Creative Inspiration: Interview with Shane Murray, Founder of Music 4 All Kids

mfak photoWhat is Music 4 All Kids?

It’s a non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of youth ages five to eighteen through learning, applying and teaching music, regardless of a student’s ability to pay.  We work with students at our local facility, (MacDonald’s Music), as well as Marquette’s Alternative High School and YMCA.

We teach individual lessons and workshops, along with a comprehensive four-phase advancement program that culminates in students becoming instructors.

In the first stage, students learn the fundamentals of music, begin lessons on an instrument of their choice, and have access to one-on-one mentorship for building confidence and motivation.

In the second stage, students can join an ensemble of two to four peers playing many genres of music. Social skills are developed while expanding their social circle.

Once students have advanced, they get to experience engineering and recording.  In this third stage, they create their own productions and promote them, which develops their job skills. Working on a project and producing a finished piece is a great experience for our students!

Those who reach Stage 4 can become student instructors. They work with our team, learning how to lead workshops and teach beginning lessons.  This gives them a sense of accomplishment while promoting leadership skills, and the good feelings that result from passing on what they’ve learned to another student.

We have a talented staff of directors and teachers, plus a board of directors. And we’re partnered with the Cedar Tree Insitute.

What inspired you to found this program?

My mom’s work as Director of Great Lakes Recovery Centers for twenty-seven years inspired me to become a counselor in that field, working for seven years with kids with substance abuse problems in residential settings.  As a musician, I later began teaching music lessons in Marquette to kids.  While teaching, I realized there was a local need to help children thrive and become better students overall through music and mentoring. So I decided to create a nonprofit to help reach these goals.

We just finished our first instructor training program on October 26th and 27th.  Fifteen instructors, local professional musicians and social workers, were trained.  We’re implementing the program at the Marquette Alternative High School and the YMCA, along with other community nonprofits.  The passion of the musicians and teachers at the instructor program was amazing, and we all can’t wait to share our passion with the students!

What successes have you seen with the program so far?                                                   

The children in the program are thriving, excelling in school and life.  And we had a student who’s been part of the program since it began attend our instructor training program. This year she attended the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camps on a scholarship.  We are excited to expand our staff, and to begin teaching in the Alternative School – which currently has no music program!

What are the challenges?                                                                                                                               

We’re a nonprofit, so we rely solely on donations from the community, and are working hard to obtain grants.  We’re constantly looking for donations of instruments, new and used, as well as sponsors from local businesses, and anyone in the community who believes in children, music and personal growth, that can assist us with monetary donations.

What else would you like people to know about Music 4 All Kids?                                                                                                                                 

Research shows children who participate in music programs become better students.  Our program teaches and mentors children.  We believe in the power of music in a child’s life, and the power of a positive role model. Music can expand and grow your life, and we are excited to bring music to children who don’t have that benefit through their school system.

If there is a child you know who could benefit, or needs a mentor or a musical mentor, contact us. Our new website is http://www.music4allkids.us, and my number is 906-235-5163.

Additional funds would help us to expand our program by providing funding for those students in our target demographic, as well as add a wider variety of musical instruction to our current program.

If you or anyone you know would like to make a donation of instruments or money, we thank you, and the children in the program thank you!

(This article was reprinted with permission from the Winter 2013 – 2014 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2013. All rights reserved.)

And what did Shane say when we surprised her last night with news of Health & Happiness’s donation?

Oh my God! That’s great! That means so much. Wow, thank you!

Be sure to check out their website, www.music4allkids.us and Facebook page for more on their program!

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Filed under Creative Inspiration, Music, Positive Parenting

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