Shalala MusicReach Testimonials

"MusicReach has been a very important part of my life for a long time. While attending High School at Doral Academy, the 2-1 Mentoring helped me immensely. My mentor, Julia Mercedes, gave me the encouragement and instruction to continue improving on my bassoon and other musical skills. Though I did not initially consider going to college for music, being involved with MusicReach nurtured my love for music. So, I chose to apply to Frost and other music programs and ultimately chose to attend Frost for my studies.

Now that I am teaching with MusicReach, I get to give back to the community. It has also helped me in my university studies, as being a role model for my students constantly pushes me to be a better musician and mentor. Whether the students I teach continue to pursue music as a career or just a hobby, I’m glad I can encourage Miami-Dade youth through music.

Daniel Rodriguez
Former MusicReach Mentee
Class of 2022


"I have been a MusicReach mentor and Frost School of Music student since the Fall of 2019, and it has been such a wonderful experience. I feel honored to be a part of such a great organization that is giving music education opportunities to youth who may not have the same experiences otherwise. I have been lucky enough to have many great music teachers throughout my life, and I feel a responsibility to pass along what I have learned from them. I love being a part of the MusicReach community and learning from and with my fellow mentors.

Being a MusicReach mentor has made me more mindful in my own education at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. I’m a better, more productive student myself when I’m regularly teaching others like I am as a MusicReach mentor. My students inspire me to push myself and be the best role model I can be, and I’m so grateful for the time with them every week that in turn supplements my own growth and learning as a musician."

Kira Wales
MusicReach mentor
Class of 2023


"Being a Teaching Assistant with MusicReach while pursuing my master’s degree in Music Education at the Frost School of Music helps me stay engaged with the practice and context that bounds educational theory. Being able to teach in different school settings and community sites gives me the opportunity to place what I’m learning at school in reality, on a daily basis. MusicReach has helped me stay grounded in my goals and stay connected to my community. Being born and raised in Miami has been a motivating factor for me choosing a career in education.

My MusicReach placement at Miami Norland Senior High School is down the street from my childhood home. Because of that, I think some of my students are able to see themselves in me. They know what I’ve accomplished and know what I want to do. It’s not just them seeing that example but knowing my support for them goes beyond music. Of course, we’re there to make music together but they know they can come to me for a recommendation, help with college applications, tests, job searches, and just general advice. That’s the beauty of being a music educator, there’s a lot of space and freedom in music that being a music educator means so much more than just teaching music.

Jaden de Guzman
MusicReach Teaching Assistant
Class of 2020


"Coming in as a first-year student at the Frost School of Music, I feel so lucky to be a part of the MusicReach community. The ability to teach two hard-working mentees each week in such a welcoming environment has not only allowed these students to become better musicians and contributors to their community but also has had a significant impact on me as a mentor. From learning how to carefully craft lesson plans to performing alongside my mentees at Frost’s Winter Wonderful gala, I’ve received opportunities and learned skills that will enhance my life, even beyond my music career. As I graduate from the University of Miami four years from now, I’ll look to the future with optimism and I’ll look back with immense gratitude for what the MusicReach program has been able to provide for Frost students and the Miami-Dade community."

Rachel Petrovich
MusicReach Mentor
Class of 2025


"Being a mentor for the MusicReach program at the Frost School of Music has had such a positive impact on my life. I am so grateful to work alongside other great musicians, mentors, and faculty. This program has not only allowed me to grow as a musician but also as a teacher and leader, which I know I will need in my future career as a music therapist and music educator. One of my favorite experiences while being a mentor is watching my students have that 'cartoon lightbulb' moment. This is that moment when the student understands something for the very first time and you can see that imaginary lightbulb go off in their head. This is a perfect example of why the MusicReach program is a win-win situation for both the mentor and the student."

Samantha McCullough
MusicReach Mentor
Class of 2024


"Before starting my undergraduate degree in flute performance at Frost, I had not formally taught students aside from helping my siblings with their musical pieces. I have enjoyed working with my two mentees and realized that it is as much a learning experience for me as it is for them. I have enjoyed watching my mentees not only learn music, but build a friendship, encourage each other, and laugh together. This is a wonderful program for students in the Miami-Dade area and I am very thankful to be a part of it and for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these students."

Abigail Peel
Class of 2025