Free Music Lessons Promote Strong Relationships Between Students


Contributed by Brookline Music Program

Lavinia Goessling marks a note on the music that her student is playing.

Natalie Jew, Staff Writer

Contributed by Brookline Music Program
Junior Lyra Johnson practices her piano skills while teaching younger students.

The Brookline Music Program brought to life the idea of a place where high school and middle school musicians could come together to learn how to play an instrument. The student-run organization, which is currently held at the Brookline Teen Center, creates a relationship in which a high school volunteer gives free music lessons to a middle school child.

The goal of the Brookline Music Program is to teach children musical and life lessons, according to junior and co-founder Melissa Bu. It builds a relationship between students by improving their communication and interpretation skills.

The relationship will be friendly and meaningful, and the middle school student will be able to trust his or her instructor, and the instructor will give genuine advice and criticism to their student,” Bu said.

According to Assistant Director of Programming at the Teen Center George Zahka, high school students can influence middle school students to become stronger musicians and follow in their footsteps.

“It’s a chance for middle school students to meet a high school musician and to hear about what life is like in the high school,” Zahka said.

Bu explained the power of mentorship.

“Fostering passion is a very important side of learning how to play music and giving the initial drive. We teach kids that passion is all they really need to get something done, and teaching music to kids is a great way for them to learn this lesson. The thing about music is it’s always fun to learn and play,” Bu said.

The students are paired based on the instrument they would like to play. The skill level of both the student and instructor ranges, though more musically advanced mentors are matched with students who are more experienced.

“The mentors get to connect with someone younger than them and guide them through the transition from middle school to high school musically, socially and academically. They are being looked up to by the middle school student who sees them as a role model,” Bu said. “For middle schoolers who will be going on the same path and structure throughout the Brookline music system, it is valuable to have someone to ask questions to, get advice, and to talk to on a more casual level.”

The bond between student and instructor is a friendly one, according to sophomore and co-founder Ashley Eng, making for a good-natured environment.

“It’s not teacher and student, it’s a high schooler teaching a middle schooler music. It’s a friendship,” said Eng. “The student shouldn’t feel that they’re restrained from asking or expressing how they feel, it’s like how you would talk to your friend.”

For junior and instructor Alicia Lau, the Brookline Music Program is a way to try out an instrument to see if a student is interested in it.

“It gives them an idea of how to play. They get more experience and exposure to music because I know a lot of people it’s a hard for them to find an instrument that they love to play,” Lau said. “I have a beginner who didn’t know how to play in the first place. It’s just learning the basics and we can go further if he wants to. I hope he’ll get a new understanding for music.”

The Brookline Music Program is entirely student-run, while the Teen Center supports the program by helping with logistics and providing advertisements and resources.

“This is not a Teen Center program, it’s high schoolers running an awesome program that is being supported by the Teen Center,” Zanka said.

The Brookline Music Program is looking for high school musician volunteers and middle school students to join. The high school instructor will get community service hours for each lesson they teach. Instruments and overall donations are welcome. Bu said that the program is currently looking for instructors, and is open to all students who may be interested.

“We welcome all students of all socioeconomic statuses who may want to seek a mentorship from a high school student and connect through music,” Bu said.