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Silver Award Girl Scout, Olivia Neely

Silver Award Girl Scout, Olivia Neely

Musical Wall for Kids

Olivia plays the clarinet and tenor saxophone in her school's symphonic band and has witnessed first-hand the positive effects music can have on a person. “I could be in a room with a bunch of people from different countries and nationalities with my instrument and play. They would understand my music better than if I just said ‘hi’.” Olivia observed that her school was lacking in musical education and access to musical experiences for students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Knowing the impact music can have in a person’s life, Olivia set out to change that at her school.

With the help of more than a dozen volunteers and multiple community organizations, Olivia constructed an outdoor musical wall using uncommon items to create instruments including cymbals and even a xylophone out of PVC pipes. To measure the impact of her project, Olivia gave presentations to the teachers at her school on the purpose of the musical wall and asked them to collect specific data on the number of kids using the wall, how long they interacted with it, and then observations the teachers made on the student’s tendency towards musicality after interacting with the wall.

One obstacle that Olivia faced was how roughly the kids interacted with the music wall. To overcome this, she created an instructional video demonstrating how to use the wall, which teachers shared with their students. One of the teachers informed Olivia that a student with autism was benefiting greatly from her music wall project. “That made me feel so warm inside because that is the main reason I built this structure; to help people in my community, in a different way, through music.”