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East Atlanta music program offers virtual 'pay what you can' summer classes

Atlanta Music Education adapts curriculum to accommodate social distancing

ATLANTA — Although schools are officially out for the summer, parents at-large still seem somewhat hesitant about completely abandoning the quasi-isolation the city has been under for nearly the past three months. At least where their children are concerned.

That’s typically when local music program, Atlanta Music Education, would be just about to get started up with their summer music camp.

Founded in 2010 by local music teachers, Elexa Bancroft and Matt Johnson as a way to bring music education to children in Atlanta, Decatur and surrounding neighborhoods.

However, like most programs that deal with children or the arts lately, Atlanta Music Education had to pivot.

“It's very scary. Businesses are having to close, freelance artists freelance musicians are losing entire incomes. So my goal was that I have to start thinking outside the box,” AME co-founder, Elexa Bancroft tells My East Atlanta News.

Thus the Virtual Summer Camp program was born.

Credit: Atlanta Music Education co-founder, Elexa Bancroft

Beginning the week of May 18, the camps will run throughout the end of July on the 31st. 

The virtual classes will be held daily, Monday through Friday at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The classes are 45 minutes long with a sequential curriculum developed directly by Bancroft and her team of professional music instructors.

One of those instructors, Jacob Lavoie, a recent addition to the team had this to share, “I saw the staff and I was just immediately impressed, like wow, these people know what they're doing. They're all professional artists who also love teaching.”

Their mission statement is to approach the classes with a modern perspective. Combining a solid foundation of classical music theory along with popular contemporary music.

“I train my voice students from a classical technique standpoint because in my life that helps me navigate all genres of music," says Bryn Holdsworth, classically-trained opera singer, and AME instructor.

Bancroft set up the virtual program to a “pay what you can” price structure. This made the course accessible to those families who may be struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns.

A vast majority of the instructors on her team have had to deal with either a partial or complete loss of wages depending on their day jobs. Atlanta Music Education only asks families to consider a $10 donation per class per student in order to support the artist-teachers.

The classes themselves are taught on Zoom. Parents will send the teacher’s personal meeting ID once they have registered.

For more information about Elexa Bancroft and Atlanta Music Education, visit their website, and for information about how to register for the Virtual Summer Camp, click here.

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