ORLEE LAUREN/SAGAMORE STAFF
Is there space for a hobby like music during a pandemic and a time of political unrest? Anna Lin, founder of the Virtuosi Music Mentorship at Brookline, would say yes.
Sophomore Anna Lin founded the Virtuosi Music Mentorship at Brookline, which is a chapter of the international non-profit. The Virtuosi Music Mentorship is a student run mentorship program which enrolls mentors and students from places as far as Switzerland, Korea, Turkey, China and Brookline.
When Lin first signed up to be a board member at the international Virtuosi Mentorship, she felt inspired to start her own chapter in Brookline. It took about a week to advertise and gain new members in Brookline. Now, there are more than 30 members combined. Lin has since created connections with musicians, learned how to stay organized and even hosted a virtual concert.
A mentor or student can sign up through a form Lin created. When she receives their sign up, she creates student and mentor pairs based on what they said when they filled out the registration form.
Various students at Brookline High School are involved in Lin’s program as mentors, and also find the program to be rewarding during a time so often defined by grief. Sophomore Gabriella Wang and her student have seen major improvements since they first met in October 2020.
“The person I’m mentoring and I have gone through three piano pieces since October, and I have seen that her skills have improved. Her tempo is more consistent now. I also find that since I am teaching the piano to someone else, I am improving my own piano skills,” Wang said.
Wang emails her mentee’s parents, and they find a time to meet. They meet three times per week, and each session is 30 minutes. Outside their lessons, Wang and her mentee’s parents communicate via email.
“My mentee or her parents find a piece that she wants to learn, and sends me a PDF of the notes. Before the session, I would look through the piece she chose. During our meeting, she would have her Zoom camera pointed towards her hands on the keyboard, and we would go through the piece measure by measure,” Wang said.
When Sophomore mentor Krista Lee first met her student, their lessons were often awkward, but overtime, her student felt more comfortable. Lee’s hard work as a mentor is always rewarding, she says.
“I’ve seen my mentees light up when they understand something,” Lee said. “Seeing them realize that they are capable of playing a piece motivates me to keep teaching them and support them through their musical journey.”
Both Lee and Wang agree that Lin has phenomenal leadership and organizational skills. Wang said that when planning a virtual concert, Lin was able to communicate with guests, mentors and mentees while figuring out the logistics of the event.
“Anna is really hardworking and super organized. Her emails are very well constructed and concise, which makes it easy to communicate with her,” Lee said.
After two weeks of online lessons, students, parents and mentors fill out a feedback form. Lin says that seeing positive messages always brightens her day.
“It makes me feel like my hard work has paid off, and I am so grateful that people are enjoying what I worked hard for,” Lin said. “Although I am not present in their lessons, it’s nice to hear how they are doing through the feedback form.”
Despite a pandemic and political conflicts, Lin and her team at Virtuosi Brookline have found a way to unite people across Brookline through one common interest: music. Their hard work has resulted in growth among students all over Brookline.
“If I could describe my experience with Virtuosi Brookline in one word, I would describe it as rewarding. Keeping track of everything takes a lot of hard work, but I feel proud when students grow from the program,” Lin said. “When I have a goal in mind, I pursue that goal until it’s accomplished. My goal was to support my community, and based on the positive feedback I’ve received, I think I’ve accomplished that.”