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Growth and Looking Forward

Prompted by the pandemic-induced stagnancy in music education, Sharing the Stand innovatively utilized technology to provide children and teens of the community with free lessons. And the project was wildly successful, experiencing rapid development.

To help keep the community tight-knit and connected as the organization grew, the Sharing the Stand team created programs that increased efficiency and fostered a shared culture. The team:

As the explosive growth of Sharing the Stand continued, the team's scale expanded. Their focus shifted from only individual virtual lessons to "expanding access for youth music education worldwide." The team recognized the benefits it was bringing to the local community and knew that it was something that could flourish nationally. On top of flexible musical education and teen opportunity, a larger-scale mission could help Sharing the Stand foster exchange of culture and help bring those of vastly different backgrounds together.

As a result of this broadened mission, Sharing the Stand founded new initiatives to further their mission and spread awareness of their cause. For instance, the team hosted fundraisers for various institutions, from youth music education organizations to hospitals, through virtual benefit recitals performed by the students. These institutions included the Merit School of Music (a nationally recognized school for high-quality music instruction), the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (a renowned talent-development ensemble program for musicians ages 6-18), and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (one of the nation's top pediatric hospitals).

These recitals offered a concrete way for parents to participate in funding music education and furthering health, care, and treatment for children. Importantly, they were also a fun and interactive demonstration of the students' growth through their lessons. Music's purpose is to be heard. These concerts not only aided the financial support of youth development and care but provided students a platform to proudly perform during the pandemic. This goal gave students more motivation to practice, improved their ability to perform under pressure, and allowed them to share their talents. With their performances, the students brought the joy and wonder of melody and music to the community, coloring the gray pandemic landscape.

Musicians from the Merit School of Music and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra attended the recitals as guest speakers and performers. Their stunning performances and discussions about the impact learning instruments had on their lives inspired members about the potential and beauty of music. Staff from these organizations were also invited to talk about their institutions' goals and programs, providing students with further avenues of music exploration.

Huge showings by extended family, organization members, friends and classmates, mentors, and others of the community amazed the team. They were "blown away by the generosity of the STS community to come together and raise money for each recital cause." Due to this generosity, Sharing the Stand was able to raise thousands of dollars for music education and pediatric cancer research.

Aside from these recitals, Sharing the Stand also partnered with Crescendo for a Cause to broaden the mentor and student base and form stronger bonds in the music community and connected with high school Tri-M Honor Societies to recruit new mentor volunteers.

As Sharing the Stand's growth continues, the team has set their eyes on a promising future. They're directing ongoing international expansion, with new mentors from countries ranging from India to the UK. Additionally, they've seen a significant influx of homeschooled students as members. The team is currently working hard to expand the organization and hopes to involve mentors and students from increasingly diverse backgrounds, each with their unique stories and styles.

Sharing the Stand welcomes each new member with open arms and is thrilled to continue sharing the love of learning music!

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