Anden Toale and Jocelyn Spellman love music. They love listening to music, talking about music, and most of all, playing music (flute and guitar for Anden; percussion for Jocelyn). In fact, the friends love music so much, they think everyone should get the opportunity to learn to play it.
But Anden and Jocelyn know that not all kids have that chance. A few years ago, they decided to try to fix that. “We’ve both had amazing times in band—it’s so much fun, and it’s helped us make new friends,” Anden says. “We wanted to figure out how to give that gift of music to other kids.”
Together, they came up with the idea for Music Buddies, an organization that pairs high school musicians with kids in the local foster care system. Foster care is a temporary situation for children who can’t live with their families. Kids in foster care often move a lot, so they may lack access to instruments or regular lessons. Music Buddies (with help from an organization called Speak Up for Kids) provides everything: instruments, instruction books, and lessons from the teen musicians.
Because of Covid-19, the 30-minute music lessons take place over Zoom. Teaching an instrument virtually to a kid who’s never played it before “is definitely a challenge,” Jocelyn says. The pair hopes Music Buddies teachers will be able to give music lessons in person in the future.