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Mill Creek Music Program Partnering with Local Music Shop

Mill Creek Academy and a local music store have partnered to put instruments in scholars’ hands.
Kelly Schmitt, Mill Creek’s music teacher, teamed up with the White House of Music in Waukesha to afford scholars the opportunity to use instruments on loan. Schmitt said students benefit from more than just the instrument they are learning.

Van Treeck and Schmitt.
Becky Van Treeck (left) and Kelly Schmitt (right) have partnered together to loan instruments from White House of Music to scholars at Mill Creek Academy.
“They'll lend them an instrument,” Schmitt said. “They'll give them a book. They'll give them a music stand and the care kit for the instrument as long as they're taking band lessons and part of the school music program. So, it's such a cool program.”
Mill Creek’s school representative from White House of Music is a former colleague of Schmitt, Becky Van Treeck. Van Treeck was integral in helping scholars find what instruments best suited each student and with instrument distribution. Schmitt said Van Treeck’s help was vital to the program’s success.
Fourth- and fifth-grade students benefit from the program, which is a unique age to start learning instruments. Schmitt said most scholars in her community start learning to play instruments in sixth grade.
“This partnership has allowed us to teach music with instruments to scholars at this age,” Schmitt said. “While they’re still growing into the instruments at this age, they aren’t dealing with as many inhibitions as they might be in sixth grade. It’s still a great pliable time to start teaching the instruments and now the kids can grow with them as they go into middle school.”
The scholars are enjoying the program, getting to lessons early, and having a great time learning to play their instruments. Scholars even message Schmitt to share how much they loved their lessons that day and ask about future lessons.

Student with saxophone
A scholar learns to play a saxophone as a part of the partnership that gives scholars at Mill Creek the opportunity to learn to play various instruments.
The partnership goes further than just loaning the instruments. Van Treeck visits the class once per week and helps Schmitt with lessons for instruments where Schmitt is a little rusty. White House of Music is available whenever Schmitt needs help and does instrument repairs, picking up instruments from school so families don’t need to go out of their way for repairs and other equipment needs.
Schmitt said she is grateful for the partnership within her community at one of National Heritage Academies’ newest schools.
“I'd really like to thank the White House of Music Foundation, the store’s founder Roger White, their CEO Chris White, and Becky Van Treeck for supporting our beginning band program,” Schmitt said. “The foundation also donated some instruments for our general music program and the store has been our go-to for most of our General Music supplies. I am hoping to build on this community partnership as our school and music programs continue to grow.”
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About Mill Creek Academy
Mill Creek Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Waukesha, Wisconsin, serving students in all-day 4K through fifth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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