Every day of the week the Daily Orchestra Program is given invaluable support by regular mentors, including local musicians, CMW alumni, and current CMW students. Logistically speaking we would not be able to have the DOP without this essential support! Even more importantly, our mentors deepen our students’ overall experience. They serve as role models and friends to our students, learning and playing music alongside them in orchestra and in individual practice throughout the week. Recently I asked Ruby (a current CMW cello student and Phase II member) about her experience mentoring with the DOP. Here is what she had to say:
Lisa: How long have you been mentoring with the DOP?
Ruby: I’ve been mentoring at the Daily Orchestra Program for 2 years now, starting in my sophomore year of high school and continuing through my junior year of high school.
L: What does your mentoring work involve?
R: Mentoring involves working with individual students in practice sessions and working with the orchestra as a whole. It involves setting up and taking down the orchestra room, helping with tuning instruments, and supporting the overall flow of orchestra time. Individualized practice is a bit different in the sense that it is a more intimate learning setting. Students are with us either one-on-one or two-on-one at times. We help them practice not only their orchestra music but also scales and a solo piece if they are working on one.
L: What’s your favorite memory from your mentoring experience?
R: My favorite memory from my mentoring experience would have to be when one of my mentees, Steven, earned his way to getting to take his instrument home over the weekend. I had been there almost the whole week, helping him stay on task so that he could remain on his best behavior throughout the week. I was very proud to hear that he did in fact get to take his instrument home and wanted me to know that he had done it. I knew that he could all along, but getting to witness it was very uplifting and was a very proud moment.
L: How has mentoring helped you to grow as a musician?
R: Through mentoring I was able to combine my passions of working with children and playing music. It has helped me grow greatly not only as a person but also as a musician. Through the program I am better able to read other clefs and tune instruments by ear – all skills that before the Daily Orchestra Program I could only ever imagine being able to do. I have also been able to enhance my sight reading, since I was not as familiar with all of the music that the students got to read and play everyday.
L: Has it changed your idea of what makes a musician?
R: I feel like I have always had my own idea of what makes a musician but going through this mentoring experience has helped me add to that idea. Specifically, I now feel that a musician is someone who gives back and helps others with not only music but with anything. A musician is also someone that can learn from those on other levels, not just those above them.
L: How has this experience changed or contributed to your overall experience at
R: Mentoring at the daily Orchestra Program has enhanced my overall CMW experience to the fullest. I have gained new skills and many lasting memories to add to my collection. Mentoring at the Daily Orchestra program has made my musical experience all the better.
The Daily Orchestra Program is so grateful to Ruby and to all of our mentors for their dedication and thoughtful time spent with our students this year! Our mentors make our DOP community very special. Thank you, mentors!!
–Lisa Barksdale, Resident Musician