By Jennie Wang, SNTutoring Youth Volunteer
Hello! I’m Jennie Wang, and I have been volunteering for FCSN for 1.5 years. I am currently a part of the FCSN SNTutoringProgram, which provides 1:1 flexible subject virtual tutoring, and I would love to share my story with the FCSN community!
Last June, just a few days before my 15th birthday, my phone lit up with an email notification. “FCSN Volunteer Opportunity Response,” it read. “One student wants to learn violin.” This program would eventually flower into FCSN’s SNTutoring Program. I felt intimidated and a little scared; I had volunteered for several other FCSN programs in the past, including the East Bay After School program, but becoming a music tutor was entirely new to me. Music has always meant a great deal to me, and even though I have been involved with music for nearly my whole life, I wasn’t sure if I was even qualified to teach someone how to play violin. Would I do a good job? Would I fail? There were so many doubts running in my head, but my passion for helping the special needs community, a community I cherish and love so deeply, eventually got the best of me. After I typed my confirmation to the email, a small banner appeared at the bottom of my phone. “Email sent,” it read.
On the days leading up our first lesson, I practically dug up my garage while trying to hunt for my old violin books that were easy for beginning students to grasp. I was so excited to meet my student, but I was also extremely nervous. However, as soon as I was able to meet him, my anxieties melted away. My student and I met together over Zoom every week, beginning our sessions with two-octave major scales and arpeggios before transitioning into beginner-friendly pieces from Suzuki Violin Volumes. Every week, I was able to learn something new about him and adapt my curriculum to suit his needs, taking note of the technical violin skills that he wasn’t yet able to fully perform and supporting him throughout the process.
Flexibility, as the nature of the program suggests, is no doubt an important skill for an FCSN tutor to have. When we ran into internet problems, our lessons shifted to FaceTime instead of Zoom. When there were certain warm-ups my student had trouble with, we worked on those for the entire lesson instead of moving onto the pieces. Weeks dropped by like leaves from a blown tree, and eventually, the months did, too. Although I have helped my student improve at violin, he has rekindled my love for music and taught me the importance of patience and flexibility. Tutoring for FCSN has greatly contributed to my personal growth and, as a result, I am beyond ecstatic to meet my student again every week. Furthermore, the program coordinators at FCSN are so supportive and kind, and they have always answered my questions and comments very politely.
It is my firm belief that taking the step to become a SNTutoring tutor for FCSN has been one of the best decisions of my life. Teaching violin to another person has sharpened my own musicality in my playing and helped me become a better musician, but it is also magical to see your student grow and develop alongside you. Because of my student, I was able to fall in love with music and teaching. I am truly grateful that I was given this opportunity to share my music with someone else, and I will continue to work my hardest to give back to FCSN and my student for this amazing experience.