Damante, 12, was in the third grade when he decided to try his hand at something new. He joined Strings for Success, a unique violin instruction program open to grades three through eight at Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19.
"I wanted to try something new," says Damante.
But the first time he picked up the violin, he had some hesitations.
"I was scared," Damante admits. "I didn't know what to play."
Instructors, all experienced violinists from the community, put Damante's worries at ease. Through weekly lessons, group rehearsals, concerts and ensemble performances in the community, Damante gained a variety of skills related to music literacy, technique and creative expression through different genres of music.
Today, the music is right at Damante's fingertips.
"I like playing solos," he says.
And as it turns out, the lessons learned went beyond musical instruction.
“Strings for Success helped me understand different things, and it taught me to be brave, focused and to keep trying," he says. "I keep trying until I get it right.”
The program and Damante's persistence and passion have prepared him well for the future. He was accepted by the School of the Arts and will be among the Class of 2021.