Erik Garcia, Music Teacher
Music Teacher Erik Garcia, who joined the Education Through Music-Los Angeles team a couple years ago, lights up talking about the transformation he witnesses in students after even just a few months of music education. “I’ve seen kids go from really shy and not confident at all, to out in the playground making connections with people,” says Garcia. “That’s really what it’s all about…living through art and being able to express in that way, making you whole.”
Garcia teaches at Rio Vista Elementary, where he says the staff is very encouraging and promoting of the music program. The students, too, have a lot to share about the program and confirm Garcia’s thoughts about confidence. A 5th grade student who has struggled with speech delay since age 2 shares, “Music class makes me feel like I don’t have to be embarrassed when I make mistakes in my playing because the other kids are making mistakes, too. Music class also makes me feel happy – that I am getting to learn to play a fun instrument like the saxophone.”
Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) trains its teachers through quality professional development programs to ensure top notch instruction and to continue creating impact through the music teachers. “We’re all teachers, but we’re also all students and we strive to be better and grow together” shares Garcia. ETM-LA music teachers are professional artists and educators from a myriad of musical backgrounds including jazz, classical, band, vocal, and world music and see on average over 12,000 children per week throughout such Los Angeles County regions as Boyle Heights, Burbank, Chinatown, Compton, East LA, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley and South Central. Through over 100 hours of professional development and mentorship for ETM-LA teachers per year - including ETM-LA’s weeklong intensive Summer Training Institute - music teachers continue to receive feedback and support to improve upon teaching skills.
The teachers and students aren’t the only ones growing, however. ETM-LA will be expanding to 30 partner schools within the year reaching 14,000 students with quality, sequential music education as part of the core curriculum. We are very excited about our growth and our impact, as shared by our music teachers! Thank you for your support in this impact and in our music programs. Every child deserves a quality, well-rounded education that includes music, and you are part of the change to get there.