Conservatory faculty and students providing music lessons to local youth
Despite being remote and unable to hold in-person lessons due to COVID-19, University of the Pacific's Community Music School (PCMS) hasn’t let the pandemic prevent them from providing music instruction to local youth and adult musicians.
PCMS is a unique program created by Pacific to share the benefits of music to students of any age, skill level and background. The program operates under the umbrella of the Conservatory of Music and offers private lessons by conservatory faculty, professional musicians in the area, and qualified conservatory students in a variety of instruments as well as courses in music theory and mariachi music.
"The program is designed to engage with communities and provide instruction that is complementary to school based music programs," said Dr. Hendel Almétus, Pacific professor of Theory and Composition, and coordinator of PCMS. "Our goal is to help youth develop their passion for music and make them feel at home at Pacific."
Music instruction is core to a complete education. According to the NIH Music and the Mind initiative, music instruction accelerates brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain that are responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception and reading skills.
"Music is an art form that reinforces effective learning methods and helps students make connections to what they are doing in the classroom," explained Almétus. "Music engages the heart and the mind in ways that shape human development, family stories, and the very idea of civilizations."
Already, PCMS has received over 100 program applications from families throughout San Joaquin County. Currently, 50% of students in the program are receiving instruction on a virtual platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To further support students during this time, PCMS has also started providing partial scholarships to help cover tuition and cost of equipment.
“Access to the arts, in all their forms, drives our commitment to PCMS,” said Almétus. “During the pandemic we are helping families acquire the equipment students need to study and make music at home.”
Pacific conservatory students also benefit from the PCMS program, gaining valuable experience providing music lessons.
“Conservatory students develop their skills as teachers under the supervision of their professors,” said Almétus. “They are able to take the skills and techniques they are learning and apply them immediately.”
The PCMS program is currently taking applications for virtual lessons in the spring. To learn more about the program or sign-up, visit the Pacific Community Music School website.