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OrchKids- Bringing Joy To Underprivileged Kids Through Music

Nema was accepted into the Baltimore School for the Arts where she now studies music.

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Jazz
Jazz is like the first dance music. Free dancing, where you show free expression. You throw your body but nobody is doing the same two steps

In Baltimore, a free after school music program called OrchKids is being used as an instrument of change for children in underprivileged neighborhoods. In the past 10 years, more than 1,300 children have received free group music lessons, and free instruments, from flutes to trumpets to violins.

The program was started by Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, who said OrchKids also aims to create social change in a city where about 40 percent of the population live in poverty. She hopes that if more children of color learn an instrument that “orchestras will better reflect the diversity of our communities.”

For 15 year old Nema Robinson, OrchKids has given her more opportunities than she ever imagined. Four years ago, the quiet teenager started taking the group violin lessons and quickly progressed.

Her teacher, Ahreum Kim, grew up in Korea and studied at the prestigious Peabody Institute in Baltimore.

“Nema’s determination has helped make her a top violin student” Kim said. “OrchKids is doing a lot for Nema, by giving her confidence, the practice of being in front of an audience, and musical skills she can be proud of,” she added.

music
Producing the Tanzania Albinism Collective Project allowed Ian Brennan to work with people who are not identified as musicians and are just waiting for a chance to be heard. VOA

Nema’s musical journey began when she and her mother, Susan Johnson, saw an OrchKids concert. Johnson was amazed to see black kids performing classical and opera music. “You just don’t see that,” she recalled thinking, “And I’m elbowing Nema and telling her, ‘This is what you should be doing.”

Nema enthusiastically agreed, and soon after started taking violin lessons that have given her the opportunity to play all kinds of music. She is especially proud of being a violinist in the Orchkids jazz band.

OrchKids has been instrumental in guiding many students, some from difficult backgrounds, by providing a place where they feel respected and safe.

Music
Google Doodle celebrating musician Clara Rockmore’s 105th birthday. Google

“Some of the students come into the class with baggage,” said Kim. “That could be due to poverty, or trouble at home. It is helpful when I learn about their families.”

Nema had a rough start in life as a drug addicted baby. With both her parents in prison, her aunt became her guardian and mother.

“She’s my number one supporter and has helped me a lot,” said Nema appreciatively. She pushes me. If it wasn’t for my mom I don’t think I would really be this good at playing the violin.”

Music
OrchKids has been instrumental in guiding many students.

Aside from the camaraderie and the encouragement that OrchKids provides, Nema also enjoys performing. I like seeing the audience, and their clapping and standing up after the performance,” she said. “It just makes my day.”

Thanks to her free violin lessons, Nema was accepted into the Baltimore School for the Arts where she now studies music.

Also Read: China Set To Spend Billionaire on ‘One Belt One Road’s, But Some Focus on Poverty

She hopes to earn a college degree in music so she can teach other black children, like herself, how to live their lives on a high note.

“It doesn’t matter what race you are, you can play music. If it’s your passion then it’s your passion,” Nema said with a smile. (VOA)

Next Story

Spotify to Let Users Share their Favourite Music on Snapchat

Spotify now has around 232 million monthly active users globally, a 29 per cent increase year-on-year (YoY), along with 108 million premium subscribers which is also 31 per cent (YoY) growth

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Spotify Music still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May.
Spotify Music still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May. Pixabay

Swedish music streaming app Spotify will now let users share their favourite music and podcasts with friends on Snapchat.

Snapchat is now one of the several destinations that Spotify users can share on, along with WhatsApp, Messages, Messenger, Twitter, Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, TechCrunch reported on Monday.

The new feature would allow users to either add albums, tracks or podcasts to a story or share them directly with their friends.

spotify, testing, first, hardware
Spotify is testing it’s new feature. Pixabay

In addition, the feature would also make it possible for its artists and their teams to promote their music to Snapcat’s users.

In May 2018, it added the feature to share content on Instagram Stories in a similar manner.

Also Read: Tech Giant Apple Set to Reinvent the iPhones: Report

Spotify now has around 232 million monthly active users globally, a 29 per cent increase year-on-year (YoY), along with 108 million premium subscribers which is also 31 per cent (YoY) growth. (IANS)