The Silicon Valley Voice

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Notelove’s Student Instructors Offer Free Music Lessons

Notelove is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization with several chapters in the United States. One of them is based in Silicon Valley. The organization’s premise is to provide young people, especially those from a low-income background, free music lessons from volunteer student instructors with a forte in music. Omar Shohoud, a former Homestead High School student, founded Notelove in 2018.

“The main goal of Notelove is to spread the love of music,” said Bhavya Krishnan, 17, Marketing Director of Notelove. “Sometimes music lessons are not accessible to people from low-income communities. Notelove bridges that gap by allowing high school students to share their love of music with other communities.”

Through Notelove, Krishnan teaches the flute, an instrument she has been playing for nine years.

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“Notelove is a critical part of Homestead High School’s music program,” Krishnan continued. “It has offered a lot of students a chance to teach music to other communities online and in person. By the time I came to Homestead as a freshman, I’d heard a lot about what Notelove had done and that made me want to join the community as well. But you don’t have to attend Homestead to be in Notelove.”

Linda Chang, 16, Associate Director of Notelove, teaches the clarinet, an instrument she has been playing for six years.

According to Chang, a Sunnyvale resident and a Homestead student, the teachers in her chapter of Notelove cover all the basic instruments in Western music: percussions (the piano, drums, xylophone and marimba), woodwinds (the flute, clarinet, oboe and saxophone), brass instruments (the euphonium and trumpet), strings (the violin, viola, cello and guitar) and vocals.

“To recruit our volunteer teachers, we have an application and interview process,” Chang said. “It’s a three-step process. Applicants have to fill out a written form that includes a submission of a video that shows their proficiency with their instrument. That is reviewed by our officer team. If an applicant progresses toward the interview round, we’ll try to get to know them and make sure they are the right fit to work with students. After they get on board, we pair them with a student via email.

“Anyone between the ages of 5 and 18 are eligible to receive lessons,” Chang continued. “If you are low-income, you’ll get first priority. We also offer scholarships for students who are underprivileged to purchase music books and instruments.”

Back in January, this chapter of Notelove put together a concert called “Snowlove” in the auditorium of Homestead. About 30 students and 10 instructors performed. The chapter is planning a spring concert in May, similar to the event it hosted in January.

“I want to be there to help people discover their passions through music, people who might have otherwise not had the opportunity to,” Chang said.

Visit the nonprofit’s website to learn about receiving music lessons or becoming a volunteer instructor. Notelove instructors receive community service and volunteer hours. Additionally, instructors can have their hours go toward fulfilling the requirements for service clubs and honor societies.

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