Roberto Sanchez

  • Program: Charter Oak Cultural Center
  • School: Bulkeley High School
  • Location: Hartford, Connecticut
  • Instrument: Rapoetry, Spoken Word

Sure, there’s violin and guitar and piano. But what about “Rapoetry?”

As a 19 year-old college student, Roberto Sanchez, a.k.a. “laugh,” can attest that his experience with Rapoetry – and music education in general – has been life-changing.

Through the support of SpreadMusicNow and the mentorship of hip-hop artist Khaiim Kelly at Charter Oak Cultural center in Hartford, Connecticut, Roberto learned the basics of hip-hop, rap, poetry, music production, rhythm, and beats.

“When I was 13 I had no career goals and was undirected. Khaiim was a father figure and helped me to find my drive. Charter Oak Cultural Center gave me a place to sit down with other kids/artists where we could discuss issues and share our art. We created an environment where we felt safe and we grow as people.”

“The exercises that Khaiim gave me to do in high school kept me busy, while all my other classmates were getting into trouble,” he says. “Rapoetry taught me how to be patient and interact with people besides talking."

Roberto is proof that music education can put a student on the path to academic and life success: “I wasn’t always articulate in formal speech. My performances gave me an outlet where I felt that individuals were actually listening to what I was saying.”

“After six years of studying with Khaiim, at 19 years old I am now an assistant teacher for Charter Oak. I would like to continue my career performing, teaching, and writing poetry books to inspire my community. I am now in college studying theater. I am finding ways to combine my words with both movement and music. Charter Oak and Khaiim gave me a direction in life.”