ETM's good goes beyond just what they advertise on their website. As a former employee and then eventual partner teacher of theirs for many years I have come to see many of the levels of good they do.First is the obvious one of providing an experience for inner city students who otherwise would not have had the opportunity at all. The stories go on and on, year after year, about the student who was exposed to an ETM program at their school and are now either performing better overall or are taking it a step further as to be at high schools like Laguardia. These countless success stories would not have been possible without ETM.Second is the opportunity it offers its teachers. I was well prepared coming from my undergrad to take on the world as a music educator, but I would not have been nearly as successful in those first few years had it not been for the support from ETM. The professional developments, the resources, the advice, the counseling... it was almost like student teaching 2.0. I soaked up everything I could and adapted to become a better music educator.I don't know where I would be today without ETM, and thousands of new students every year say the same thing.
Education Through Music provides children in New York City with an opportunity to have music as an educational opportunity in their school. When funding risks being cut ETM steps in to provide crucial assistance in providing music education. Music education helps children in all aspects of learning. Math and reading levels are greatly enhanced by music education. Often times children in difficult life situations are not motivated to attend school, the programs provided by ETM are the highlights to these students days and serve the community in a plethora of positive ways.
This winter the opportunity arose to visit Education Through Music's beautiful suite of offices in midtown Manhattan, directly above Grand Central Station. If only New York City's school children could learn in an environment as lovely as the one occupied by yet another "non-profit."
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Education Through Music "provides" music teachers at a school my child attends in the Bronx. At first, I thought it would be a wonderful program and was excited about opportunities afforded to my child. However, as more details about their teachers and monetary arrangements emerged, I became disillusioned. Education Through Music hires unqualified "teachers." Most are post graduates with a degree in music performance and absolutely no experience in teaching. Education Through Music, on average, fires/loses approximately 75% of their teaching staff every year, which is not the consistency we need when dealing with children. As well, although they claim to be a non-profit who PROVIDES for underprivileged schools, the public school my child attends paid $18,000 to Education Through Music this year to receive the services of teacher that came twice a week. 40 weeks, 2 times per week = 80 days. Divide that by $18,000 and that comes to $225 per day that a DISADVANTAGED PUBLIC SCHOOL is paying ETM for their services. This is not non-profit. It is robbery.
I’m sorry you have not been pleased with the quality of the program at your child’s school. Each of our partner schools does pay for a portion of the program, and ETM raises money to fund the rest. Some schools pay a significant portion, and that is in fact part of our long-term goal for schools to run their own music education programs. We believe music education should be part of every school’s budget, so we work with principals to help them build costs into their budgets over time. We negotiate fees each year with each principal, and we ask schools to increase their financial commitment as time goes on. Many of our partner schools have in fact hired certified music teachers to their own staff after beginning to partner with ETM, and we are excited when this happens, as it makes music a more permanent part of the school. We have been strengthening our efforts to hire more teachers with education backgrounds. The only way we will be able to help each school move down a path of hiring teachers is if we can provide them with strong candidates, and that is something we are working on. As of the fall of 2010, over half of our music teachers have a degree in music education and/or are certified music teachers, and still more are pursuing certification or additional degrees. Our audited financial statements and annual filings with the IRS are publicly available. Please contact me if you would like additional information about the budget for the program at your school. Katherine Damkohler Executive Director Education Through Music, Inc. 212-972-4788 kdamkohler@ETMonline.org
I worked for Education Through Music for about three years, and in that time I was impressed on a daily basis by the real impact that the organization was having on the lives of disadvantaged students. It was always an inspiration to go see the program in action in the partner schools, and the student performances showed the students' measurable progress and developing love of music.
Education Through Music believes every child should have a well-rounded education that includes music both as a subject and as a means of supporting learning in other areas. I believe this is an accurate description of how this program has been implemented in our school. Students are given the opportunity to learn a variety of subjects with the support of music. Music teachers incorporate the units of study currently being taught into their music class. They use music to explain concepts in a different and unique way. Students are able to use hands on materials, such as instuments, to get them involved in learning the material. Every student also has the chance to perform in a concert twice a school year which allows the school to come together and support one another.