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Nearly three decades of bringing music to the generations of Memphis

Donna Metler is teaching multigenerational music lessons in Bartlett.

BARTLETT, Tenn. — Donna Metler has been teaching music since 1996, and over the last few years she’s started teaching multi-generational lessons at the Singleton Community Center.

“Honestly, I like being able to do a little bit of everything, and here I can teach preschoolers in the morning and then teach adults at night,” Metler said.

Students said she’s been their key to relieving stress through music.

“Sometimes outside of music it can just be very stressful and chaotic, and I feel like you can let some of that go when you’re playing an instrument,” Rene McSwain said.

“It started out as like a music credit that I need for school, and it’s become a much more enjoyable thing like coming in and relaxing and just playing some music,” Luke Kumpe said.

She also helps push students out of their comfort zones and toward the creativity they need to try new instruments. One of her students had never picked up an accordion - and neither had Donna, but they’re learning together.

Credit: Meka Wilson
Credit: Meka Wilson

“It’s a very exotic instrument I would say,” Cristopher McSwain said.

Along with younger students, Donna also specializes in helping adults with mind and muscle connection following a stroke, or those living with arthritis who want to play an instrument like the flute.

Credit: Meka Wilson

“But I discovered as an adult playing them, is that because they’re made of plastic, because they’re lighter weight and because they’re designed for a smaller reach, they’re also a lot easier for older hands who are starting to develop a bit of arthritis to work with. So I realized this is the perfect instrument for multigenerational work,” Metler said.

Credit: Meka Wilson
Credit: Meka Wilson
Credit: Meka Wilson

Right now, she has students from 3-years-old to their upper 50s and will be accepting new students in the spring. For information on lessons, click here.

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