We are a group of undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to enriching local K-12 students' lives through music education. We partner with several campus and community organizations, as well as local schools, to provide free music lessons in piano, strings, brass, percussion, and more!
In 1999, Dell Case, a PhD student at Penn's Music Department, walked into Ruth King's music classroom at West Philadelphia High School (WPHS) and asked her if he could work with her students. The next year, Dell brought in a few extra graduate and undergraduate music students to assist teaching lessons, and completed his degree program at Penn.
In Fall 2001, Dan Gonen, one of the undergraduates that Dell brought to WPHS and a senior economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn, decided to institutionalize PMMP. Under his leadership, we became a fully recognized, Student Activities Council (SAC) funded student group, joined the Civic House Associates Committee (CHAC), and grew to a membership of 25 students regularly teaching music lessons to the students of WPHS.
Although no longer at WPHS, we currently have over 50 tutors and are teaching at many different sites throughout Philadelphia. Every academic year we estimate that PMMP's tutors donated over $10,000 worth of lessons to West Philadelphia students.
While our primary activities are geared towards improving our students' musical abilities, our main goal is not to produce outstanding musicians (although that is a "side effect"), but instead, to produce outstanding students and young adults. As musicians ourselves, we have witnessed first-hand the positive effects of creating music. When music is properly taught to receptive students, the lessons of dedication and commitment are always learned. We know this because our teachers have inspired those qualities in us, and now we are dedicated and committed to inspiring them in others.
Teaching a successful music student usually requires a team effort, with contributions from him/herself, his/her parents, his/her school teachers, and his/her private teachers. Unfortunately, a typical 1-hour private lesson costs anywhere from $40-$60 per week, which comes to an annual cost of $2,100 to $3,100. Needless to say, this sum is beyond the reach of many students.
As a result, we intend to fill the role of a student's private teacher--working closely with a school's music department and enlisting the help of other organizations on and off Penn's campus to create a community where a music student can flourish.