cuts in the Ayer Shirley schools.
For information about Indian Hill Music and the Ayer Shirley School Music Partnership, visit www.indianhillmusic.org.