The Music for Kids Club at Burlingame High School devotes its Thursday lunches to planning voluntary Monday music lessons at the local Boys and Girls Club of North San Mateo County. The Boys and Girls Club of North San Mateo County’s mission is to inspire and enable young people to realize their full potential and contribute to their communities. Thus, the two programs’ objectives align nicely.
“Our club is all about inspiring kids to love music by making the experience a fun after school activity that kids look forward to,” said sophomore Grace Shin, president of the club.
The planning process of the entire after school program was not an easy task. Shin recalls that the idea of the program was brilliant, but daunting.
“At first, we just wanted to make an impact on the community in some way, shape, or form,” Shin said. “We got right to work planning the logistics of the program when the opportunity opened up at the Boys and Girls Club.”
The Music for Kids Club ensured that the music program would be something new that the community had never seen before. Although music lessons after school are very common, free music lessons held weekly by volunteers are rare.
“This is a voluntary program run by students who only meet once a week to plan a whole after school program from scratch every week,” said Sophomore Minami Mori, vice president of the Music for Kids Club.
Every Thursday at lunch, members of the club work vigorously to plan out game ideas and music lessons to create the perfect afterschool experience for the children.
“We have held four after school programs so far, all of which have been quite a success as we have seen improvement and interest from the kids,” Mori said.
Although the program has been successful, its road to success was not smooth sailing. The club had a hard time deciding on which songs to have the kids play, as they are all varied in skill level. The club also had to determine whether or not the children had sufficient musical knowledge to actually play an instrument.
“There were many factors we had to consider. We figured most of the kids probably didn’t know how to play an instrument yet so we had introductory music lessons first where we taught them the original octet, how to read notes, and how to count beats,” Shin said.
Nevertheless, the club was able to persevere through the complications and achieve its goal.
“After teaching them the basics for the first few weeks, they already knew the octet like back of their hand,” said Mori.
Once the children were beginning to able to play a simple tune, the program was starting to become a reality.
“We plan to start introducing more complex songs soon. It’s just a matter of how interested and focused the kids are during the couple hours we have, and they’re pretty focused already,” Mori said.
For the members of the Music for Kids Club, the afterschool music program not only means service hours and a fun time with kids, but also a reflection of how far their club has come since its establishment in 2018.
“This program isn’t just impacting the community, it’s impacting us. It has shown us how much our club can do if we put our minds to it,” Shin said.