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In the Groove with ETM-LA’s Summer Music Program


With the summer days finally arriving in Los Angeles, most teachers and students have already begun vacationing from the classrooms. However, not all of us were able to stay away from the atmospheric sounds of classroom music. In fact, we were back in our element; teaching, nurturing, and creating an environment for students to learn new instruments, choreograph dance routines, meet new friends, establish quality practice habits and most importantly have fun. The 2023 ETM-LA Summer Music Program was in session, and our shared experiences couldn’t have been more rewarding.

When students arrived with instruments in hand, they were greeted at the entrance of St. Finbar School by 3 of our ETM-LA Music Educators; Mr. Makarchuk, Ms. Connor, and myself. The pursuit of musical knowledge began immediately, as we believed it was important to cultivate a theme for the summer program which we entitled The Evolution of American Music.

In the span of 9 days, students gained an array of historical context with Mr. Steele; beginning with the creation of Jazz in the late 1800s, and concluding with a crash course in what we know as today’s Top 100 Billboard Sound. Afterward, Mr. Makarchuk and Ms. Connor each led instrumental masterclasses for band and orchestra through improvisation, sight-reading, and rhythm activities.

On the final day of camp, students excitedly performed a concert of instrumental and vocal works from the catalogs of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Sia, and Kendrick Lamar. This experience not only improved their confidence but allowed them the platform to deepen their understanding of performance etiquette.

As a youth who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, participating in summer music camp has always been a beautiful memory. And I believe wholeheartedly that the students who attended our summer program will one day feel the same.


Westley Steele, Music Teacher
Education Through Music-Los Angeles



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Education Through Music-Los Angeles is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide and promote music in under-resourced schools as part of the core curriculum for every child in order to enhance students’ academic achievement, creativity, and overall development.

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