Program Spotlight Jan 17

Making Beautiful Music  Program Spotlight: Music Makers with SMSO

The Club kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor make beautiful music. In partnership with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra (SMSO), the Music Makers program at the Fettig Youth Campus is providing music education for youth in our community. “We can imagine few more wholly positive ventures than helping kids thrive through music,” said Sue Kellogg, Executive Director of the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. Twice a week, music instructors from SMSO teach string instruments and drum classes for selected members of the Club.

Everyone enjoys music—listening, singing, dancing or playing. Unfortunately, many schools no longer provide music instruction so that students can learn to enjoy music that will enrich their lives. 
The Music Makers program uses intensive ensemble participation, group learning, and peer teaching to develop important character skills—such as patience, persistence, the importance of practice, and the joy and fun of learning and playing music. Music Makers focuses on building individual self-esteem and a sense of value for budding young musicians. Musical instruction also develops important cognitive and social skills of language and reasoning, a mastery of memorization, increased coordination and creative thinking, and teamwork that promotes academic success.

Inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema model of musical training, Music Makers creates great musicians and dramatically changes young lives. El Sistema promotes loving children first and music second. The program encourages working as teams, where teachers and students are invested in both personal and community success. Being loved and appreciated with a trust in a group process enables all involved to feel that excellence is within their potential.
Achieving this depends upon talented musicians and teachers. Jordan Hamilton and Nicholas Baxter from the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra help Club members master music, set personal goals, and celebrate their achievements. 

Jordan plays the cello for the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra and is the lead instructor for the Music Makers program. Jordan is passionate about sharing the gift of music with his community, particularly through outreach to children.

Nicholas Baxter teaches the drums for Music Makers. He is driven by a desire to strengthen his creativity and learn as much as possible from the people who surround him, no matter where his travels take him. 

Music Makers is a special opportunity for Club members to learn, grow, develop new talent, and enjoy music in their own ways. We know music supports our priority outcomes for members to achieve academic success, develop character and leadership skills, and to become productive, caring citizens. 
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