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Fellowship of Faith member reaches community with piano lessonscomment (0)

November 10, 2011

By Anna Keller

Morris Lyle is a government engineer with no musical background. However, the member of The Fellowship of Faith Church, Huntsville, was inspired to start a music school last year after reading an article titled “Save the Music” about the benefits of music education for children.

“The article talked about how learning music trains kids’ minds and exercises a part of the brain that might not be used in other ways,” Lyle said. “With the school, I pretty much implemented what the article proposed as a way of improving kids’ learning.”

According to Pastor Troy Garner, through the school, Lyle has helped meet a real ministry need in the community.
“Mr. Lyle is a perfect example of a person who has embraced the vision of the church,” Garner said. “A part of our vision is that we want all members involved in ministry, and he’d heard me say, ‘If we don’t have a ministry that you want, let us know and we can start it.’ That’s exactly what Mr. Lyle did.”

Right now, the school — which currently has six students ranging from kindergarten through seventh grade — only offers piano lessons. But Lyle said he is open to expansion if there is enough interest in an additional instrument. Students meet on Wednesday evenings at the Madison Baptist Association church and take lessons from an instructor Lyle recruited from a local music company.

The school offers opportunities for students when resources might otherwise keep them from participating in lessons. Keyboards are lent to students to use at home and scholarships are offered.

“If we know the student has a keen interest in music and will be committed and dedicated to it, we are willing to support them in the entire process,” Garner said. “We have several students who probably would not be involved in the program if we did not offer these scholarships, and we are happy to help them develop their skills.”

One such student is 10-year-old Josiah Drake, who, according to his mother, Andrea, “loves” taking lessons and “is always smiling and happy after his lessons.”
“It was great for me, because I wanted him to stay in music but couldn’t afford it,” Andrea Drake, a Fellowship of Faith member, said of the scholarship.

The school held its first recital in July, and the second is planned for December.

“At the first recital, the parents were all excited to see how the students had performed and progressed,” Lyle said, noting he got a lot of positive feedback.

Though the school started small — with just three students — Lyle has not been discouraged by the numbers. In his view, if the school can grow by adding even three committed students each year, then that will be a positive accomplishment.

Garner said the school has turned out to be a strong and unexpected outreach to nonmembers of their church — both adults and children — as well.

“It offers a nonconventional ministry to our kids and to the community,” he said. “We offer the music school before Bible study on Wednesday nights, and oftentimes parents will bring their kids to the music school and they’ll stay for Bible study. It’s awesome! God is definitely in this music school.”

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