Kira Levitzky finds unique ways to teach music to her students on a shoestring budget

Posted at 10:55 AM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 18:56:32-05

Music teacher Kira Levitzky of the Baltimore International Academy is the perfect example of how to think outside the box.

Her budget at the BIA is practically non-existent. She gets most of her supplies through parents, GoFundMe donations or she buys them herself.

Recently, she bought more than a dozen buckets from Home Depot and some drum sticks for her middle school students.

"It broke my heart when they didn't have the same kind of stuff I had in school," she said. "It made me want to reach out and say, okay, I'm going to take this little extra bit of my salary and that's going to be my budget."

Levitzky teaches music to students in grades kindergarten through eighth. Each child is immersed in one of five languages offered at the school, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and French. Levitzky only teaches in English and she sees music as the sixth language.

"These kids are really, really smart and I find the language actually helps them," she said. "Because when I put something to music I say, 'This is just another language that you're learning,' and they say 'Oh, ok."

She is perfectly fine with playing the student and letting her kids be the teachers.

"I'll say to the older kids, 'I've never played this game before, can you help me learn this so I make sure I don't mess up with the little kids?"

"When they take on that role as a teacher, it helps them take charge of it and become leaders in the classroom."

"She understands our kids, she enjoys our kids and they enjoy her," said John Enkiri, the principal at the BIA. "She uses different themes from different countries and brings it into her music lessons."

Levitzky pictured her first job as a band or orchestra teacher, not a general music educator. In the four years she's been at the BIA, she says she couldn't imagine doing anything else.

"I'm not leaving these kids. They're beautiful, they're wonderful children. They are some of the best children in Baltimore City, I know that for a fact." 

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