Celebrating New Adventures

 In Education, Our Mission

Guests at the upcoming April 23rd Children’s Benefit in San Francisco have something special in store – a New Orleans style marching band featuring CoachArt kids! Professional musicians from the Bird School of Music have been working with CoachArt students to create a fun and memorable performance.

Recently, I had the pleasure of seeing the students in action. First, Bird School co-founder Lane Murchison introduced the students to several instruments. One student, Had Hau, was very hesitant, noting she’d never played an instrument before. After a few minutes of deliberation (and some encouragement!), she enthusiastically exclaimed, “I would like a drum!” We couldn’t help but smile at this sudden display of assertiveness.

Very quickly, Had Hau went from a timid newcomer to someone who was ready to rock! She looked at me and said “You can’t just stand there – join me!” I was handed a pair of drumsticks and every note she played, we played. We counted our beats and soon we were jamming with the group. Over the sounds of our drums, bass, trumpet, tuba, trombone, and singing, Had Hau came out of her shell and shouted, “I have two words for you – LOUD and FUN!”

Had Hau and I also chatted about school and the difficulty she’s had making friends since immigrating from China six years ago. It’s also getting increasingly difficult for her to communicate with her family, as she is forgetting her native language and her parents aren’t learning English as fast as her. But when the conversation turned to our day at the Bird School, she smiled. “In 14 years, I’ve never even touched an instrument – not because I wasn’t interested, but because I didn’t have the chance. I never even imagined I would learn to play drums. My family is going to be so surprised!”

Had Hau wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the day. “I have been making music since I was seven years old, and watching Had Hau playing snare drum and ride cymbal was one of the neatest musical experiences I’ve ever had,” said instructor Ed Ivey. “I wish every student would bring that level of enjoyment to the room.”

At the end of the day, the entire group stood up and took the jam session outside, marching along the streets of Nob Hill like it was Mardi Gras! It felt like a celebration of learning new skills like how to count a beat, and also the chance to be be present, to make new friends, and remind ourselves that we are capable of new adventures every day.

Danielle Floyd is the Development Coordinator in CoachArt’s Bay Area office.

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