St. Louis news: Teacher using music to help underserved students

Renita Luehrman founded Suzuki Harmony, which is committed to providing all students with access to music education

ST. LOUIS – It’s time for violin lessons for 11 year old Neorah and 8 year old Emuna.

“Music is a great way for children to express themselves,” said mother Miquilaue Young

In the pandemic, her teacher Renita Luehrman gives instructions about Zoom.

“She makes me play it over and over until I get it right,” Emuna said with a laugh.

It’s the personal touch without the touch. And while COVID-19 may have changed Luehrman’s behavior, it didn’t change her mission.

Luehrman is the Executive Director of Suzuki Harmony, a nonprofit that offers private music lessons to families with limited resources.

“The reason we’re a nonprofit is because we allow families to pay what they can,” she said.

In many underserved communities, music education is not only low on the list of priorities, it may not be on the list at all.

“I grew up with a violin and have been playing it since I was 4 years old. And then I go to this school and none of these kids had seen a violin and they could never touch one. And that just opened my eyes Oh, that is not something that everyone has access to, “she said.

So she founded Suzuki Harmony, named after the Japanese musician who believed that every child’s musical talent could be nurtured.

“Little kids, they can do it. Their bodies and their brains are just sponges,” said Luehrman.

“She’s dedicated and patient. She works so well with the kids,” said Miquilaue Young.

In her first year of 2017, she only had three students. That number is now up to 30.

And now Neorah hopes to become a music teacher when she grows up.

Striking a chord with kids, no matter where they’re from. Renita Leuhrman and Suzuki Harmony donate music.

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