Arizona academy gives free music lessons, instruments to youth

PHOENIX – A local music academy wants to make sure students learn to play an instrument even if they can’t afford it, underscoring a federal guideline that says music is crucial to a quality education.

Rosie’s House provides free music lessons and instruments to children who are economically disadvantaged. The music academy provides 12,000 free music lessons annually and gives out 250 free instruments every year, according to the website.

playing flute

Victoria Arora, a 10th grader and a Rosie’s House student, said she diligently practices playing the flute. She said her performances help unite audiences. (Photo by Mia Atkins/Cronkite News)

Victoria Arora, a 10th grader, said playing the flute is one of her passions and unites her audiences when she performs.

“I’m very lucky to have private lessons because Rosie’s House gives these opportunities to low-income families and it’s nice to perform for the community,” Victoria said. “I feel like music really brings everyone together despite all the differences in the room.”

Federal law requires students to receive a well-rounded education under the “Every Student Succeeds Act” former President Barack Obama set in 2015. It recommends music education as a vital part of a school curriculum.

Karalee Hagen, president of the Arizona Music Educators Association, said these are exciting times for music educators.

“We’ve often, over the years, had to justify music as helping a child learn math or helping a child learn English. But now, specifically, we can say you know music is important and justified in its own right,” Hagen said.

At Rosie’s House, 97 percent of its students who graduate high school go on to enroll in college, according to the website.

Music teacher Katie Valadez believes her students mature through their lessons at Rosie’s House.

“Being a student at Rosie’s House requires a certain level of commitment and dedication,” Valadez said. “It takes that kind of commitment and hard work to apply for college, to find your resources. Here at Rosie’s House they have programs to help students fill out their FAFSA and look for possible scholarships they can qualify for.”

Victoria Arora practices her flute for hours every week and uses her passion for music to drive her life.

“Through dedication you achieve anything, so I have dedicated myself to practicing and playing the flute to really master the instrument and get better. I have taken that outside Rosie’s House and I’ve used that to just be dedicated to other things,” Victoria said.