Kathryn Moran | Success Stories | Introducing ArtSmart’s Remote Outreach Program

In 2022, ArtSmart piloted a Remote Outreach Program in partnership with We Are Instrumental. Kathryn Moran, now a graduating senior, was one of the first students to receive virtual voice lessons in the Adirondacks, where there is a lack of teachers for extracurricular activities due to geographical barriers. Hear Kathryn talk about how lessons and her relationship with her mentor Erin (streaming in from Cincinnati) have impacted her. Kathryn’s choir teacher Michael Iturrino and Evan Mack, Executive Director of We Are Instrumental, also share their observations. After graduating, Kathryn plans to attend community college to get a general education degree before deciding what she wants to major in. Music education might be one of her choices!

Read the transcription below:

Kathryn: Hi, my name is Kathryn Moran. I go to Ticonderoga High School in Ticonderoga, NY. And I have been in the joint We Are Instrumental- ArtSmart program since 2022.

Mike: My name is Mike Iturrino and I am the Director of Instrumental and Choral Music at Ticonderoga High School.

Evan: Hi, my name is Evan Mack. I am the executive Director of We Are Instrumental. We are a strategic partner with ArtSmart. My organization is based in the Adirondacks in Northern New York. We are in a rural area. I am also a mentor in composition for ArtSmart.

Kathryn: The most important thing to me about my lessons and singing is having something constant. Every Tuesday at 11 I have my lesson with Erin. It is so wonderful to have something that I can rely on every week, someone who I am always able to talk to about singing or school or my family or my teachers. It’s wonderful. Someone who always cares about you. It is amazing to have that kind of person in your life.

Mike: These lessons have had a profound effect on our students. I’ve witnessed first hand how these lessons have increased the competency and confidence in each of our students. I have students who are eager to audition for solos. I have students who are eager to participate in solo festivals, any sort of performing opportunity, and they have become absolute leaders in our program. During rehearsals they are the first to raise their hands and offer some advice as well as share their experiences with these lesson programs. The confidence our kids have gotten not only in their musical abilities but in themselves has been absolutely monuments in the level and I am so grateful for it.

Evan: Our partnership began last year with a pilot program where we took ArtSmart’s model and We Are Instrumental’s model of creating access and created this hybrid learning experience where students have weekly digital lessons. We started off with my idea of a pilot program of once-a-month lessons because kids don’t have access to private teachers, especially because of the geographical barrier. For example the nearest horn teacher could be two hours away. And when I started talking with ArtSmart, they were able to magically turn this into weekly lessons, which has been thrilling. So since the pilot program started last year, we now have 15 students enrolled and we do voice, composition, horn. Clarinet, flute, and saxophone. So we have expanded in terms of the instrumental space.

Kathryn: Since I became a junior, I started taking vocal lessons with my vocal coach Erin. I had no prior knowledge to learning how to sing or read any music and it was very difficult to learn. And she has helped me so much on my musical journey. I’ve taken so many opportunities that I would have never been able to take if I had not had her help.

Mike: Kathryn is now a senior in high school but started in choir with us last year in our school district as an eleventh grader. When she started choir, she was very eager to sing but has no formal training. She came from our private Catholic school which had no music teacher. When Kathryn first started, she was a meek, shy student. And now Kathryn will be conducting a piece on our spring concert, which she is teaching to the choir herself in Latin.

Kathryn: With her teaching me music, it has helped me so much in my chorus program, in my band program, all the [music] conferences that I’ve gone to. I have had so many great experiences.

Evan: It’s been amazing to watch our kids transform. You can see that they have more confidence. They have goals that they want to set forward and execute. And the results are things like higher attendance rate in school or higher dedication to the music program. More students are not applying for the NYSSMA Solo Festival and they are actually doing it at a higher level. The results are bearing fruit and quite evident.

Mike: These things would not be possible without the expert tutelage and confidence from her lesson teacher Erin Alcorn. My students love Erin and I can see firsthand the effect that she has on them every single day when they come to rehearsal.

Evan: Particularly with Kathryn, it’s been amazing to watch her confidence grow, to see her grounded in the space in the sense of having short, medium, and longterm goals and hitting those goals. So it’s thrilling to watch her progress as the year moves on and in her work with Erin in lessons.

Kathryn: In my lessons I have developed so much self-confidence and self-belief. Before my lessons, I had awful stage fright and always feared going on stage. It took something I loved and became something I hated and dreaded. Now, in my lessons, me and Erin have developed ways to ground myself before I go on stage. IT has helped me so much to take something I loved and then feared and now it is something I love again. And I always look forward to performing now.