In celebration of Lowcountry Giving Day coming up on May 6, we are sharing special stories made possible by your generous gifts. Every gift goes further if you give on May 6! Your gift will make it possible for us to share more stories like the one you are about to read.
Meet one of our Financial Aid Award recipients – Jon Medina-Valencia!
Last December, Charleston Academy of Music (CAM) took part in a national day of giving called Giving Tuesday. The donations received on that day made it possible for CAM to offer Financial Aid awards . One of the award recipients is a dedicated and committed 9 year old cellist, Jon Medina-Valencia. Jon is one of the few that received a full-year scholarship, which allows him to take cello lessons at CAM with Terry Muir. We met with Jon, his mother Natasha, and his teacher, Terry to listen to his story.
When did you start learning the cello?
I was 9 years old when I started. I am turning 10 this year.
What do you enjoy about playing music?
Whenever I feel a bit down, playing the cello cheers me up.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Astronaut! I enjoy math and science at school.
I understand that this is your 2nd semester being part of the Kidzymphony Orchestra Program. Tell us about your experience in Kidzymphony.
I enjoy practicing and playing together with my friends. We sometimes get nervous about performing, but also feel very proud to present pieces we have been working hard on. I especially enjoyed performing in the concert last December. Sometimes there are times when some of us do not feel like rehearsing. But I try to cheer up others by telling them that it’s good for us that we get to play, because it’s a privilege – not many kids get the privilege to play an instrument like us.
We also asked Jon’s teacher, Terry about what music can bring into children’s lives. He believes that “learning to play an instrument can teach you discipline, teamwork, and how to learn other things by applying these skills.”
His mother, Natasha, is evidently his biggest fan and supporter. Having played the clarinet herself, she is “exceptionally supportive” when it comes to Jon’s lessons, according to Terry. Not only does Jon have a supportive mother, he has the support of the whole family. Terry considers this an important factor in the Jon’s impressive progress. In fact, when Jon auditioned for the Financial Aid award, he even performed over the phone for the other family members who couldn’t be there to hear him perform. According to Natasha, the family loves to get together and make music. It wasn’t hard to guess where Jon’s positive outlook on life came from, when we met with Natasha. Natasha also says that “for Jon, practicing the cello is not a chore…he just really enjoys it. He will even ask the family members if we want to hear his new piece quite often.”
Thank you Jon, Natasha, and Terry for sharing this story with us. We wish Jon all the best in his future with lessons and school!