Kids in a New Groove

Kids in a New Groove draws inspiration from the practice of music therapy, which provides avenues for communication, through musical involvement, that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. A study completed by Northwestern University found that music is an effective strategy for helping to close the achievement gap, stating, "[Music is] an ongoing part of children's education, making music can have a profound and lifelong impact on listening and learning." (Klein, 2014)

As a Music Mentor, remember to:

  • Model Behavior - what you do is just as important as what you say
  • Encourage - help your student build self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Focus on Positive - approach challenges from a place of optimism and possibility

The most important part of your music lessons with your student is the time you spend together. It's about the relationship - music is simply the vehicle to establish one. It is possible not a note of music will be played or sung some weeks. Other times, you might have sessions of musical growth and achievement. 

Building a Relationship:

It's important to remember that you are working on building a relationship with your student. At the start of getting to know your student, your relationship might be one-directional, and you might experience some frustrations, but keep in mind that you are making an impact in your student's life even if you might not know or understand what that is. 

It takes time to establish a relationship. You and your student will each have your own set of expectations, hopes, and experiences. We want to ensure you start off building that trusting relationship, with the right tools by considering the following: 

  • being reliable, consistent, patient, and persistent with your student
  • having fun together and creating shared memories
  • listening to cultivate understanding 
  • having mutual respect for each other

One of the best ways to build trust is to help students accomplish something that is important to them. As their music mentor, you must take the time to help your student identify the goal(s) they want to accomplish, view it realistically, break it down into small steps, and explore ways of reaching the goal. 

Still have questions about what mentoring looks like? Email

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about becoming a music mentor

Mentoring is a structured and trusting relationship with a shared opportunity for learning and growth. An effective music mentor understands their role, as a teacher, guide, motivator is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of their student.

The mentoring through music program provides Central Texas youth who have had experience with the child welfare system with a committed one-on-one mentoring relationship through free weekly private music lessons, giving students the ability to transform their lives through connection and support.

Kids in a New Groove has become a conduit of creativity for Central Texas youth, holding firm to the belief that creative expression is a channel for personal empowerment. The mentorship component of the program solidifies students' confidence and personal drive by equipping them with the skills they need to grow and prosper as individuals within our society.

Mentors are all required to comply with DFPS (Department of Family Protective Services) licensing standards. Mentors must be over 21, and be able to clear a background check. There is also an interview and a training that needs to be completed prior to being matched with a student, to ensure they are a good fit for the program.  

Kids in a New Groove program provides free, in-home and virtual music lessons to Central Texas youth, ages 5 and up, affiliated with the child welfare system. 

Kids in a New Groove provides in-depth, upfront trainings for all mentors to cover the foundations and important programmatic information. Additionally, all mentors are provided with wraparound support services including the opportunity for 1:1 check-ins, phone calls, meetings, and community support through connections with other mentors. 

A music mentor should have a plan for each lesson with their students, while understanding that things might not always go as planned. It's good to have structure while also allowing for flexibility depending on your student's mood. A suggested lesson structure is as follows:

  • Intro/Chat (5-10mins)
  • Warm-ups (5-10mins)
  • Song or lesson focus (10-15mins)
  • Wrap-up/Expectations for next lesson (5-10mins)

"Working with Conner has been a life changing experience. The connection created through musical mentorship is both humbling and spiritually rewarding. I'm thankful to KING for the opportunity to make a positive impact in Conner's life as he, in turn, has made a positive impact on mine."

— KING mentor on working with his student