Donald Lira Lesson Fellowship

Announcing the Donald Lira Music Lesson Fellowship

The Donald Lira Lesson Fellowship offers 12 weeks of lessons to a saxophonist (alto, tenor, bari) or clarinetist (Bb) with demonstrated financial need, enrolled in Wake County Public Schools or Johnston County Public Schools.  The Fellowship provides a 30 minute, weekly private lesson for the selected student who receives free or reduced-price meals from their school district. More information about meal assistance can be found here.  Provided excellent attendence, marked improvement, and engagement in learning, the Fellowship will be renewed in January and conclude in April. During the fall semester of 2020 all instruction will occur via video conference software.

In 1917, my grandfather, Donald Lira, left Mexico with his parents and immigrated to the U.S.A. Growing up in Osage City, Kansas, Donald expected to complete high school and work for the railroad, like his family members, but his high school principal saw his potential and work ethic, and made it possible for him to become the first college graduate in his family. Donald completing his social work degree from Washburn University during the Great Depression. After serving with the Army in India during WWII, he graduated with his Masters degree in social work from Denver University. My grandfather went on to help lead Kansas in replacing the state's industrial schools for children, with adoptive, boarding, and group homes in their communities, and increase the availability of community services to this population. His legacy is one of pursuing enlightenment, and improving the community.

Responsibilities of the Fellow:

  • The student/family will be responsible for a one-time payment of $40 to cover handouts and music, before the first lesson.
  • The student/family maintains responsibility for supplying reeds and maintaining their instrument.
  • The student will keep a practice log, documenting their practice time.
  • The student will be on time to every lesson, and practice at home, at least 5 days per week for 30 minutes.
  • Healthy attitude for learning.

The Fellowship will continue through April provided the Fellow shows improvement, maintains a record of regular attendence, and a positive attitude.

The instructor retains the right to withdraw the Fellowship at any time, in the occurance of poor attendence, the absence of lesson preparation, or continued disrespectful behavior.

The application consists of three parts:

  • The form below, completed by the parent. All applicants must meet the income requirements of Wake County’s Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program.
  • A short essay written by the student explaining why they enjoy playing their instrument, why they wish to take lessons, and how they wish to improve as a musician.
  • A letter of recommendation from their school band director.

Applications must be submitted, including letters of recommendation, by August 28, 2020

Applications will be evaluated by a committee of community members.