Kids Doing Good Stuff: Music is magic

Isabelle Zheng is a talented flute player at Catlin Gabel High School. (KATU Photo)

A young high school student started a free after-school group teaching violin to dozens of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in Portland.

Isabelle Zheng, a junior at Catlin Gabel High School, is a talented flute player. She was recently honored by Prudential Insurance at the end-of-year assembly.

Isabelle is a modest girl who, though an expert flautist, is not comfortable blowing her own horn. So many of her classmates – until the presentation – were not aware that Isabelle had, with a friend, Cami Lee, organized a program to teach children to play the violin.

“They weren’t able to afford music lessons outside of school or instruments or that kind of thing,” said Isabelle. “We saw an opportunity to really help these kids by creating our own program and going into schools.”

Isabelle and other instructors split the classes into groups of four or five kids to better give individual attention. Finding room was a challenge.

“It’s a pretty small classroom so we used the hallway sometimes,” Isabelle said.

And in the doing, Isabelle learned something too.

“I look forward to spending time with them every week,” she said. “So I guess it’s that personal connection that impacted me in the end.”

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