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Spotlight on Shilo, Volunteer

"To give kids access to music in schools is to give them hope."

Shilo has been volunteering with ETM-LA since Summer 2022 when she volunteered her photography services at our 2022 Summer Academy and helped with our HBCU Article media. Since that event, Shilo has been committed, passionate, and generous in her time at ETM-LA. Check out some of her work at the 13th Annual Music Unites the World Festival. We are so grateful for her time, talent, and support. It is because of volunteers, like Shilo, that ETM-LA can continue to bring hope and music to children across LA County.


Why do you volunteer for ETM-LA?

I wanted to volunteer with ETM-LA because it was an opportunity to grow and support a community of teachers and aspiring artists/students who are curious and love music as much as I do.


Can you share a favorite memory while volunteering with ETM-LA?

I’m fairly new to this but my favorite memory so far has been the Music Unites the World Festival. There was something so special about the moments when the kids were in the rehearsal rooms with established artists in the field of music sharing their experiences and coaching the kids in a genuine and constructive way that resonated with me. I could see the subtle facial expressions on the kids’ faces when tips that the instructors provided helped improve their performance and sound. It brought me back to my days in band and how excited I would get when I learned a difficult part of a piece we would perform for our recital or auditions.


How has music and arts education impacted your life?

I think back on any creative endeavors I have pursued and I am always reminded of the professors and educators. In any of those fields, they instilled a level of hope and confidence in me that I wouldn’t have otherwise had if they didn’t provide words of affirmation that it was possible to achieve the goals I set for myself. They helped me reflect on my growth as an artist and that growth was important, no matter how small. Learning something new is so vulnerable and knowing it’s okay to make mistakes is the hardest thing you have to tell yourself, but when you can it is so liberating. To finally learn a piece of music and become lost in it is such a cathartic feeling, and to feel that as a kid is to feel like you are flying.


Why do you believe in ETM-LA’s mission – providing music as a comprehensive subject as part of the core curriculum for every student in under-resourced schools?

This was another big reason I wanted to be a part of this organization because of what they gave back to their own community. I remember being a kid growing up and if you wanted to participate in band it wasn’t always affordable or accessible. I came from a family financially underprivileged and it was difficult to pay for extracurricular activities like this. And being in Los Angeles where the cost of living is so high along with poverty rates, how can the average family afford to rent an instrument for their child and provide maintenance on it during the school year? Music is one of those mediums that gives something back to us without us realizing it; whether we are listening to it, writing it, or performing it. To give kids access to music in schools is to give them hope. I can’t think of any better reason to believe in ETM-LA’s mission than that.