We’re at that time of year, when every single charity is going to ask you to give a seasonal gift to charity. You are always pressed to make your donation to their cause and their needs are the greatest. This is going to be one of those times, but I guess I am going to try and take a different spin on it.
When I was young, money wasn't something I thought about. I knew I wasn't from a rich family and I was ok with it, it didn't really bother me. But as I got older I found that more things I wanted to do with my life and passions always seemed to involve money. Time and time again I found myself facing barriers simply because my family and I didn't have money. The first time that this really hit me was when I wanted private music lessons. By the time I was in grade nine I knew that I wanted to go to university for music (back then I wanted to be a famous opera singer but that’s another story!). My parent’s own their own business and money was tight. I ended up working most of my summers and a lot of weekends to be able to pay for my voice lessons, it wasn't easy, especially with the busy high school musician schedule (rehearsals and concerts almost every day of the week). When I got to the end of grade ten I was looking at university applications and realized I needed more piano training. I was faced with yet another hurdle, more money and more money that I couldn't find. I needed this; I wanted nothing more than to go to university and to be successful at it. It was at that point that I was so blessed by charity and donations; I was able to take my piano lessons for two years with an amazing teacher who I still work with today. If I had not had my opportunity I would never have gotten into university, I would not have been as successful as I am and I might not be making an impact now, but I hope I can make one in the future.
This is one specific story. I can tell you there are countless stories of people who do not have access to music for a multitude of reasons. The most common one is financial reasons, music lessons and music is just expensive. For this reason it seems to be privileged and available to only those who can afford it. When people are faced with these barriers all sorts of talents and experiences are lost. I sometimes sit here when I work and think how many people are left behind. How many students have missed out on an opportunity to make music? This education is not just for the students, it’s for teachers as well. In this time of chaos and hectic lives it becomes more difficult to get professional development. Many times having access to workshops in your area is limited and the cost are usually high. The learning doesn't end when you’re done school and it is important for music makers, conductors, teachers and leaders to have new tools to bring to their groups. It is important to network and build these communities together. These workshops aren't just for learning skills and tools; it’s about learning who you have around you. The importance of building community cannot be stressed enough. Sometimes you need a group or a community to make music with and it is not available.
That is where we come in.
This charity started because we felt there was a need, a need to take down the barriers and provide opportunities for people to make music. Community Music School takes down the barriers to allow youth to have access to music lessons. The joy that is seen in these children and teens is palpable, Music improves their life. It’s only because of the hard work by the people of Community Music School and Lyrical Lines that it’s possible. It not only provides lessons for youth but gives young teachers a chance to learn and explore teaching styles. Our newest program, Jazz in the Schools, is bringing jazz music into the classroom. Jazz is not something that is commonly examined in the regular music classroom and kids don’t really have access to learn it anywhere without private instruction or camps and other really expensive programs. Mary-Catherine takes it right into the schools and not only teaches jazz skills but instills ideals of collaboration, teamwork, self-esteem and confidence. Age of Majority Singers filled a niche in this community, and outlet to provide new adults a place to come and make music together. Not only is the program low cost compared to many other choirs it is lower commitment, people come to make music and it does not draw on a lot of time. This is so valuable to the student, young professional or more importantly new parents. The skill and experience that Nancy Kidd provides in her rehearsal is professional development for many of the young teachers and music students that are in the choir. We also provide professional development in our workshops and events like the Winter and our upcoming Spring Symposium.
This huge list of things that we do have a few things in common. First, we take down barriers, we make the impossible, possible. Second we help, we provide projects that people need and create better music learning for everyone. Lastly, I think we build community. It has been through my work with Lyrical Lines as a recipient and a facilitator of this organization that I have come across so many people. We are making this community in Waterloo Region a better place with music. There is nothing that brings a culture, a society or civilization together quite like music. Here, we open that coming together of community to as many people in the community that we possibly can.
Remember at the beginning of this blog (scroll up if you want), this is a plea. We are a non-profit, charitable organization. We need help from people like you, people who love music: listening, making, sharing... It doesn't happen for free. It has only since working with Lyrical Lines I've learned that there are really obscure things that soak up money that you don’t even think of. I always thought of buying music, instruments, paying clinicians and renting venues. I had no concept of insurance, accounting, legal fees, printing costs... When you think of all of these random things on top of all of the things you think of it really starts to add up. So here is the plea, please donate. You can donate to Lyrical Lines as a whole which helps pay for those general costs or you can donate to a program specifically. You can donate online through our Canada Helps page. You are our community, you are part of what we do and what we’re working for, we build community through all of these experiences we provide and whether or not you take part you still benefit.
Lyrical Lines Education Network Inc. builds community through the support and facilitation of accessible music experiences in Waterloo Region.