A band of six Coppell High School students are giving music lessons to students who don’t have access to music education.
Nivi Anandaraj founded Texas’ first and only chapter of Notelove – a nonprofit organization where students give students music lessons – particularly in areas where music programs remain underdeveloped. She runs the organization with her friends, Claire Wang, Destiny Wang, Ashley Zhang, Matthew Tindoc and Megha Pazhayidathu serving as a board of directors. There are currently two chapters – one in Boston and one in California, where the organization is headquartered.
The students started their chapter in June and have been building their network throughout Coppell before expanding across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Instructors range from ages 14 to 17 and are required to have at least four years of experience and show proficiency in their instrument. They go through an interviewing process where they also have to play a selection for Recruiting Director Matthew Tindoc.
“It’s like kids teaching kids,” Executive Director Nivi Anandaraj said. “Each instructor can contact their student and the student’s parent on their own and schedule their own lessons. The instructor gets volunteer hours which makes it appealing to high schoolers.”
The instructors are allowed to teach a variety of instruments or offer vocal lessons if selected. Students can range from ages 5 to 17.
“It’s really cool to see how the instructors and students are building relationships,” Marketing Director Megha Pazhayidathu said. “One of the instructors is working with an autistic student, and they’ve become more than just a student-teacher relationship. It’s become a friendship. We find a lot of pride being able to create those connections through music specifically.”
Notelove directors have reached out to multiple area elementary schools and parents to encourage students to sign up.
“One of the most rewarding things was just a few days ago, one of the teachers from Richard J. Lee Elementary sent an email to all her students about Notelove, and in 24 hours we had 37 students sign up,” Associate Director Destiny Wang said.
The instructors are currently giving lessons either over Zoom or operating out of Coppell’s band hall. However, Destiny said the directors have been reaching out to the Coppell Arts Center and Coppell Conservatory to expand their venues.
Once the directors have graduated high school, Finance Director Claire Wang said one of the current directors would serve as an advisor to the new directors to ensure the chapter keeps expanding and maintains continuity in its mission.
“One of the biggest challenges is the fact that we’re all high schoolers,” Pazhayidathu said. “It’s been tough building our name because the first thing parents see is six high schoolers leading this organization, but we’ve had a lot of practice in music. We’ve made sure we’re all capable in leading these kinds of things. More than just building a name, we want to make sure we can prove we can keep this organization running and that parents and kids can trust us.”
Parents and students who want to learn sign up for lessons or to become an instructor can click here.