For Boston College students, music isn’t just something they happen to be good at, or enjoy playing. It’s a means to make an impact on a child’s life.
Boston College’s Music Outreach Program includes about 60 students that work weekly with kids at Gardner Pilot Academy. The lessons include voice and instruments such as guitar, piano, trumpet, saxophone, and flute.
Assistant Professor of Music Ralf Yusuf Gawlick and his wife Barbara Gawlick direct the Boston College Music Outreach Program that coordinates some 15 BC student volunteers who spend at least one to two hours a week working with the schoolchildren individually or in small groups.
Coordinators say the music sessions aren’t meant to convince kids to join the institution, but instead to give the kids a chance to have music significantly impact their lives .
“The benefits children get through exposure to, and involvement in, the arts are very well-known,” Ralf Gawlick told the public. “These kids get a taste of music education, and in the bargain, can engage with a caring young adult who is really invested in sharing the gift of music.”
Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas. Making music involves more than the voice or fingers playing an instrument; a child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often simultaneously.
Sara Rodriguez, a mother in the Allston area, has been motivated to send her child to Gardner Pilot Academy due to the program .
“ Christopher isn’t even in preschool, but I’ve known for a while I want him involved in music. I went to a Montessori school growing up and hands on learning was part of the curriculum. I learned how to play the clarinet at a young a very young age. I would definitely say it helped me learn other things in the long run,” said Rodriguez. “I just think that music has played such an important role in my life, it wouldn’t be fair not to expose my kid to it. I think as a child music has this magicalness, if that’s even a word, to it. It always made me so happy and I would never take that away from anyone.”
Music is at the center of other BC efforts to neighborhood groups, for example, the twelve-month “Boston College Idol” show that raises funds for the St. Columbkille Partnership School’s music system. The BC Music Guild has started a volunteer program at Franciscan Hospital for Children, sending musicians to perform for young patients. It’s a positive improvement for a Universities whose music program only started a little over two decades ago.