MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Online schooling is not just for core subjects during the coronavirus pandemic. Band students are learning virtually as well.
One South Florida father is using his son’s legacy to “let the music play on.”
“It’s like Groundhog Day,” said Max Schachter. “I’m just stuck in this house and every day I’m thinking, ‘I wish my little boy was here’.”
Schachter misses the music his son Alex would no doubt have been playing during this pandemic.
Alex was one of the 17 victims killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
He was also a state champion trombone player.
“Alex fell in love with music through online music class,” Schachter said. “I looked at his current class. Ninety kids in the classroom and one teacher and all these instruments and I wanted Alex to really fall in love with music so I supplemented that with Skype music lessons.”
Now, the Safe Schools For Alex organization is donating $10,000 to provide free private online music lessons for middle school students in Fort Lauderdale during the coronavirus crisis.
“We’re worried that during this pandemic, if the kids are not getting the instruction they were prior to this tragedy, I’m worried they’re going to put down their instrument and never pick it up again,” Schachter said.
In partnership with School of Rock Boca Raton, they’ve launched the “Let The Music play on!” initiative.
The first group of kids to receive the free lessons come from James S. Rickards Middle School.
“It’s a huge gift,” said Rickards Band Director Summer McClendon. “Our students a lot of time don’t necessarily have the opportunities that are out there in the world. However, It’s not that they don’t want them. It’s because they don’t really know how to go after them.”
McClendon says she usually teaches 205 students on a regular day.
For now, 35 students will benefit from the program.
“If they can get the instrument out of the case and have their phone or iPad or computer, the phone or iPad or computer can be a tool for them to practice their instrument and express themselves during this crazy time,” she said
“I know all the positivity that came from online music lessons for Alex and I want to give that to as many children that are in Title I schools as we can,” Schachter said.
They hope to expand the program to include more students and other schools as well.
If you’d like to learn more or help by making a donation, visit www.SafeSchoolsForAlex.org.