The Power of Music Leads to a Successful Outcome

Teaching Artist Carlos Urtubey and Volunteer Mentor Sara Coggins

Building connections through music is one of the most impactful ways to leave a mark in someone’s life. Recently, in our Professional Artist Series, teaching artist Carlos Urtubey and new volunteer mentor Sara Coggins, taught six (1 hour) sessions to Southwest Key – Long Term Foster Care Program.

Participants walked in knowing little or nothing about guitar musicianship and by the end of the series they were ready to play an entire Spanish folk song. In fact, the whole series was led in Spanish as it is the primary language of the group.

Urtubey’s first language is Spanish. As a bilingual he navigated and taught with ease through cultural understanding. Coggins is not fluent in the language, but focused on building connections with body language, facial expressions, and modeling.

Under the guidance of Urtubey and Coggins, the group achieved self-efficacy through music.

“This [the PAS] definitely helped build their confidence – knowing next to nothing about guitar to playing an entire song; they grew more lively and engaging. Also teaching a few some English and them teaching me Spanish meant a lot to them, and I believe helped them to feel more comfortable and knowledgeable,” said Coggins.

Our PAS series is about taking the first step to promote positive change to those involved. Urtubey not only taught the students, but also helped Coggins navigate through her first Free Arts program.

Coggins passionately jumped in to assist Urtubey by tuning guitars and having one-on-one interactions with the participants to apply intentional learning.

Urtubey took extra time after the third session to teach a student how to play a song from a beginner guitar book. As he taught them, other teens gathered around to watch and learn.

By the end of the series, the participants were smiling, laughing, and talking after playing an entire folk song for the first time.

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