The Boulder Symphony and Music Academy, in partnership with the Jared Music Foundation, is providing 22 scholarships to Boulder County students for a year of private music lessons.
Students awarded a scholarship are taught how to sing or play an instrument by musicians in the Boulder Symphony through the Boulder Symphony Music Academy.
With another 18 students on the wait list, the foundation also is raising money to cover additional scholarships. Or, donors can sponsor students individually for $1,500. To donate, go to jaredmusic.org/support-bsma.
Boulder Symphony Executive Director Andrew Krimm said the goal is to make the symphony more accessible, especially to people of color.
“It costs so much to have lessons and buy instruments,” he said. “We wanted to provide access. Most of these kids won’t go on to be professional musicians. But they will have a growing appreciation of music.”
He added he has personal experience with benefit of affordable music lessons. When he was learning to play in his school orchestra, he said, his family didn’t have extra money for private lessons. But a teacher offered a discount, charging him just $12 so he could participate.
“There are lots of kids wanting music lessons who can’t afford it,” he said.
Bowie and Rubí Rydquist, who are in third and fourth grade, are two of the scholarship recipients. They learned about the music lesson opportunity from the gifted and talented coordinator at Lafayette’s Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer and agreed to try it.
“Our parents thought it would be a really good idea to have us start learning music,” Rubi said.
Rubi decided to learn piano, though she said she worried before she started that she might have picked the wrong instrument.
“The first lesson, my teacher told me what I could do with piano, and I was like, ‘I have made the right decision,’ ” she said. “I love the way my piano teacher teaches. Instead of learning all the chords, he has you make a list of music you like. You pick a song and learn the chords. I was really happy when I realized I could play any song.”
Bowie is learning to play drums, starting with “Back in Black.”
“It’s a good entryway for me,” Bowie said.
Both said they’re enjoying learning to play, with Rubi planning to try the trumpet for her school’s fifth grade music program if piano isn’t an option.
“Sometimes having music lesson seems really long and hard, but I feel like our teachers make it fun,” Rubi said. “It’s what you need to know and what you want to know.”