Help a Budding Musician

January 10, 2011 5:45 AM

Alicia Duplessis Jasmin

see the empowers videoWhen Tulane faculty member Paul Colombo learned of a local after-school program that intermingles musical training and scholastic achievement, he sought a way to get Tulane students involved. For the past three semesters Colombo, an associate professor of psychology, has organized a small group of students as volunteer tutors, and he’s currently seeking new tutors for the spring semester.

Tulane Empowers

Roots of Music

In order to perform at parades, Roots of Music students must keep up their grades. Tutoring by Tulane students helps them with academics. (Photo by Lyle Colombo)

The program that captured Colombo’s attention is the nationally acclaimed Roots of Music program, which serves 100 low-income, middle school children in New Orleans. Roots of Music emphasizes instrumental instruction along with the requirement that program participants must maintain a 2.5 GPA. The organization’s marching band performs regularly at events such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Mardi Gras parades.

Roots of Music

Volunteer tutors are needed this semester to be involved with Roots of Music students. (Photo by Mary Mouton)

“We aim to have the tutors develop mentor relationships with the Roots of Music students,” says Colombo, who serves as the Wall Residential College professor-in-residence. ”A lot of these kids come from challenging circumstances, and need good role models. We are looking for consistency from our tutors so that the kids can become comfortable seeing the same faces each week.”

Roots of Music is structured so that students in the program spend half their time with academic tutoring and homework assistance and the remaining half in musical instruction. The program meets Monday through Thursday during the school year from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Louisiana State Museum.

Colombo hopes to attract new Tulane tutors this semester and encourages students at all levels to get involved in this opportunity. Schedules can be arranged to meet the time availability of the Tulane students.

The tutors are transported by van from the Wall Residential College on the uptown campus to the Louisiana State Museum. Tutors meet at 3:15 p.m. and are usually back on campus by 6 p.m.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Paul Colombo.


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