WEST PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Young musicians are learning about talents they never knew they had thanks to a free music program called, "Beyond the Bars."
It started when a gifted teacher, Matthew Kerr, took his love for music to correctional facilities and prisons to provide programming for their youth populations. Four and a half years later, Beyond the Bars is doing much beyond that.
Now, there are six free programs across the entire city of Philadelphia held for various age groups that may have felt voiceless in the past, whether due to a lack of programming or being exposed to violence. No matter their levels of experience, these musicians are learning new skills and techniques beyond what they thought imaginable. They even have opportunities to perform concerts for local audiences.
Kerr believes that such programming can provide a purpose that steers youth away from violence or emotional stress. When stepping into the vibrant classroom draped with lights and musical equipment, it's hard to resist singing or strumming your cares away!