Music program inspires Jacksonville kids to succeed

By: Erica Bennett

Updated:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - They’re prodigies in the making.

From learning to take care of their instrument to playing full songs, 3 to 6-year-olds at All About Kids VPK Music Academy on Pearl Street are getting a one-of-a-kind experience.

Richard Cuff, executive director of League of Florida Orchestras, started “Guiding Success” several years ago with his daughter in mind.

“That search of trying to find the right instrument and find the right teacher, and also my daughter’s inspiration to want to give a violin to all the kids in her preschool class, behind the idea behind this program,” he explained.

Every week, Cuff and Andy Bruck, a volunteer from The Jacksonville Symphony do their lesson. Most of the kids hit the ground running.

“The involvement with music, and especially actually physically playing the instrument, can greatly enhance the development of language,” Bruck said.

The violins are helping in more ways than one. The surrounding community has seen its fair share of crime, so reaching the kids that young inspires them to stay on the straight and narrow.

“Musicians are home practicing. They have far too much to do with their time, as far as perfecting their craft, to get into trouble,” Cuff said.

The lessons aren’t cheap. It costs between $450 and $600 a month for each child. Thanks to donors, parents are only responsible for about $20 a week. It’s an investment Cuff calls priceless.

“You can tell it’s having an immediate impact," he said.

If you want to financially support the program, you can sign up to become a Guiding Angel at guidingsuccess.org.

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