Marin Arts & Culture MAC_JUNE_upload - Page 22

kids are going to go out and change the world,” Pratt predicts. Kids older than 14 often become interns, and as they develop their skills, she pays them, giving young people from low-income homes a steady income. Once YPI was established, Pratt discovered that students who aged out of the program also wanted to work with younger children. “We’ve created a situation where kids don’t graduate out as much as they stay in the community,” she explains, giving Jeremy Lyon as an example. When she first met him, he was a little redheaded kid, 13-year-old, who got a full scholarship and was phenomenal. He went on to become a musician who played at Outside Lands, and he visited YPI to do photo ops with the students. Now he’s back as a teacher, in addition to being a professional musician. Another former student went to Dartmouth College, where she joined an a capella group, and she brought her fellow singers to Marin to perform with YPI’s children at Town Center in Corte Madera. Public performances are part of the program, and among its gigs, YPI performs annually for Bread & Roses, visits Cedars in Marin, an organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, where residents sing and clap along and visits shopping centers during the holiday season. students have scholarships, and she doesn’t accept pay for teaching them. YPI offers scholarships, so anyone can attend, and when parents fill out a scholarship form, Pratt asks how much they can pay. Most people can afford at least a little, and Pratt says that they supply the rest, explaining that YPI is a nonprofit and supporters make donations, which pay for the scholarships. She adds that half the Music makes kids happy, but it has other benefits too. Studies show that children who have music instruction perform better academically. “None of this was a surprise to me,” says Pratt. She adds that she has observed that the kind of child who is drawn to music is usually also athletic, compassionate and gentle with the elderly and younger kids. “You become in tune with the larger harmony of the cosmos,” she says—and that just might be music’s biggest gift to the world. Young Performers International offers summer camp in Corte Madera, group and individual lessons in students’ homes and classes at River Montessori Charter School in Petaluma. For more information, visit 22 MARIN ARTS & CULTURE