Founded in 2007, Musical Mentors is a non-profit, volunteer organization that provides free, one-on-one music lessons to elementary school children in New York and London. The program matches each child with a college-aged musician who serves as an instructor and mentor during weekly lessons throughout the academic year. Our students learn to play a variety of instruments—from piano and violin to flute and ukulele—in a range styles, including classical, jazz, pop and improvisation.
Students. Musical Mentors students attend one of our partner elementary schools. Some begin lessons with previous exposure to music, while others are picking up an instrument for the very first time.
Instructors. Volunteer instructors are undergraduate and graduate students from Columbia University, New York University, and the London School of Economics. Each instructor has received extensive formal music training and many perform regularly as soloists or members of chamber groups, orchestras, and jazz ensembles.
Lessons. Weekly after-school lessons last for thirty minutes to an hour and take place at our partner elementary schools. Parents or guardians accompany children to each lesson, and we encourage families to engage with their students’ musical education in every way possible. While we have some instruments available for loan, and try to defray costs when possible, we often request that parents contribute to the cost of instruments and instruction materials.
Beyond the Classroom. In addition to weekly lessons, Musical Mentors students have had the opportunity to take part in workshops led by Columbia University music professors, PhD students, and Grammy-nominated musicians. Students and their families may also have access to free tickets to concerts at venues such as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Twice a year, our kids get to share their hard work with their communities at our winter and spring recitals.
Instructor Training. Instructors benefit from regular music education workshops taught by professors and PhD students from the Columbia University Music Department and Columbia Teachers College. Additionally, as part of our Mentors’ Mentors program, graduate students in music education help instructors hone their teaching skills by shadowing lessons and providing ongoing advice and support
Musical Mentors operates out of three chapters, each of which is anchored at a university in New York City or London and partners with nearby elementary schools.
Columbia University – PS 145, PS 125
New York University – PS 19
London School of Economics – Argyle Primary School