A current ninth-grader at Cornerstone High School active in basketball, soccer, and band, Tymeera Snow has been with the Mason Music Foundation’s efforts to bring affordable music lessons to Woodlawn since their inception. She began taking weekly piano lessons through the Foundation’s pilot program at Cornerstone School in 2015, becoming one of 56 students in music lessons through the program within three months of the Foundation’s launch.
This early success encouraged the Foundation to expand its presence in the community, partnering with local entities like the Woodlawn Foundation to reach new students and secure multiple lesson facilities. Tymeera moved with the Foundation through these early times, recalling positive experiences from piano and ukulele lessons taught by Chadwick McDowell at the Foundation’s Third Avenue South location.
“When I was with Chadwick, I would go in and the lady at the front desk was so nice, so we would talk a little bit,” Tymeera said. “Then we’d go back [to our lesson room] and catch up, say how our day was and stuff like that, then we’d have a lesson.”
Tymeera is now taking socially distant one-hour lessons with her teacher Tyra Shelley in the Foundation’s current space at Desert Island Supply Company, safely continuing her piano studies and trying new musical outlets in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With my new teacher, we’ll catch up, and because of the pandemic, we’re spread out,” Tymeera said. “First, we warm up, and then she asks if I want to do piano or I want to do voice.”
Tymeera starts the voice portion of each lesson by building a strong vocal foundation with warmups and breath support exercises (such as blowing bubbles in a cup) before working to expand her vocal range by practicing Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted.”
“[Billie Eilish] has a lot of high notes, and my music teacher wants me to reach those high notes,” Tymeera said. “It’s hard to reach some of those notes, but she says I got it.”
When her lessons transition from voice to piano, Tymeera warms up with scales and continues her work on “Linus and Lucy,” Vince Guaraldi’s enduring Peanuts theme, and “He’s a Pirate,” from Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean score. According to Tymeera, her piano lessons at the Foundation have also helped her in her school’s band room as a growing percussionist.
“I also play the xylophone, so learning the piano at Mason Music helped with the xylophone too, since it’s basically the same thing, but portable,” Tymeera said.
Tymeera’s musical tastes include praise and worship, soul, and R&B from across the decades, including Sam Cooke, Bill Withers, Prince, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson.
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