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Music In Our Schools Month® is an annual celebration during March which engages music educators, students, and communities from around the country in promoting the benefits of high quality music education programs in schools.This year WXXI Classical 91.5 is joining the celebration with a variety of on-air and online content. Classical 91.5 is partnering with the Rochester Education Foundation to collect musical instruments and supplies to provide used musical instruments for Rochester city students, increase city students' musical performance opportunities, support the purchase of musical instruments for in-school use, and provide summer music lessons for students. The program also provides new musical instruments to enable college-bound students to be successful. If you don't have an instrument to donate, you can support REF's work to send RCSD students to summer music camps. Find out more.Take in a musical or concert at one of the schools in our region. Share a story, tribute or memory of a music teacher that makes a difference.Learn more about MIOSM.

Chocolate Fixes Everything

Stephanie, age 4

I love my mom.  But we fight.  I am just like her: stubborn. 

My mother signed me up for violin lessons at age four.  The majority of days following that fateful event, she told me to practice, made me practice, and grounded me for not practicing. The thing was though; one can practice for numerous hours in a day, but the next it has to be done all over again.  There was never a point where my practicing was enough or finished. 

I began resisting when I hit fifth grade.  When I hit eighth grade I began talking back and somewhere in my sophomore year of high school, I began to fight back.  Violin had put a huge tear in the relationship between my mother and me, sometimes going days without speaking.

Her pushing deceived me into thinking that I was not good enough; that she did not believe I had the skills to succeed by myself.  And even though she was aware our relationship was suffering, she still insisted on her way.  Something we have in common.

The only ever redeeming thing about violin was the chocolate.  On the way home after each concert, audition, recital, or performance, we would roll up to the Wendy’s “drive thru” and order two chocolate Frostys.  Pulling into a parking space, Mom would turn the car off. 

Beginning in silence, the slow but steady stream of apologies would start.  After weeks or even months’ worth of overdue sorrys, the conversation would open up.   We’d then talk about dreams and aspirations, our hopes for each other, and what the other meant to us.  We discussed things that hurt, things that healed, and things that made us laugh.  Sometimes we would stay in that parking lot for an hour just talking.  Other times pretending to be in a hurry, we would rush home only to sit parked in the driveway, spoon in hand.  Ending with an embrace and maybe some tears, life would hit the ‘refresh’ button.

The healing that took place in those precious moments was what began to bridge the gap in our relationship.  Now that I am 412 miles away from home, that is what I miss most.  Looking back, I can now see the reason my mother pushed was not because of who I was not, but because of who she already knew I was.  Having perspective that I lacked, she saw something that I could not see in myself. 

Receiving a schedule after auditioning for the orchestra here at college, it says our first concert is in November.  When I call home to let Mom know, I can hear the reluctance and disappointment in her voice as she tells me she won’t be able to make it.  It will be the first performance in my life that my mother has not attended. 

I am amazed at how much I miss my mom.  Checking the mail the other day, I had received a package.  Inside was a jar filled with Hershey’s kisses and a note.  The note reads, “If you eat one kiss per day, by the time you get to the bottom you will be on your way home.  Love you always, Mom”.  I find that whether it’s mending broken relationships or just a little homesickness, chocolate fixes everything.

Same smile, just with a larger violin

I wrote this piece during my first semester of college.  Little did I know, a month later I would be auditioning for the music department, and four years later I would be graduating with my Bachelor of Arts in Music.  Thanks, Mom.