Blog | May 15

On Resilience: GRIT

At the onset of campus closures, GRIT faculty and students found a way to continue making music.

What is Project GRIT?

G-R-I-T is an acronym for Growth, Resilience, Instinct, Tenacity. 

Serving a Salt Lake City Title 1 school - operating at Mountain View Elementary - Project GRIT is the outreach program of Gifted Music School that offers free rigorous music instruction of the highest caliber to all kindergarten and 1st grade students during the school day and eight hours of weekly after school instruction to students of all ages in the form of group classes.

This past year, Zeke Sokoloff, a Gifted Music School Conservatory student, donated an abundance of instruments to Project GRIT. A day before the physical doors of campuses in the Salt Lake City school district closed temporarily two months ago, GRIT closed their doors, but fortunately since Zeke’s donation offered every student access to an instrument,  each child could temporarily take an instrument home, ideally enabling the continuation of their practicing and online music education during the school closure! Some faculty members personally delivered violins to students who were unable to get them from school before in-person classes were suspended.

Miss Rachel Taft teaches over twenty lessons every week using the online Google classroom, though that number fluctuates. Originally, she attempted to teach the group class virtually, but ran into complications with lag time. Instead, she is graciously offering private lessons to students who are interested in continuing to take lessons from a distance. In addition to the private lessons Rachel teaches, the other faculty members are recording lessons and uploading them to Google Classroom for students to view at any time. These video lessons also have worksheets and assignments to go along with them.

“We want to reach as many students as possible,” Rachel said, though she noted it is not an easy feat.

Due to any number of circumstantial upsets to online learning for this demographic of students, not all the students have been reached, and though that is a disappointment for her, Rachel mentioned that there are some students who are extremely committed and never miss a lesson. She rejoices in the fact that they have some amount of joy in their life because of the music they can continue making, despite difficulties. “It’s been rewarding to be able to give students more one-on-one attention [and] … to see kids that are hungry for it; they are practicing. To be able to have their parents involved in their music education is really encouraging.”

In closing, Rachel said, “I miss having them in a group setting!” When all is said and done with long-distance learning, she will be happy to go back to the classroom and make music with them, all in the same room.


Rachel Taft teaching remote lessons


Zeke Sokoloff, delivering violins months ago


GRIT students, in the classroom