New mu­si­cians in­spired dur­ing string men­tor day

Older stu­dents teach fifth graders the ba­sics

Maryland Independent - - News - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @An­drew_IndyNews

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.”

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