OCS Coordinator Profiles: Musical Mentors

Julia Kan ’22 Majors: Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and Studio Art

Musical Mentoring is a program in partnership with Oddfellows Playhouse where Wesleyan students are paired with Middletown kids for one-on-one private instrument lessons. We teach children aged 6-11, and instruments we have taught in the past include piano, guitar, voice, violin, and many others! It’s a great opportunity for kids to either learn a completely new skill or expand on the music education they’re already receiving in school. Because of the individualized nature of each relationship, mentors and students are able to form closer bonds.

As a coordinator, I am in charge of finding the mentors and pairing them with the right students. I run the whole hiring process and I’m in charge of a lot of the group’s financial matters (applying for grants, paying mentors, etc.). Sometimes if I have time, I’ll also teach one of the kids myself. Throughout each semester, I make sure the mentors are making good progress with their students and get them any resources they need. I also teach general group music lessons to the kids and lead the warm-up games at the beginning of every class.

The “share days” are definitely my favorite memories of this group – those are at the end of the semester when every student performs a song or two that they’ve been learning with their mentor, and it’s always so rewarding to see how far they’ve come. I am also quite proud of the Zoom music mentoring I ran last year when everything was remote because of COVID! We had very successful virtual share days that year too, all things considered.

Anyone who loves working with kids and loves singing/playing an instrument should join Musical Mentors! Prior teaching experience is helpful but definitely not necessary! If you are committed to sharing music and investing in your relationship with your student, you will be a great mentor. At the beginning of every semester we do outreach via email / WesAdmits, but anyone interested can reach out to me (jkan@wesleyan.edu) or next year’s coordinator, Miles Allen ’24 (mallen01@wesleyan.edu).