With our focused mentor program, mentors work with students on specific instruments or instrument families over the course of the school year, coaching students throughout the year with their primary focus on each seasonal concert or other important performances. Having the same mentor work with the students throughout the entire year creates consistency that not only helps the student grow as a musician, but provides them with additional support as they transition year to year and from school to school. Mentors work closely with all instructors in the student’s promotional pipeline, which improves the number of students who continue to participate in music programs year over year.
Mentors meet once or twice a month with students based on the school calendar and concert schedule, and depending on the school and district guidelines, sessions may be delivered in person or remotely via the technology preferred by the music director.
The fall sessions are geared to determine the students’ current ability and areas for focus, and prepare for the fall concert. The first session is designated for student evaluation so the mentor can inform the music director of their specific approaches for working with the students. The mentor works closely with the instructor prior to the first session to determine what material will be covered in each session. That focus can be re-evaluated after each session. Depending on the school and student ability level, mentoring may focus on fundamentals for those students who are just beginning to participate in school music programs.
As the fall season progresses, the mentor is able to offer more specific instruction and guidance based on student ability and goals for that season, based on the performance material and instructor’s needs and concerns.
In the weeks preceding the fall concert, the focus is on final preparation for that concert or other planned events. At the conclusion of the fall concert, the mentor provides feedback to the instructor on possible areas of focus for the upcoming season.
Winter sessions prepare students for the seasonal concert, festivals, or other special events. These sessions follow the same cadence as fall, with sessions occurring on a regular basis. During the winter season, the mentor better understands each student’s ability and needs, and can continue focusing on the areas of greatest need based on upcoming events.
Spring sessions focus on work to prepare students for events during the busy spring season. Sessions that occur near the end of the school year also include conversations on what’s next for the students in the following year, helping to answer questions students may have about their involvement in music, encouraging continued participation.
For students transitioning from elementary to middle school or middle to high school, this will help them better understand what they can expect and how to best prepare, while providing a continued connection with those mentors who work within the feeder system based on the relationship the mentor has with the students and the instructors in the pipeline.
Students who will be graduating high school have conversations with the mentor that explore opportunities for continuing with music, whether or not the student intends to continue with music into higher education. These conversations are enhanced by the mentor’s personal experience in how they grew as a musician after completing their secondary education, and how they continue to participate within the music community.