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Cultivating Love for Music Is Most Rewarding Experience

Published on May 1st, 2019 in Margaret Donnelly O'Connor Education Center

A Reflection By Peter O’Brien, 2018-2019 Education Center Jesuit Volunteer

Reflecting on the past school year, I have realized how quickly time can pass.  It feels like I stepped onto the Ethel Lawrence grounds just yesterday. Now, in the blink of an eye, the year is almost gone. Working at the Margaret Donnelly O’Connor Education Center has been a crazy ride. Every day is exciting.  As soon as the buses arrive, we have an overflowing stream of students in and out of the Center. The students bring their own personalities and stories from the day or the week and I feel very fortunate to have made amazing connections with so many of the kids who walk into our big red double-wide trailer. It’s been wonderful growing the connections I have made so far.

I knew I wanted to utilize my love of music and bring it to the Margaret Donnelly O’Connor Education Center.  Everything from private lessons for the kids to a jam session with the teens has helped me to form a deeper connection and love for the community and the work we do.  At the beginning of the year, I ran a music club that slowly developed into private lessons. These lessons become far more than just learning an instrument: they are an opportunity to sit down and talk about what is going on in life, share stories, and truly get to know the person sitting across from me.  Watching students cultivate a love for an instrument and being a part of that has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Music is able to bring together different people from all walks of life and all ages. I have also been able to challenge myself in teaching instruments that I have less experience with, which allows me to continue to grow and learn. From football to fractions, my everyday interactions with the students that walk through the door has given me a wealth of knowledge and a passion to connect with others.

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