Weekly music lessons provide dose of normalcy for Bridgeport students

An organization in Bridgeport is helping students turn into musicians.
Representatives of Bridgeport-based nonprofit KEYS Music say the joy of music can completely change a child's life, and they weren't going to let the pandemic keep that from happening.
KEYS has been offering free one-on-one music lessons to students in Bridgeport Public Schools. Within days of the shutdown in the spring, it brought the lessons online.
Founder Rob Silvan says music has always been a positive force in his students' lives but adds the weekly dose of normalcy is more important than ever.
"The sound of my son playing the piano is the sound of hope," he said. "It's the sound that things are going OK in the world, that somehow things are staying normal. So that's what a lot of these families get to experience."
KEYS Music got its start at Columbus School back in 1993 when Silvan started teaching Columbus students piano. The program grew from there.
"Here was a very little music program and basically no opportunity for kids to get one-on-one lessons," he said. "We added schools, we added students, we added teachers, now we have a faculty of over 30."
KEYS has been bringing one-on-one music lessons to underserved kids for 17 years.
Instructor Dave Crespo says virtual lessons started up just days after the lockdown began in spring.
"Now that we're teaching kids at home, we've gotten to know the families much better," he said.
KEYS' winter concert is available online. Crespo says it's the start of a passion that will last the rest of these students' lives.
"Now that they play, they know that they can control that one little aspect of their life. That they can put notes together. They can make music that somebody will actually listen to."