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May Music Student of the Month

RinazCongratulations to Rinaz Jamal, SpreadMusicNow's Music Student of the Month for May! Rinaz was nominated by Laurie Bradbury, the Assistant Executive Director of Kids Empowered By Your Support (KEYS), after Rinaz submitted a piece to the 2017 Connecticut Great Teachers Essay Contest, "My teacher has inspired me...".

Praise from Laurie Bradbury

Rinaz Jamal is a KEYS student who plays violin and piano and sings, and she performs with KEYS Orchestra and KEYS Chorus in concert. She's a 4th grade student with a lot of talent in music and in school!

Letters from Rinaz's Parents

Dear Daughter,

You make me proud, not when you win trophies for Math tournaments or Spelling Bee championships, not when you get the honor to play violin in the orchestra at Carnegie Hall or play piano at Fairfield University, and not when you get perfect attendance in school for almost three years in a row, but when you come to me with tears in your eyes because you are scared that some of your friends' parents might get deported, or when you spend a sleepless night worrying about the child whose Amber Alert you've seen on my phone, or when you ask me with moist eyes if there's anything that we can do for the homeless man we see out there in the cold and most of all when you keep on encouraging me to volunteer every day, as you've for the last five years with the other less privileged kids because you are afraid that if I don't, then I'd lose the "substance of my character". You make me proud when you inspire me with the purity of your heart and the strength of your soul.

I love you.


Dear Rinaz,

Thank you for teaching me and those around you that people should not limit their challenges, they should challenge their limits. You are my pride and my happiness... and I am blessed to have you!

With love,


Rinaz's 2017 Connecticut Great Teachers Essay: Thanks, Ms. Jane

Ms. Jane and RinazI thought I had everything, because I didn't know what I was missing. However, there was more to life than being just an ordinary third grader. Then one day I got a chance to apply for a scholarship for piano lessons provided by the KEYS foundation. The week after, I found myself sitting across someone who I didn't know would change my life.

Ms. Jane started giving me one-on-one piano lessons twice a week. Slowly, I started looking forward to those Tuesdays and Thursdays when music would fill my heart and I would feel like I could have a lesson with her forever.

Her passion for music made me passionate about music, too. She inspired me to practice new songs over and over again. Soon she started making all her students play in front of a small audience. For the first few times, I was very shy, but she would still give me big hugs even when I thought I embarrassed her on stage by not playing too well. Slowly I started getting excited at the thought of making her proud in front of a big audience. Last month, when I won the gold certificate at the Young Musicians Festival at the University of Fairfield, I saw her eyes gleam with pride.

In 2015, when she taught me how to read music, my mind started understanding mathematical concepts of patterns and measurements. By the end of that school year, I stunned everybody, including myself, by winning the district-wide Math Tournament championship.

Every Thursday, when we go to her lessons after school, she always makes sure that we aren’t hungry, as she brings cookies and chips for us. She makes the afterschool program fun and easy. We practice, we learn and we all become one big family.

She keeps on encouraging us to be persistent and prepared. Tomorrow I have a big concert with Ms. Jane, at the Klein Auditorium, and I’m already imagining both of us bowing to the cheering audience and me whispering in her ear "Thanks, Ms. Jane!"

Comments (2)

  1. Mitali:
    May 11, 2017 at 09:55 AM

    I cannot express the gratitude that we feel for the KEYS Music Foundation who are changing countless lives everyday by providing top of the line music to the kids living in this very tough city of Bridgeport.

  2. Mrs Ciccarelli:
    May 12, 2017 at 08:09 AM

    Congratulations to a very deserving young lady who demonstrates what it means to be a good person!!!! A person that is kind, a person that is committed to her passions, a person that loves to learn, a person that is a great friend, and a person who appreciates all the good in the world! It is a privilege to have Rinaz as a student!

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