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Bringing Music to Alpha Public Schools

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to Alpha?

My name is Ms. Laverty and I’ve been a private teacher for trumpet and brass ensembles for 13 years. I recently became interested in teaching in a classroom environment and was really drawn to Alpha Public Schools because of the positive relationships between teachers and students. I was also really in awe of the degree in which parents are involved and that we offer classes and resources to parents and families to help them be better advocates for their children. 

I have the knowledge to teach a whole band. In the past I worked with a student who was really talented and was raised by a single mother, who just could not afford to pay for private lessons. I decided that he should not have to give up music simply because of finances and offered to teach him for free. I loved his sound and I wanted to make sure that he would have the basis he needed to pursue music further. 

What role has music played in your life?

Music has been in my life for as long as I can remember. Being in band not only gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment, but it also created this huge network of music professionals who have become my lifelong friends and reside all over the world. Because of music, I received a scholarship to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Without this scholarship, I’m not sure that I would have been able to pursue a higher degree. It opened so many doors for me. 

Why is music education so important?

In 2003 the California Arts Council Budget was cut by 90% and they have been trying to rebuild since then. Funding for public arts in any form has drastically reduced in favor of other core classes and testing. We often hear that music is a privilege and only students who come from affluent families should have that privilege. I think that is an outdated thought process, and should be reassessed. Music is and should be a right to human development. Music helps you develop your whole person- not only speaking from a scientific perspective. Playing music is also a great emotional and creative outlet. There are tons of studies and research done on brain development through playing music. One of my favorite conductors and composers, Jack Stamp, said that “music demands perfection”. When one person in an orchestra makes a mistake, it may not seem like a big deal. But if any entire orchestra comprised of over 150 people were to each make one mistake, what you would hear is unlike what the composer intended. Music builds trust, support, friendships, competition, responsibility, self satisfaction, and teaches you right from wrong. 

How many instruments do you play?

I am a trumpet player. I played trumpet in band and have even found a group of teachers to jam with at the school. I am able to play other instruments like trombone, french horn, piano, and saxophone. 

What is the reality of the class right now. What is your vision for what this class will become?

I want to build a full band at Alpha Public Schools. I firmly believe all students should have access to playing an instrument. We have more than 30 students in each class. The reality is we have less than 10 instruments so not every student has an opportunity to play. Currently we are working on reading notes, playing keyboard, singing, and learning basic rhythms. I want my class to be something my students look forward to because it’s different, fun, and challenging. It is a class that allows all students to express themselves in a format other than words. They also learn how to infer skills that aren’t explicit commands.  It is a very personal, reflective form of self-development, and self-help that is absent from many of our lives.

How would you like the community to help?

We have a small budget to purchase instruments and are relying on donations to get a variety of instruments including – flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, trombone, trombone with F attachment, bass trombone, french horn, trumpet, cornet, tuba, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, baritone/euphonium horn, all percussion equipment- xylophone, marimba, bells, drum set, congas, bongos, latin percussion,  music stands, instrument accessories (reeds, valve oil, mutes, cleaning kits, stands) and more cowbell!!!! I will be purchasing as many instruments as possible second hand. I also accept broken instruments because I worked for 5 years at a music store and picked up some tips and tricks along the way!! 

Thank you for your time, and for reading how you can help my school and kids!  

We can’t wait to show you what we are capable of!

If you would like to support Ms. Laverty’s music program, please donate here paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/2438662

Please contact us (slaverty@alphapublicschools.org) if you have an instrument to donate!