Nashua Community Music School offers innovative pay-what-you-can lesson program
When the stay-at-home order temporarily closed New Hampshire schools, Nashua Community Music School Executive Director Lindsay Rinaldi and School Registrar Melinda Schreffler wanted to create a way to stay connected to their young students despite being physically separated.
Together, the two worked quickly and formulated a new plan with an interesting wrinkle: Mini Musicians Online – a pay-what-you-can program that gets kids moving, playing and making music.
“Lindsay knew that I had a background teaching, and younger ones especially,” Schreffler said. “We had traditionally offered a similar class as a group, so we took that model and adapted it to fit and to be more appropriate for this situation.”
The Mini Musicians Online/pay-what-you-can program is a once a week session for kids aged 3-7, held on Thursdays from 2-2:30 p.m. Participants explore the world of music through singing and movement. Led by Schreffler, kids use household items to create instruments, play, dance and begin to build a musical foundation.
The ability to connect became clear recently, as Schreffler brought a stuffed animal to help sing a song.
“The little ones all started moving away from the screen,” she said. “I thought, ‘what are they doing?’ Then a few parents told me that it was OK – they were going to get their own stuffies. It was so exciting that they could be so engaged and we can still find ways to connect even though we’re physically distant.”
Here’s how to get involved: Visit this page, click the donate button, make your donation, and then Miss Melinda will send you an email with a link to the class and a list of optional household items to gather an hour before the class begins.
Held over Zoom, the now ubiquitous video conferencing application, the group classes are designed by the school’s master instructors to introduce foundations of piano, singing, music theory and instrument play.
“We’ve had very positive feedback from people who have participated so far,” Schreffler said. “People can come in and out as they can, and a lot of families are coming one week or every other week as their schedules allow. It’s a new program for us, and it’s building.”
The innovative approach fits in perfectly with nonprofit’s mission: to offer high-quality music education to families in the community.
“Those families that have the resources donate more, which helps us accomplish that, and we appreciate that,” Shreffler said. “If a family is struggling, it’s available at whatever that family can contribute.”
The program will continue to run indefinitely, Shreffler said.
“We’ll continue as long as the stay-at-home orders are in place, for sure,” she said. “At least until we’re able to get back to more of our in-person programming, but even then there will be an overlap. It will likely be a transition.”
What: Mini Musicians Online, a pay-what-you-can online music program
When: Thursdays, 2-2:30
Where: Nashua Community Music School
How: Visit this page, click the donate button, make your donation, and then Miss Melinda will send you an email with a link to the class and a list of optional household items to gather an hour before the class begins.