How it all started.
Over the years, we have realized that children from the community are highly interested in learning music but are deterred by lack of funding, materials, and education. Inspired by this desire, and realizing the positive effect that a local music program would have, Musical Empowerment was created to provide free music lessons to kids from low-income families. The program gives children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem communities the opportunity to learn more about music and to develop meaningful relationships with college students through music lessons.
Musical Empowerment is unique in that it changes the lives of children in the community. Music is one of the most powerful ties that humans can have, and this program aims to open the eyes of local youth in terms of opportunities, while allowing college students to give back to the community in a personal and engaging way. We believe that music in particular empowers children and fosters discipline, confidence, and collaboration which are values that can applied across multiple disciplines. Music is a common thread that unites us all and it knows no boundaries or borders. It is a language that all cultures share, and it manages to transcend cultural conflict. Music builds self-confidence and self-value, and Musical Empowerment creates a space in which people from diverse backgrounds can help and learn from each other.
Over fifteen years of service.
The pilot chapter, originally called Carolina Music Outreach, was launched in 2002 by Christine Moseley (alumnus, UNC-Chapel Hill Class of 2004) as a student organization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Initially the program had 12 UNC student volunteers teaching piano, guitar, violin, and voice as a way to connect with Spanish-speaking families in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community.
In 2012 Leadership Team members Katie Weinel, Kaitlyn Hamlett, and Meredith Richard incorporated the organization as Musical Empowerment, a 501(c)3 nonprofit hoping to expand its business model to other college campuses across the US and the world. Musical Empowerment at UNC-Chapel Hill had grown to include over 130 student-teacher pairs offering lessons in trumpet, piano, cello, guitar, clarinet, violin, flute, voice, and viola.
In July 2015, the Musical Empowerment Board of Directors hired former Musical Empowerment Co-President, Meredith Richard (alumnus, UNC-Chapel Hill Class of 2015), as the organization’s first Executive Director to oversee the growth of the organization. Musical Empowerment launched its second chapter at NC State University in November 2015, led by NC State students Alex Kim, Brianna Ragan, Alex Brown, Jasmine Schietler, and Shane Reagan. In November 2016 Musical Empowerment launched its third chapter at Wake Forest University, headed by WFU students KyungMin Yoo, Sophie Leruth, Linda Sui, and Brandon Liu to extend its reach to over 160 student-teacher pairs across three chapters.
In February 2017, Musical Empowerment continued to develop the teaching methodology, teacher resources, and curriculum. In July 2017, the national office/headquarters was planted in Carrboro, NC at YouthWorx on Main (an innovative collaborative dedicated to building the capacity of youth-focused nonprofits).
Two new chapters launched in 2018, one at High Point University and the other at East Carolina University. This extended the organization's reach to serve over 200 children (impacting the lives of more than 400 children and college students).
A sixth chapter was established early in 2019 at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. The seventh chapter starts up in fall of 2019 at North Carolina Central University. Musical Empowerment is working with students at Appalachian State University to launch in 2020, and plans to continue replicating its model at campuses across the country.