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MusicAlly: Bringing musicians and remote learners together

My passion has always been at the intersection of music and education. I’ve been teaching for 15 years, both privately and in New York City schools (and now as an adjunct professor at Juilliard, my alma mater). When Covid-19 hit, teaching was the only part of my life that continued uninterrupted. My students were game to move our work online. To my surprise and delight, I realized that one-on-one instruction with a dedicated student translates rather well to Zoom.

In fact, online teaching has made me a better teacher.

I’m more concise with my instruction; more precise with the notes I type up to send to students after the lesson. And my students are better, too: more responsible, focused. There are some things I can’t do for them now. So they do it themselves.

Teaching on Zoom got me thinking about accessibility. In an instant, a student anywhere in the world can be connected to a world-class teacher in New York City or Paris. No waiting for the bus, no getting home too late to finish homework. An hour-long lesson is truly an hour’s investment, for both the teacher and student cheap custom writing.

This summer, kids are stuck indoors, in many cases without access to summer camps, school programs, or outdoor play. They desperately need art, structure, and invested mentors.

Classical music has a notorious accessibility problem.

To break into the circuit, you need an instrument, weekly lessons maybe summer away at Interlochen. It’s not cheap.

Everyone needs an ally when they’re studying an instrument – whether that comes in the shape of a teacher, a fellow student, or a dedicated parent. I realized that if my program could charge a market rate for lessons with the highest-caliber teachers, we could use half of that money to fund a second lesson for another student who wouldn’t otherwise ever have quality private instruction.

All kids who study music know that the best part of playing an instrument is meeting and playing with other musical kids.

The first time I played chamber music, at age 11, with three other middle schoolers, a lightbulb went off in my head. (Actually, it was more like fireworks.) This was the stuff. It was what I would do forever. The correspondence keeps students accountable for their practice and encourages and motivates them in their progress.

MusicAlly has received applications from kids (and adults) in Japan, Romania, and across the United States. My dream is to build a global network of music students who connect with the best caliber of teachers, build relationships with other musical kids, and, most importantly, develop a life-long love of music. Even though live performance is on the shelf, for now, music is never postponed.

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