2020 marked the end of our second year of operation, and we thank our donors for their previous and ongoing support of Northwest Music Mentors. The year was full of challenges, and your generosity has allowed us to address these challenges and continue our support of school music programs and their students.

2020 – A Year of Change

In March, in-person classrooms were suspended in the state of Washington, and the programs offered by Northwest Music Mentors were also suspended. The sudden shut-down of in-person classrooms left educators everywhere scrambling to modify their teaching model to accommodate online learning.

Music classes presented a different set of issues to overcome – they rely on interaction between the students and the teacher and between students, both while playing and being given instruction. In spite of the challenges, music classrooms moved to the online setting, and creating a new model for music classes was tackled head-on by music teachers everywhere.

In late summer we hosted round-table discussions with music teachers and our mentors to help guide us in how to best provide additional support to music students in their journeys as developing musicians. We learned that some ensembles, such as before-school programs, were discontinued. Other ensembles were put on alternating schedules, with half of the students participating in one quarter, and a different set of students participating the next. These changes are particularly impactful on beginning music students, many of whom either had to wait for their opportunity to join an ensemble, or were able to join and start learning their new instruments but could not participate the following quarter.

“Thanks for taking on a leadership position on this important work!” 

Vince Caruso | Shorecrest High School

It became clear that with the changes in music curriculum plus the limitations of the available technology, providing mentoring throughout this time is even more important. Starting in the fall, Northwest Music Mentors began offering remote mentoring sessions as an extension of distance-based music classes.

Based on our round-table conversations, we identified the following ways to bolster our mentoring programs:

  • Increase the number of mentoring sessions per classroom from ten sessions a year to weekly
  • Create Best Practices for online group mentoring
  • Draft guidelines for the creation of supporting materials that students can access outside of regular classroom sessions
  • Build a library of resources that Northwest Music Mentors and their students can access to enhance online music instruction
  • Expand to additional ensembles, instruments and schools that we serve

After adjusting to an online learning model, we re-launched our pilot in the Highline School District (Burien/Sea-Tac area) in the fall, providing brass, woodwind, and percussion mentors as requested by the participating schools.

Dan Haeck leads a trombone section mentoring session for Evergreen High School

The rollout of our modified programs started slowly, as teachers and students were still adjusting to the environment of distance learning, but by the beginning of December most issues had been addressed and mentoring sessions were in full swing!

“Dan was wonderful with technology and patient with students and me.”  

Stephanie Kuborssy | Glacier Middle School 

Our Mission for 2021: Expand from serving six classrooms to 16

We will do this by:

  • Placing additional mentors in the schools we serve in the Highline School District
  • Adding mentors to elementary school programs (this will be a first for us!)
  • Expanding to schools in other underserved areas of our community

Your Donations Make A Difference

Every donation, large or small, makes a difference. 

  • $50 allows one mentor to facilitate a single session
  • $350 lets an instructor utilize a mentor for a full quarter/semester
  • $1300 provides regular visits from a mentor to one classroom for the entire school year

Impact the Lives of Young Musicians

Supporters of Northwest Music Mentors can impact our mission in several ways:

  • If your company offers matching funds for your charitable gifts (including volunteer hours), you can donate to us through your workplace to maximize your contribution.
  • We hold fundraisers through Facebook several times a year; when you see us publish a fundraising campaign on social media, please share our fundraising page and invite the people you know to contribute.
  • You may donate through PayPal or send a check payable to Northwest Music Mentors any time of year.
  • Host an event or share our mission and vision with people you know. To learn more, read about Ways You Can Support Us.

We thank you for your past contributions, and for considering us in your future giving plans. We look forward to your continued support and the difference it makes for young musicians.

Jim Cutler
President, Northwest Music Mentors