Practice Buddy Program

Mentor. Motivate. Make a difference.

The Practice Buddy Program is partnership between Pathways and the Eastman School of Music. Eastman college students volunteer their time to mentor, encourage and coach Pathways students in their playing and practicing.

Click the appropriate button below for more information!

For Eastman Students

What is the Practice Buddy Program?

An Eastman student, like yourself, volunteers to mentor and practice with a Pathways student. Pathways students attend an Rochester City school, and have auditioned to receive private lessons at the Community Music School on full or partial scholarship. (Often, these students would not otherwise be able to afford lessons.)
You receive the chance to mentor and encourage a dedicated young musician who has worked very hard for the opportunity to take lessons!

What does it mean to be a "Practice Buddy?"

Below is a checklist of your responsibilities as a Practice Buddy:

  • Observe one lesson with the student and his or her studio teacher.

At this lesson, you can watch how the teacher works with the student, and ask the teacher what to work on with the student in your practice sessions.

  • Meet with your student a minimum of 4 times per semester to guide his or her practicing.

These sessions are flexible, and can be scheduled with the student at your convenience. You may decide to meet more than 4 times. You could  meet twice a month, for example; or once a month for a longer session, and have two shorter sessions the next month.

Tips for running your practice sessions: You are not the students primary teacher. To avoid confusion, focus on the music rather than the student’s technique.  You can help the student with scales, rudiments, memorization, learning notes, dynamics  and anything else the student’s studio teacher asks you to help with. You can act as a role model and demonstrate proper technique, phrasing, dynamics, etc. You can also play duets with your student, or sightread together. Direct any questions to the student’s primary teacher. 

  • Optional: Invite the student to do things with you outside of practice sessions.

You may invite the student to your ESM orchestra concerts or recitals; a senior may want to shadow you during classes, lessons or ensembles. You could grab post/pre-concert Java’s with your student…. Think about fun and things to do around the Eastman Campus! (NOTE: You may never take your Buddy off the ESM campus or drive together in a car at anytime.)

  • Report to the Pathways Coordinator, Hannah Harrow, once per semester.

At the end of each semester, use forms to report about your students progress. There will also be space to mention any other special activities you organized for your student. Though we only require you to fill out one form per semester, you are welcome to contact Hannah at anytime during the semester. 

Perks for Your Resume

Remember that the Pathways Practice Buddy program can help your resume. We offer you not only teaching experience, but also potential experience working with underrepresented minority students from an urban background.

We will help you in anyway we can and are so thankful for the time you took to invest in our students. You are welcome write Hannah Harrow ( for a recommendation letter at any time!

Practice Buddy Application

Below is a step-by-step outline of the application process!

**Important Note: We cannot 100% guarantee our ability to place you with a Pathways student, since Practice Buddies is an optional program. Some students, for example, may not have time to sign up. If there is no student currently registered for the program who plays your instrument, we will work to recruit one. If no student becomes available, we will keep information on file for future semesters and other mentoring opportunities that will arise throughout the year.

  1. Fill out the online Practice Buddy Application Form: Click Here
    (This will take you no more than 5 minutes!)
  2. Complete the Background Check Process:
    1. Your name and email will be sent to the Compliance office, and Kevin Wilson or another Compliance Officer will contact you with instructions to complete the background check. This is all completed electronically.
    2. You must complete your background check steps within 5 days of receiving the email.
  3. Check your email for contact information for your assigned Practice Buddy and his or her studio teacher. (This will be sent when your Background Check is complete.)
  4. Contact the student and studio teacher. Introduce yourself, and organize a time to observe a lesson. You must do this BEFORE meeting privately with your student.
  5. Plan dates and times for sessions with your Practice Buddy! Please include parents on all planning.
  6. Keep checking your email for info about special Practice Buddy events, or reminders about your semester-end evaluation forms.
  7. Have fun!

For Pathways Students

If you are a current Pathways Student and would like to request a Practice Buddy, please click the button below!