During TAPS LA Music Festival 2023, TAPS had the privilege of partnering with the Switzer Learning Center to provide local students with a cost-free, two-week hand drumming program taught by TAPS Faculty Artist Eric Hartwell.
Throughout the program, Switzer Learning Center students had the opportunity to learn teamwork, practice, persistence, listening, creativity, self-expression, and more through mentor-mentee relationships and masterclasses with these TAPS collegiate students, local artists, and symphony musicians.
Reflection from Artistic Director and Founder of TAPS, Ted Atkatz:
"Over the last three years, TAPS has worked with students from the Switzer Learning Center in Torrance, California. In our sessions with these students, we teach them to play Ghanaian drums and percussion instruments and to perform in a West African Ensemble. Most of these students have never played a musical instrument before, and their performances with TAPS are their performance debuts. These performances have included drumming, singing, and dance.
During our sessions we often witness a transformation of a student’s behavior; when performing with our West African Ensemble, they are able to focus on playing for long periods of time, and upon finishing, are invigorated by what they have just done. For me, this is deeply moving and inspiring. In providing these students with an opportunity to play music we are making a significant impact on these young people’s lives."
A sweet note from Switzer staff:
“One of the highlights of TAPS LA Music Festival was when our students performed with a talented group of musicians at a private home concert. We are so grateful to collaborate with TAPS in connecting our students to world class musicians who embrace diversity and sincerely appreciate our mission in the community. “
Overall, it was a true joy and privilege to work with the Switzer Learning Center students.
TAPS continues to dedicate itself to making a positive impact on the local community by bringing the joy and benefits of music education to as many young people as possible.