Intense music program teaches Hall Fletcher students more than how to sing and play

Some Hall Fletcher students are involved in the MusicWorks program that meets every afternoon after school for three hours. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

There are some students in Asheville who don't mind staying after school. As a matter of fact, they look forward to those days.

The children are involved in an after-school program at Hall Fletcher Elementary School. They meet after school every afternoon for three hours and are some of the 60-plus members of the MusicWorks program in Asheville.

"My first performance, I was actually a little nervous. But then once I got use to it, I didn't get nervous. I just thought everyone else was invisible," fourth-grader Alexe said.

Dr. Dave Wilken, Laura Blackley and music teacher Ms. Vaughn use music to teach children music and life skills. They learn to be responsible, confident,committed and creative. And about not being too hard on themselves.

"He always says if you mess up during a performance just pretend that you're suppose to be doing it or just pretend in didn't even happen," third-grader Sierra said.

"The model that we're following, El Sistema, is very much based on the idea of a mentorship experience for the children. So, as our students get older and they've been in the program a while, they become the big brothers or the big sisters," Wilken, the MusicWorks director, said.

This is the fourth year for the MusicWorks program. The students also get help with their homework, a snack and recess. The program is funded through the Leever Foundation.

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