Letter: It took the dedication of many to save music in Ridgefield

To the Editor:

I am compelled to acknowledge the many Ridgefield groups who have united in the challenge of teaching music in our district during COVID-19 this past year, in the face of so many hurdles that could have disrupted learning far more had they not thought outside the box.

Specifically, I want to point out the wonderful collaboration of the Ridgefield public schools music programs and teachers, as well as Ridgefield Music Matters - with the student-created Ridgefield Music Mentors program.

The RMM tutoring program was the brainchild of several students even before COVID began. As teachers and students were struggling last spring with the disruption to learning that is almost always in-person and hands-on, it was clear that this interruption in music would be detrimental to RPS students.

This fall, students of the Ridgefield Music Mentors asked teachers how they could help. Was there a way to integrate virtual lessons to boost student access to learning and fill gaps that teachers just couldn’t meet because of COVID changes to instruction? The answer was yes.

Teachers and creators of the Music Mentors began creating and organizing for every student who wanted free online tutoring to have it (no small feat!). About 206 students were paired with high school students and in a few cases Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra members.

It was a monumental task and as the parent of two of those students, I am grateful for their solution. Thank you to: Mr. McNamara, Mr. Peters, Ms. McGowan, and Mr. Wood, and to the RMM students for their creativity and dedication - Alex D., Anirudh K., Coleman H., Dmitri V., Makena D., and Michael K., and all Ridgefield public school tutors who continue to participate.

Aryn Cluney, March 7