Indiana State University Newsroom



Music program provides instruments, lessons for free

January 20, 2015

Some deserving Terre Haute youngsters are flexing their newly developed music muscles as part of an outreach program through Indiana State University.

The Music is Key program -- sponsored by the university's Community School of the Arts and Center for Community Engagement, Blues at the Crossroads Festival and Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club -- provides a free instrument and a year of music lessons to students selected based on an essay and teacher recommendations.

Most of the program participants opted for guitar.

"The guitar is such a prevalent instrument in music today. Most genres of music have incorporated the guitar to some degree, which gives the instrument a lot of exposure," said Will Pool, the students' guitar instructor. "Seeing the guitar used in their favorite TV shows, by their role models, in the music they listen to and the persona that follows the guitar makes it appealing to children to take up."

Such was the case for Emma Dawson, 9, a student at Terre Town Elementary, and Aiden Pomfret, 10, a student at DeVaney Elementary.

"I like showing my brother ... who knows how to play the guitar by ear, how to do different things on the guitar," Emma said.

"I wanted to learn how to play (the guitar), because my grandpa plays it," Aiden said.

The Music is Key program culminates with a performance -- a highlight for Emma.

"We get to play in recitals, and we get to have experiences that are really enjoyable," Emma said.

Their musical aspirations, however, aren't limited to just six strings.

"I want to learn how to play the banjo," said Wyatt McQuary, 10, a student at Sugar Creek Consolidated Elementary. "I like how it sounds."

Emma would like to learn how to play the piano and violin in the future, and "I want to learn how to play the drums, because I'm usually beating on my desk all the time," Aiden said.

The youngsters aren't the only ones who benefit from Music is Key, as the lessons are led by Indiana State students.

"Working with this age group challenges me as an instructor to become more dynamic and flexible in how I explain or teach a concept," said Pool, a senior majoring in music business. "With this age, you are able to utilize more game-based activities that continually reinforce a concept you are trying to teach, while presenting it in a different fashion.

"I find it humbling to teach the age group, because I find myself stressing about learning or performing repertoire at a professional level, while these kids are just elated to be able to play a few notes well," Pool added. "It really takes me back to why I practice guitar and why I teach."

Pool, a native of Newburgh, has taught private guitar lessons for four years and group classes for two years.

"The challenge with this (age) is making games that revolve around a concept that are different, engaging and fun. Another challenge is constantly being flexible and aware of how each student is doing with their practice," Pool said. "As someone who teaches private lessons, I find it really difficult to not stop what I am doing to help out a single student. Thankfully, having an assistant instructor allows us to do this. The biggest challenge is keeping the children interested and keeping them practicing. I find that making sure the parents are involved and aware of what is going on in class is key to keeping the child interested."

When not learning new instruments, Aiden likes to practice karate, video games and soccer. Wyatt plays baseball, basketball and video games, and Emma likes spending time with her family.

"I believe that music education benefits children by improving their confidence in themselves and by building discipline. This confidence and discipline they develop translates into their schoolwork and later into their jobs, because they learn to take pride in what they are able to accomplish," Pool said. "Also, on a cognitive level, music education helps develop areas of the brain that are involved in language and reasoning. Students of music education learn to think more creatively and to solve problems by critically examining multiple solutions."

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Photos: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-Arts/Guitar-class-Community-School/i-RrZFDcT/0/XL/11_18_14_Community_school_arts_guitar-5760-XL.jpg -- Emma Dawson, 9, a student at Terre Town Elementary listens during guitar class at Indiana State University's Community School of the Arts.

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-Arts/Guitar-class-Community-School/i-f55Nqs3/0/XL/11_18_14_Community_school_arts_guitar-5805-XL.jpg -- Indiana State University student Will Pool leads a guitar class at the Community School of the Arts.

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-Arts/Guitar-class-Community-School/i-M2qcQQn/0/XL/11_18_14_Community_school_arts_guitar-5845-XL.jpg -- Some deserving Terre Haute students received their choice of an instrument and a year of lessons for free through the Music is Key program at Indiana State University's Community School of the Arts.

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-Arts/Guitar-class-Community-School/i-g5PP5pb/0/XL/11_18_14_Community_school_arts_guitar-5835-XL.jpg -- Some deserving Terre Haute students received their choice of an instrument and a year of lessons for free through the Music is Key program at Indiana State University's Community School of the Arts.

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-Arts/Guitar-class-Community-School/i-fhvzTMf/0/XL/11_18_14_Community_school_arts_guitar-5881-XL.jpg -- Some deserving Terre Haute students received their choice of an instrument and a year of lessons for free through the Music is Key program at Indiana State University's Community School of the Arts.

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Media-Arts/Guitar-class-Community-School/i-PHfF2QF/0/XL/11_18_14_Community_school_arts_guitar-5888-XL.jpg -- Some deserving Terre Haute students received their choice of an instrument and a year of lessons for free through the Music is Key program at Indiana State University's Community School of the Arts.

Contact: Petra Nyendick, director of the Community School of the Arts, Indiana State University, 812-841-2884 or petra.nyendick@indstate.edu

Writer: Libby Roerig, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or libby.roerig@indstate.edu

Story Highlights

The Music is Key program is sponsored by the university's Community School of the Arts and Center for Community Engagement, Blues at the Crossroads Festival and Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club.

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