Julie Wegener, center, a music teacher with the MusicLink Foundation, her student Anmy Paulino Collado, left, and Anmy’s mom, Andolina Collado, as they finish a music session, in New York. Private music lessons are beyond the reach of many families and even music programs at public schools can come at a price. Even for families with means, there are tricky questions. Who wants to invest several hundred dollars in a guitar that might end up in the closet? Before plunging into music lessons, it helps to explore the landscape. (Photo: Bebeto Matthews, AP)
Andolina Collado didn’t know where to start when her young daughter asked for violin lessons. An immigrant from the Dominican Republican who works as a home health aide, she asked everyone she saw carrying an instrument in her Manhattan neighborhood if they knew of affordable lessons. Finally, one man pointed her to a church where Whin Music Project offers sliding scale tuition based on income.
Her daughter Anmy thrived in violin and soon wanted to learn piano. When teachers pointed her to the MusicLink Foundation, which pairs motivated students from low-income families around the country with music teachers willing to give lessons at a discount. At age eight, Anmy wrote to MusicLink to ask if somebody who spoke Spanish could contact her mother. Julie Wegener, New York City coordinator for MusicLink, was so moved she decided on the spot to teach Anmy herself. Full story.