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Brown County Schools Offer Free Music Classes For Kids

piano teacher with student

One of the instruments that students can learn to play in Brown Co schools is keyboards. (Steve Burns/WTIU News)

Brown County Schools are now offering free music lessons after school. The idea came to fruition thanks to a few resourceful community members.

Bridget Rinehimer is a music teacher at Brown County Schools and works with the after school music program.

“Large portion of our community are low-income students and they do not get the opportunity to travel for example, to Bloomington or further, for arts and culture,” says Rinehimer. “We wanted to bring that culture to them, and give them the exposure that we know so much enriches their life.”

Rinehimer says she struggled in school, but then found an appreciation for music. She says that has made her a more successful person.

“I started feeling proud about who I was, what I was doing,” says Rinehimer. “I felt like I had a drive, and things started clicking. My brain started understanding things in a more open, creative, critical way.”

Annie Hawk wrote the grant proposals for the project. She says being able to control an instrument gives students more confidence. Hawk says the program is also bringing the community together.

“It’s bringing older members of the community in touch with, in contact with, younger members of the community,” says Hawk.

Rinehimer agrees. She says after school programs give children a place to go from a difficult family situation or just having a bad day.

“They come in and they’re like ‘finally, there’s a safe space,’” says Rinehimer. “And it’s a place that they feel home.”

The schools offer classes in guitar, keyboard and violin in the after school program. There are also rock band classes at the BETA facility in Nashville. BETA is one of their community partners. The acronym stands for Brown County Enrichment for Teens Association, Inc.

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