Spotlight on Kecia Cooper King, Volunteer
"Music allows for aptitudes to be discovered, learning collaboration, patience, and appreciation of gifts and talents of oneself and others."
Some might say I’m “all over the place,” and they would be absolutely right! I moved to Los Angeles from Chicago 19 years ago, SAG-AFTRA card in hand, to pursue an acting career. Although my degree is in pharmacy, I chose to work different jobs in different industries including the auto industry. I now work as an Automotive Sales Trainer and Coach all over the U.S. and I love it! One constant in my life has been music. I love all kinds and there is DEFINITELY a soundtrack to my life! Rock songs from the ’80’s, gospel, contemporary Christian, and smooth jazz are all on there. Those songs can transport me into happy and exciting times in my life or instill a sense of gratitude for getting me through a super tough season.
How have I benefitted from music? How has music changed my life?
I grew up with music on the radio and records my parents played on the stereo-until about 12-years-old when I got my own record player and my first album. That was huge! What truly shaped my life was being part of the band playing the clarinet from grades 5-12. Band gave me some of my best friends, taught me to work hard and enjoy it, to embrace my creative side, encourage and support others, to not give up when it seemed too difficult or I might fail, and to feel the emotions music could bring without shame of showing it. I loved practicing and was humbled to sit First Chair most of those years and voted “Best Girl Marcher” by my fellow band members my senior year. It was a small school in Michigan and the band was the pride of it, with the reputation of always achieving “1’s” at festivals. This was largely due to our teacher and director, Mr. Denny Fralick, who told us, “I need 110% from you!” His standards, like my parents, were high. I still approach my work, fun, and relationships, always striving for that 110%.
Why do you volunteer at Education Through Music-LA?
Simply put, this is a vital and important organization that supports the education community like no other. It is important to me to give back where I can. Knowing how music education and band shaped my life in so many ways, I want that opportunity for all children. ETM-LA has amazing leadership in Executive Director Victoria Lanier and she attracts and creates some of the nicest, kindest, most giving, fun people to work alongside! Between the staff, the kids, the teachers, and the volunteer celebrity musicians I get to interact with, it makes for a seriously good time all the way around!
Can you share any key memories while volunteering with ETM-LA?
I have had the honor to be the red carpet interviewer at ETM-LA’s annual gala on several occasions. Meeting the many recipients of the evening’s awards is exciting and humbling as they passionately tell why music in schools is important to them or what it was like when they were in school and stories about their teachers. One music teacher brought his music teacher and that was a fun interview! I find so much joy witnessing the celebrity guests who are genuine and gracious, the teachers who light up or become emotional when they see and hear their students thanking them, and the students’ energy lining up against the backdrop on the red carpet for a photo. Priceless!
Why do you think in-school music education for all children is important?
I believe every child in every school should have music classes as part of the core curriculum – just as math, science, history, social studies, and other classes are required for graduation. These classes all enhance the others. Music allows for aptitudes to be discovered, learning collaboration, patience, and appreciation of gifts and talents of oneself and others. Lessons learned from a teacher with a different perspective or way of connecting is invaluable. When students who have benefitted from music education tell us that it helped them feel more confident, smash depression, make new friends, or allow them to travel somewhere new, we should listen. Not just listen, make every effort for that to continue and grow to reach more students who will grow up to be our world’s most productive, giving, and respectable adults.