[Editor's Note: The following was submitted by Carlmont High School student journalist Arianna Bayangos. If you are a student journalist and would like to contribute to Belmont or San Carlos Patch, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Following the annual Save the Music Festival (STM) at Twin Pines Park, the music mentoring program in the Belmont Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD) kicked off last week, led by STM organizer Alan Sarver and student volunteers from Carlmont High School.
The program allows Carlmont students to give back to the community by helping fourth and fifth graders to learn how to play their instruments. Music mentors go to the elementary schools on a weekly basis and assist the beginning students with their music in class and teach them skills on their instruments which will help them become better players over time.
Nine years ago, the Sarver family started the program due to the elementary school budget cuts on the instrumental music program. The BRSSD was going to cut music in the elementary schools, so the Save the Music festival was organized to support the program and the Music Mentoring program began a year after in order to give music students extra time on their instruments.
The vision for the mentoring program originated from Ariel Sarver, a Girl Scout who was in search of a project to earn a Girl Scout Gold Award. For her project, she wanted to do something related to music.
“Her first idea was chamber music night for the seniors. Her Girl Scout troop leader said that a lot of girls who wanted to do something with music all wanted to do a chamber night. So we talked about the elementary school budget cuts and that’s how it got started. We started working with the elementary school music teacher, the superintendent, and the principal to make it work. The program started nine years ago," Sarver explained.
Currently, Alan Sarver runs the program. From Monday tp Friday, he is at the
elementary schools supervising the program and making sure everything runs
Sarver believes that the mentoring program is a great help to the elementary school kids and the teachers as well. He receives feedback from the music teachers about the improvement of the students who participate in the mentoring program.
Sarver said, “They (the kids) feel music is very cool because they see older role models who are good at it and passionate about it. They see how the music program works in high school and this makes them more serious about it.”
Many former kids in the mentoring program come back when they are in high school wanting to participate in the program because of all the benefits they have received from it.
The mentoring program will continue to be a success for many years because of the Carlmont music students’ willingness to teach younger kids their knowledge of music and the Sarver family’s strong support.
Sarver shared, “The great passion of music in our house began with my kids playing (their instruments) and seeing how important and valuable music is to their overall success and happiness. I knew it was important to have a music program at school in the lives of all our kids.”
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