Character Development Through Music

DETROIT - About five years ago, three friends got together and decided to form a program known as STICK (Support The Inner City Kids). These are all college educated, young black males, who have majored in some form of math and music. They concluded that if they could teach music to middle school and high school students in Detroit, they could also teach life skills.

So, through a series of events over the past several years, they have built their dream into a reality. They visit three schools weekly: Central High School, Fisher Upper Magnet Academy and the David Ellis Academy. They touch the lives of between 40 to 50 kids, ages 10 to 18. The YMCA was so impressed with them, that through their outreach and relationship with local schools, connects them for these music classes within the after-school programs.

They work off the "drum line concept," with the understanding that every student is not on the same level, but they all have some form of talent. Through music, character development is taught -- traits such as discipline, teamwork, punctuality, paying attention to details, admitting when you make a mistake and how to correct that mistake.

Sometimes when a student gets frustrated, he or she might walk out. But each time that has happened they come back. They have to apologize to the group and admit they were wrong and want to continue. The group has to accept them back, which they do.

The other day I sat in at a session at the David Ellis Academy to see firsthand what happens. It was amazing. These students where being instructed by Joshua and Darius. For an hour and a half they stood there and went through various "drum line" techniques and patterns of music. They stood erect, they followed the instructions and asked pertinent questions. Some were sweating, but there was something in the atmosphere that let you know they were learning, were paying attention and being respectful.

The parents are very supportive of this program and make sure the students are there on time. This unique approach of enhancing character development through music is definitely working to better our youth.

Joshua McTerry, Darius Jackson and Curtis Mason are Everyday Heroes: Making A Difference.

On a daily basis in spite of one's life struggles and challenges, there are some people who reach out and make a positive impact on the lives of others. That is why Local 4 and a prominent local clergyman, Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. have teamed up to find those people and tell their stories.

Do you know an everyday hero in your life? Email us and tell us about them.

About Rev. Lonnie Peek, Jr.

Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Jr. located in Detroit in 1975. After teaching 2 years in DPS, he went to WSU receiving a Masters of Social Work, an activist on campus he created the Association of Black Students. He is an entrepreneur and serves on such civic boards as New Detroit, Inc, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. With extensive radio background expanding 25 years, he writes a weekly column for the Michigan Chronicle. He has been a regular on local/ national television shows dealing with political and social issues An ordained minister and seminary graduate, he serves on the executive committee and is the public relations chairman for the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and is Assistant Pastor at Greater Christ Baptist Church.

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