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Spotlight on ETM-LA Student Mateo

Mateo, a 4th grader at one of our partners schools, is one of the many children receiving weekly, yearlong comprehensive music instruction through Education Through Music-Los Angeles. Last year, he learned to play the saxophone, to read music, and to compose his own musical piece to play in front of his peers. We recently caught up with Mateo and his parents to talk about the impact music has had in his life.


Q: How have you seen music impact Mateo?

A: Overall we have seen music impact Mateo in many ways. He has learned to read music & has been able to even perform in his school’s talent show. Because of his musical progress, we have seen his overall self-confidence improve dramatically. We have seen his overall academic progress excel this year.


Q: How have you seen music impact Mateo at school?

A: In years past, his teachers have always expressed concern for his writing and reading not being at grade level. This past year is the first year his teacher was not at all concerned about his academic achievement in relation to his grade level. We firmly believe that music has played a large part in his overall academic progress.


Q: Has Mateo had any major challenges as a child that you are willing to share? If so, how do you believe music has helped?

A: Mateo was clinically diagnosed with delayed speech at age 2, and as a result began receiving support services and speech therapy. Early on, Mateo was nearly unintelligible. However through his hard work, and by all involved, today no one can believe that he ever had a problem speaking as everyone always says, “Wow – he has so much to say!”

But from the time he was a newborn, Mateo has had music as part of his everyday life as we always played lullabies and various ‘kid music’ at home and in the car. Because of all his exposure to music and because of the lyrics involved we believe that music has played a vital role in helping Mateo excel in overcoming his speech delay because he always tried to sing along.


Q: Why do you feel studying music is important for Mateo and children?

 A: If a child is exposed to music at an early age, they learn to express their feelings, emotions and ideas through another form of communication other than speech. When children have other developmental delays or intellectual disabilities, music is a way that impacts a certain part of their brain and helps them to further develop and grow intellectually. Because of Mateo’s speech delay, music helped in his development by him using that part of his brain, which in turn had an effect on other areas of his development.



In Mateo’s own words:

 Q: What is your favorite subject in school?

 A: History


Q: Why do you like music class and playing the saxophone? Can you share how it makes you feel?

 A: Because I get to be with my friends and I get to learn how to play the saxophone. I like to blow air into the saxophone, it’s fun.

Music class makes me feel like I don’t have to be embarrassed when I make mistakes in my playing because the other kids are making mistakes, too. Music class also makes me feel happy – that I am getting to learn to play a fun instrument like the saxophone.


Q: What is your favorite music to listen to?

 A: Rock and alternative music.


Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

 A: I want to be a computer programmer so that I can write code for cool games to play.