Music Blocks is currently offering a piano program for students at Sunny Hill Elementary School in Carpentersville, where, according to the Illinois Department of Education, 90% of the students in 2017 were classified as low income. The vast majority of these families could not afford either private lessons or a piano in their home and may not even have enough space in their home to furnish a small piano or keyboard. To address this, Music Blocks provides current Sunny Hill students in grades 2 to 5, semi-private lessons at Sunny Hill as an afterschool activity. They are supplying full length (88 weighted key) keyboards, with stands, stools and headphones and the music lesson books and materials so students can take lessons on site at Sunny Hill. To better ensure the students’ success with the program, Music Blocks is offering 30 minute private or semi-private lessons (depending on the grouping of students) to each student, three days per week, by fully qualified, experienced piano teachers.
In late March, 2020, with the District 220 move to remote learning, Music Blocks also started offering private lessons to Sunny Hill students online. Gradually, online enrollment increased as Music Blocks solicited and facilitated donations of keyboards, digital pianos and even a few acoustic pianos to Music Blocks families, allowing students to continue lessons safely from their home. Through persistent efforts, Music Blocks found a way to connect online with nearly 100% of the students originally enrolled in the on-site piano program. When it is safe and appropriate, Music Blocks looks forward to returning to on-site music lessons.
Every 4-6 weeks students will have group lessons consisting of approximately 6-8 students. Group lessons will provide an informal performance opportunity where students can play current repertoire for their fellow music students. In addition, students will enjoy various theory and musicianship games and activities to reinforce their reading skills in a fun, group environment.