New musicians inspired during string mentor day
Older students teach fifth graders the basics
Thirty young students just recently introduced to their musical instruments were giv- en an opportunity to learn sideby-side from more experienced middle and high school musi- cians at string mentor day Nov. 5 at Theodore G. Davis Middle School.
During the annual event, fifth graders from William B. Wade and Berry elementary schools were paired with members of Charles County youth orches- tra and encore strings to learn the basics, and hopefully grow their interest in music.
“This is the time of the year when the kids have had their introduction to their instrument in fifth grade, but are still kind of getting across that hur- dle of figuring it all out, how it all works,” said Anne Marie Patterson, orchestra director at Theodore Davis. “So we put them all together and work side-by-side, and then at the end, we will perform for them so they can see where they might be in a year.”
Patterson, who used to teach fifth graders in the county, hopes the exposure will inspire the children to take their musi- cal talents to the next level.
“When I was teaching my fifth graders, I would always recognize how difficult it was for them to learn to play their instruments and I couldn’t give them the one-on-one attention that I wanted to,” she said. “And here, I have access to all these kids who do know the basics, who know how to hold it, how to play it, how to read the notes.”
“They’re getting one-on-one attention and help,” she added, “and they can feel free to ask questions. Hopefully they’re being inspired by seeing what kids can do in a year, in two years, and that they can start to visualize themselves.”
Diamond Rosezetty, 15, is a freshman at St. Charles High School and multi-instrument musician who aspires to make a career based on her talents. This was the fourth time she has volunteered to mentor younger students.
“I have been playing violin for about five years now, and probably three years in, I realized that I really, really enjoy work- ing with students,” Rosezetty said. “I was in encore strings and I did string mentor day as a kid, and now that I’m older, I want to share my experience with more kids.”
“Now that I have more experience,” she added, “I feel like I can give more insight [into] things. And when I grow up, I want a career in music, so if I can do this and I can teach, it will just help me even more.”
Susan Sweeney, a fifth grade instrumental music and or- chestra teacher, helped organize the event by connecting her students with Patterson’s. Her past students not only enjoyed string mentor day, but also brought back some of the skills they learned to help their classmates who couldn’t attend.
“Oh, they loved it,” Sweeney said. “They loved being able to work with the older students and to get the skills reinforced from them, but so many of them like the fact that they were being challenged and given extra stuff that they could do. Then they would go back to class the next week, and they would be able to show the other students who didn’t attend, this is what we did, this is what we learned, and that also got the spark of those students.”
To conclude the event, the encore strings and youth orchestra impressed the new musicians and their parents as they performed “The March of the Nutcracker” and “Bayou Self.”