In a lot of the neighborhoods that Music Will serves, gangs are very prevalent – and so is the pressure to join them. If our kids are going to join a group, we’d rather it be a band, then a gang!
Several Music Will students at Andrew Jackson School in Philadelphia stay after school, and even convene in the summer, to rehearse. They formed a band called HOME, which is very fitting because in that three-hour window from 3 – 6 pm, when kids are out of school and parents are at work, Music Will teacher Chris Argerakis has created an environment at his school that has been like a second home for these kids.
They learn to play the musical styles that they love, and to grow together as a unit – music plays an important role in building collaboration skills, which are vital in life beyond school. Music has also helped build these kids’ confidence in a tremendous way.
This program has provided kids with a creative outlet and a way to express themselves and what they stand for. They did this recently at the American Teachers Federation conference in Washington D.C., where their musical performance conveyed to the audience that arts and music are worth supporting and keeping in our schools!