Music Instructor Teaches Underprivileged Students

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

December 11, 2005
One woman’s passion for music drivers her to extraordinary means to live out her dream. A Florida music instructor comes to North Augusta once a week to teach underprivileged students how to play musical instruments. News 12 has more.

Her students call her the Great Fusser.

“After a certain level a music teacher is no longer a teacher, but a coach,” said Patrice Minor-Floyd, Conductor and Director of Javacya Orchestra.

And this coach doesn’t fiddle around when it comes to music.

“They study music theory, history, basically a college prepatory program,” Patrice said.

Patrice Minor-Floyd makes the six-hour drive all the way from Tallahassee, Florida, where she lives, once a week to North Augusta where she’s been striking chords within these students for two years.

“Someone once saw something in me and recommended me for a scholarship,” Patrice said.

And now she wants to return the favor. While most three and four-year-olds are learning to read and write, these young musicians were reading sheet music.

“Most great artists begin at age three,” Patrice said.

The Javacya Arts Conservatory Orchestra in North Augusta teaches students age 3-18. It’s based off the Elite Musical Program at Julliard, for less than half the costs. Making it accessible to lower-level income families who could never afford private lessons.

“It’s even more rare because black students almost never have this opportunity. We still make up three percent of the professional music world in 2005 and that’s because of lack of exposure,” Patrice said.

Stressing the importance of after-school programs like these in keeping kids out of trouble.

“We have to find alternatives for pregnancy, prison system, nobody wants to go there,” Patrice said.

She says six hours of intense rehearsal has already proven effective.

“We sent six students to various prestigious schools including Julliard,” Patrice said.

Giving those talented young musicians a different tune in life to consider for their future.

All of the proceeds from Sunday night’s performance go towards scholarships for students who can’t otherwise afford the tuition. The Javacya Arts Conservatory in North Augusta is now accepting applications for the winter semester.


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