For Chung Park, music was his saving grace.
Raised by a single mom together with two siblings within the large metropolis of Chicago, the UCF Symphony Orchestra director started taking place a dead-end path in highschool. Life at house was chaotic, and he didn’t like faculty.
“I felt aimless,” he says. “My compass wasn’t centered in the fitting course.”
That was till his music instructors helped information him again on monitor.
Park is now an associate professor of music, director of string music training and director of symphony and chamber orchestras within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. However past his day job, he’s additionally the training coordinator of A Gift for Music, a neighborhood nonprofit based on the concept all youngsters, no matter socioeconomic standing, ought to have entry to the life-changing advantages of a top quality music training.
All the youngsters that A Reward for Music serves attend an Orange County Title I elementary, center or highschool or qualify without spending a dime or decreased lunch.
For Park, this program is private.
“I do know the ability of music,” he says. “It might probably preserve youngsters in class who could in any other case fall off the map.”
Over the previous 4 years, he’s spent most of his Saturdays conducting free orchestra follow for about 100 college students. Behind the scenes, although, he’s orchestrated far more; he’s additionally created a seamless pipeline from UCF to A Reward for Music.
He teaches faculty college students after which locations them in teacher roles in this system, the place college students discover ways to play string devices. It’s a win-win; college students earn pay and real-world expertise, and the group has an limitless pipeline of keen instructors who assist expose the youthful college students to varsity – one thing that youngsters from underserved communities don’t at all times have.
“The possibility to be taught from Chung and provides again to A Reward for Music is likely one of the causes I’m going to UCF for graduate faculty within the fall.” — Cesar Olmeda
“The possibility to be taught from Chung and provides again to A Reward for Music is likely one of the causes I’m going to UCF for graduate faculty within the fall,” says Cesar Olmeda, a bass participant, who obtained concerned with A Reward for Music when he was in third grade at Ventura Elementary Faculty. “With out A Reward for Music, I wouldn’t be the place I’m proper now as a musician.”
Olmeda entered A Reward for Music as a violin participant. He was launched to bass as he progressed from the free after-school weekday music classes to the Saturday orchestra practices. He is only one of tons of of scholars that A Reward for Music has seen go on to varsity.
About 90 % of graduates of A Reward for Music go to varsity, says Park, though college students from Title I faculties — the place no less than 40 % of scholars are from low-income households — are much less prone to advance past highschool. In 2016, about 20 % of dependent undergraduate college students in america have been from low-income households, according to the Pew Research Center.
“A Reward for Music gives a way of safety for these youngsters. It’s a spot the place they’ll speak about ambitions, good grades and will be round like-minded folks,” Park says.
Throughout Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this Could — and each month — Park acknowledges the significance of illustration.
“Life is usually simpler while you come from sure backgrounds. It’s so essential that there are folks of shade in outstanding roles as a result of if we don’t exist then individuals who come after us don’t suppose they’ll do it,” Park says. “I get chills simply interested by it.”