A group of students have helped the organisation El Sistema give underprivileged students opportunities to have a music education. Here are the reflections of one student, Harris Tong, on the service.
Start of the service:
My first service was challenging since I was nervous and tensed up. Upon seeing the new faces in the class, I didn’t dare to interact with them at first. However, soon I broke through and assisted Ms. Melissa by aiding the weaker students. I noticed that most students are weak in English, and therefore need help understanding Ms. Melissa. While I translated for the students, I also encouraged them to try listen English themselves so as to learn and improve. I learned that in order to build new relationships, I have to be active and step out to interact with others, thus learning collaboration. I also learned that there is always something else under the surface that I can learn. Throughout this music class, the students and I not only learned musical knowledge, but we also learned English and interactive skills. I will value this experience and apply this knowledge in the future when I collaborate with people of different ages or from different countries. I will also work harder to open up myself more next time so that I can further strengthen my collaborative skills and let the students get the most out of the class.
End of the service:
This was the last class of the ESHK program. To end the lessons, Ms. Melissa planned a small performance for the students’ parents. Since I have met most of the students last time, I got along with them in no time and soon I was mixed among them, teaching them violin skills. In particular, I befriended the youngest student in the class, a 5 year old girl. She needed the most help due to her age and therefore I sat next to her throughout the lesson. At the end of the lesson, the students performed to their parents. What surprised me was that Ms. Melissa did not plan this performance solely for performing, but as an opportunity to teach the parents how to teach their kids to play instruments. She gave details of how the parents can make sure their kids are playing the right thing. We volunteers helped her translate for the parents. Throughout this ESHK course, I learned that learning is not about lesson time, but about interest and sustainability. Lesson time is always limited. In the lessons, Ms. Melissa makes the students enjoy the class, so that they find joy in music and will continue loving music after the lessons, thus continuing to self-study music. The same applies to school, or extracurricular activities, or etc. I also strengthened my collaborative skills by interacting with the students, with their parents, and with Ms. Melissa. I hope to bring this positive atmosphere to the next class.