SaddleBrooke Rotary donates through their music for kids program

Kaitlyn Miller

Kaitlyn Miller

Theresa Poalucci

Kaitlyn Miller started the school year as the new music teacher for Mountain Vista School in Oracle. This was a big deal for the school as they did not have a program before. It was also a big deal for Miller as she is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona in Music Education.

It would be a daunting task for any educator to start up a new program, but Miller has done so with a great deal of enthusiasm. She teaches 14 classes each week starting with Kindergarten students up to eighth graders.

“I teach general music to the younger students,” explained Miller. “The older students have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument.”

She is starting by forming an orchestra and, although students are encouraged to rent their own instruments, not all can afford to do so. To that end, the District provided funding for the purchase of some string instruments. The SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotary also donated used instruments they have been collecting through their Music for Kids program as well.

Miller says they need more violins and they are looking for another cello and bass. The classroom needs more music books and sheet music as well. Funding is also needed to repair many of the used instruments that were donated through Music for Kids.

Miller is a violinist and on top of her teaching at Mountain Vista she gives private lessons and also performs in an ensemble.

“Being new in a new program gave me the opportunity to apply the latest teaching methods,” said Miller. “Music has been such a big part of my life. I don’t believe you can have a well-rounded education if you don’t have an understanding of music.”

“Music is everywhere and learning about it can help with other subjects such as math, language, reading, history and even culture.”

Miller has already had the Oracle Piano Society come in to demonstrate to her students and she is hoping that someday they can put together a field trip to the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Many of her students have not had much exposure, if any, to classical music.

“There is a moment when you see a light bulb go off in their heads,” she said about her students. “It is very gratifying to see that their journey has led to a discovery. I often say, ‘remember when you did not know any of this and now it is easy.’”

Miller says she certainly could use more classroom volunteers. Earlene Lewis, a SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotarian, serves as a volunteer and says it is a very rewarding experience.

“It can be a lot to teach music theory to a classroom with 25 students,” said Lewis, “but the kids really love their teacher and have a great time.”

To reach Miller, you can email her at [email protected] To donate an instrument visit www.rotarymusicforkids.com.