The Grand Students

One of the new workshops I did this time was to teach the grand students.

There are many kids who come to the orchestra site everyday to learn how to play the instruments. All of them are learning music through the members of the OSK whom they idolize. As many children don't go to regular schools, usually kids are there from the morning until the evening, gathering and practicing, using limited amount of instruments and materials that have been donated through the years. Every morning, when I arrived at the orchestra site, the first sight was often children practicing.

On Day 5 of the workshop, some of the OSK musicians I teach asked me if I would listen to their students a little to give them some guidance, which I happily agreed with. They immediately gathered all of their students, and within minutes, about 20 students showed up holding old instruments and music stands. They are between age 12 and 24. I started with the same fundamental excercise I have been working with the members of the orchestra. (The beauty of all the fundamental studies I have given them is that anyone from beginners to professionals can use them and apply the same basic principal, as it is often written in a very simple way. I just had to be a bit flexible and simplify them for the children.) And soon, I discovered that they have the same attention span as adults! Here in New York, I often have a hard time keeping children's attention for more than 5 minutes at a time, but there, they were so eager to learn and they were just so focused.

This inspired me then to keep the grand students and incorporate the musicians I teach to act as my assistant teachers - Go around all the students and check their postures, sound etc. Then I asked some of them to take over and teach the students, as other musicians and I observe to see what and how he/she teach, and had discussions later. So in the end, we all learned a lot. - Grand students learned new ways to practice, musicians I teach learned new ways to teach, and I learned so much about each individuals. This idea came from a simple wish from some musicians, but now I have decided to incorporate more into our future workshops!

I knew how focused and passionate the OSK musicians are. But what surprised me was that their students share the same level of focus and passion. This obviously came from the training that the orchestra members have been giving to them. Some kids may not be able to go to a regular school. But they are learning the importance of hard work, focus, appreciation and the sense of achievement through music. The orchestra musicians are the source of inspiration for those children, and they are already playing a significant role as educators and mentors. Learning this firsthand made me even more determined to give the best education I could possibly give to these musicians, so that they will continue to flourish as mentors and community leaders! 

Currently, the orchestra cannot accept any more students to join due to lack of instruments despite the fact that there are many more children who want to come and learn. This problem is something Music Beyond would like to tackle in the future as well by donating more instruments, so that the positive impact can be spread to more youth through music! We sincerely wish for your ongoing support!

- Kaori