By Max Bowen
Posted Mar 20, 2018 at 12:52 PM
Updated Mar 20, 2018 at 12:53 PM
On a chilly March afternoon, the sound of piano and violin can be heard as one enters the Dedham Community House.
Within the first-floor classroom, sisters Molly and Maisie Crummet work on their respective instruments to the encouraging instruction of teacher Baekyu Kim.
For the last decade, such lessons have been a common sight at the DCH, and in this momentous time, the Dedham School of Music is working on an expanding clientele of local schools and ensuring that what’s been launched recently meets the needs of students. Director Amy Fichera said teacher submit annual reports that look at how their students are progressing and what can be done to see that this continues.
“We want to make sure we’re constantly refining what we do,” she said before a class on Monday.
The DSM was started as a result of the school’s instrumental classes being cut due to budget shortfalls. While this is no longer the case, the nonprofit organization maintains a strong partnership with four of the Dedham Schools, as well as one in West Roxbury, and most recently, the Channing School in Hyde Park. Fichera said this offers the chance for those in the Boston area who might not be able to afford what other schools charge the chance to see if music is for them. Last year, the DSM launched several new classes for children who want to play the clarinet, cello and saxophone.
“They get their feet wet without feeling like they’e making a huge financial commitment and can then transition to private lessons,” she said.
Oftentimes, a student will switch to different instruments to something that may seem completely different, but Fichera said the drive and push them to make it effortlessly. She cited two students who played the cello for four years each, and then abruptly changed to the drums and saxophone with the goal of making the jazz band at their school. Weeks later, it was mission accomplished.
“In some ways, what they did applies to a new instrument,” said Fichera. “Another is the faculty, they have the students’ interests in mind. Sometimes a teacher will notice when the kid hits a wall and see about getting them a new instructor. In order to grow they may need someone new.”
In addition to the new programs for young musicians, the DSM recently kicked off the Community Band, which allows those that may not have played for years to dust off their guitar or trombone and get back into the rhythm. Members meet each week for rehearsal and perform concerts a few times a year.
“I think they’ve all surprised themselves with how advanced they are how much they remember,” she said. “When emphasis is placed on community, really helps their playing.
After so many years in the DCH and nearby Mother Brook, Fichera said getting a storefront for the DSM is still a goal, but she also likes that one nonprofit can help two others in Dedham.
“We walk that line — want to appeal to a large amount of kid, but not at the expense of the kids.”
The Dedham School of Music will be hosting its annual Off Key Comedy Club fundraiser on Saturday, March 24, to mark the 10th anniversary. For more information, visit www.dedhamschoolofmusic.org.