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Access Creates Opportunity

By ETM Creative Marketing Associate Daniel Rader

For fourth-grade partner school student Manny*, performing a vocal solo was something he only ever dreamt of. You see, Manny has significant speech challenges, and English is his second language. Because of these struggles, keeping up with the conversation and speaking up in class is sometimes difficult for him, which can also be isolating.

While Manny faces these challenges, he connects deeply with music. He loves singing, dancing, and regularly participates in music class. On Wednesday mornings, his music teacher Antoine Dolberry kicks off music class with a dance to help set the tone for a fun and engaging time. This helps Manny be himself even before the lesson technically begins.

“Every time he comes into my classroom, it’s a party! He loves the atmosphere,” said Antoine.

Last December, Manny performed his first vocal solo and stunned the audience with his rendition of Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida.” He performed the song with such passion and poise that he received a standing ovation, and even brought a few people to tears.

“I am so proud of Manny! He practiced and worked so hard in articulating the words of the song clearly so that he could be understood. He was so proud of himself and enjoyed being chosen as a solo performer. I was so happy and proud of his success,” said Lisa Falcon, Manny’s speech teacher.”

By having access to high-quality music education, Manny was able to step outside his comfort zone, face his challenges, and embrace his passions.

“All I could do was hug him afterward. My time as a musical mentor was well spent knowing that he could accomplish such a goal,” added Antoine.

You can help more kids like Manny step outside of their comfort zones and make sure all students have access to high-quality music education by supporting Education Through Music today.

*Name changed