The Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy originating from the National Federation of the Blind "provides intensive Braille instruction to blind and low-vision children during the summer months...age 4-12" (https://nfb.org/bell-academy).
Settlement Music School perceived the importance of this work and immediately got on board to help facilitate this 2-week camp, made possible by the Albert B. Millett Fund, administered by BNY Mellon Wealth Management. Last Friday, the BELL Academy participants got a musical delight: they participated in an "Instrument Petting Zoo." For a couple of hours that day, the students got a chance to try out a wide array of instruments, including the cello, trombone, trumpet, violin, flute, and clarinet. During this time, they had the chance to make a sound on the various instruments with a skilled adult musician guiding the children right next to them.
The result was equally heartwarming and powerful. Every time the BELL Academy participants made a noise on the instrument for the first time, they immediately broke into a grin. They asked questions about every instrument, eager to learn more about its history and merits. They learned about the proper way to hold the instrument and the correct embouchure. By the end of the afternoon, I think all of the kids felt that they were indeed capable of playing music.
Safe to say that this was one of the best afternoons I've had in a while.