He said something that changed my outlook on every kid just like him…

By Published On: December 22, 2020

Since starting Music Will’s program in her seventh and eighth grade New York classroom, music teacher Kristen Gilbert has encountered the transformational power of music among her students. Kristen shares a story from her classroom:

“My student was not engaged in music class… at all. He told me he hated music and never came close to even picking up an instrument. After years of attempts, I had accepted the fact that I tried everything I could. “I’ll never forget the first day we played the instruments that Music Will had donated. This was the first time my classroom was equipped with ukuleles and I could already imagine this student smashing the new instrument on the floor, rock star style. Instead, there he was–ukulele in hand and strumming along to ‘Put The Lime In The Coconut.’ On his way out, he said something to me that changed my outlook on every kid just like him. “He said, ‘I’ve always wanted to play guitar and this is close enough. Are we playing again tomorrow?’ I was gobsmacked — he felt compelled to make music after seeing a familiar instrument. Every day following that class, we had hands-on instruments including ukuleles, guitars, basses, keyboards, and drums. His demeanor and his energy changed. “He entered music class enthusiastically, volunteered to perform, and put himself out there in front of his peers. The behavioral issues were gone and he was collaborating with his peers; fellow teachers agreed that this was carrying over into his other classes. His attendance improved. His academics improved. His attitude about school improved. “Succeeding with the ukulele allowed him to show up more fully as a student, musician, and classmate. This experience has proven to me that music is transformational.”