Social distancing brings many challenges, not the least of which is trying to stay connected to each other and the things we love. CYSO Social Media Team member and Philharmonic Orchestra violinist Shreya Dudeja recently spoke with four young musicians—including three CYSO members—who came together to create a program that pairs younger musicians with high school-age mentors to connect and share their love for music during these difficult times.
Four Chicagoland teenagers Rosie Wang, Linda Wang, Anika Veda, and Adriana Koch, established an online music mentoring program called COVID-19 Music Mentors. Rosie and Adriana are members of CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra, Anika is part of CYSO’s Philharmonic Orchestra, and Linda plays violin at the MIC Academy.
Since many musicians have more time to practice our instruments while social distancing at home, the founders believe that it is the perfect time to get more students involved with private mentoring. COVID-19 Music Mentors provides musical guidance to students in kindergarten through 8th grade who don’t have access to private lessons during this global pandemic. All sessions are free and the program currently has more than 50 high school mentors and about 40 student participants.
Mentor sessions can be between thirty minutes to an hour long on Skype, Zoom, or whatever platform works for both members. This program offers mentor sessions for any band or orchestra instrument, along with piano and guitar.
COVID-19 Music Mentors made an important distinction that the mentor sessions are not a replacement for private lessons and they do not want to take business away from professional private instructors. The mentor sessions are designed to provide additional guidance to students learning their instrument. However, students, who may not have had access to private lessons prior to the pandemic, participating in this program could build a musical foundation for them to expand on once in-person meetings can happen again.
This program welcomes people of all levels of experience, including beginners who are just starting to learn an instrument. People in need of special education have also been able to find mentors that fit their needs within this program. COVID-19 Music Mentors is steadily growing and looking for more mentors and young mentees!