Extracurriculars are a large part of high school students’ life, especially when preparing for college. Most extracurriculars are dominated by sports but also the arts such as music. Students around the U.S. started various types of music clubs in their schools in order to promote music. Students at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, California started a club called the Music Mentors Club in order to promote music by teaching various instruments to elementary and middle school students.
The Music Mentors Club was started in 2020 by a multitude of students either in band, orchestra, or marching band with the aim of spreading music throughout Danville. The club features a rather large leadership section with two co-presidents as well as other students to help run the club smoothly. Students are able to sign up for the club and are paired with students that want to learn their music. For example, I myself play the piano and now have two students that were partnered with me and are both interested in learning piano. Each lesson is around 30 minutes long in order to give busy high schoolers time to do their homework and extracurriculars as well. This year, the club has over 40 mentors as well as over 160 mentees from elementary and middle schools which shows the sheer amount of students that want to learn music.
I was able to interview the co-presidents of the club, Jacob Rickard and Sydney Koeppen. Rickard initially joined the club in order to help his friend with all the workload from the club but ended up falling in love with the club and what it does. Through the club, Rickard is able to express his passion and love for music. Koeppen joined the club simply because of her love for music. Through the club, Koeppen was also able to help grow the music community and make a positive impact on students’ lives through music. As a child, music played an important role in shaping Koeppen’s life and she’s willing to help create that same experience for others as well.
Although starting a club at your school may seem like a tedious task, there are many benefits that can come with it. Many people might think that starting clubs would only look good on your college applications but starting a music club can be so much more than that. Firstly, music is essentially a non-spoken language that connects everyone together and we’re able to express ourselves through music while learning more about others and how they interact with music. Through music clubs, you’re also able to grow as a person yourself by mentoring others. Teaching other people music, especially online, is not an easy task and I’m sure many teachers at QuaranTunes can also speak with authority on this matter. However by teaching music, you learn to grow patience as well as creativity. Teachers often have to get creative in their teaching methods in order to teach effectively online. Furthermore, starting a club gives you important life skills such as leadership. It allows you to take initiative and become responsible for your club. Even though running a club may seem a handful and difficult, the rewards of starting your own music club trumps the struggles. You can not only develop as a better person yourself, but also help others as well through teaching as a mentor. It feels incredibly rewarding as your students finally understand a certain concept or play a piece fully for the first time. Rickard also agrees with this statement as he shares that his favourite part of the Music Mentors Club is to teach his mentee. “I absolutely adore watching students grow a love of music, and the satisfaction of being an integral role in that is like none other” Rickard shares. Personally with my student, I believe that I truly helped her grow into a better musician and taught her that music is not only just playing keys or reading music but also thoroughly embracing the music and expressing it with your emotions.
As mentioned above, clubs come with a lot of responsibility so there are a lot of factors that are needed in order to make a functional club. Both Koeppen and Rickard suggest that a strong positive leadership is definitely necessary. By having a positive leadership, one is able to represent the club in a positive light as well as to create a fun environment and maintain an enjoyable atmosphere. You also need clear and concise goals for your club in order to attract attention and allow people to thoroughly understand what you hope to achieve and what you can help them achieve. Having social media also definitely helps in order to spread word about your club and can even inspire others to do the same as well. Rickard explains that one of the goals for the club is to expand its membership in order to strengthen the music community because during COVID-19, the membership for the club dropped significantly. Once again, responsibility is a key part to make your club succeed, but also helps you grow as a leader at the same time.
Music is such an important part in many people’s lives which is why we as students should do more to preserve and spread music through these clubs. After all, you never know whose life you could possibly change through the power of music. As Koeppen mentioned, “music is important to our community and to our character development that the more it is shared with others, the more we can grow as a society.”