When in-person learning came to a sudden halt, GTCYS clarinetist Timmy Tu rose to the occasion. In May, Timmy co-founded ELLoquently, an organization that helps kids from around the world learn English. ELLoquently pairs English Language Learners (ELLs) with high school and college tutors, who in turn are supported by long-time educators. Through weekly meetings and continued conversations, students improve their English abilities and develop deep relationships with their mentors. Timmy grew up reading books and volunteered at the St. Paul Public Library to read to younger children. This experience sparked Timmy’s interest to create a tutoring program for students. Because reading to children in-person is not an option right now, he “wanted to keep that opportunity open. But we also realized that reading is not the only thing people need help with. That’s why we launched ELLoquently.”
Timmy learned the importance of focus and detail management in GTCYS, which he is now applying to ELLoquently. “In GTCYS, especially when practicing at home, there might be a short excerpt that’s really difficult. I have to work at it every day and spend 30 or 40 minutes on that small part. With ELLoquently, it’s similar because there’s a lot of small details that might seem mundane but are really important to make it successful.” Timmy also says you have to “stay patient with yourself even if you keep on messing up over and over again. You have to understand that you need to slow down and focus on smaller aspects to achieve your goal.”
Now entering his fifth year in GTCYS and first year in Symphony, Timmy is excited to dive headfirst into the music. “I’m really looking forward to working with Maestro Smith. Even being in the younger orchestras and watching Symphony in Orchestra Hall it was amazing to see him be so into the music and conduct in a way that’s really enthusiastic.” Beyond the music-making, Timmy has made great friends and connected in unique ways with others in his orchestras. “In GTCYS I’ve met new friends who also have similar interests. It’s easy to talk to them about clarinet, which is something I can’t talk to other people about. In GTCYS it’s easy to connect to people like that.”
Whether it’s tutoring students or sharing music on the big stage, Timmy is making an important impact in the community – and the world. “Kids are more interested in learning,” he says proudly. “They actually look forward to the lessons and it’s something that they enjoy. That’s a big difference.”
ELLoquently has over 150 students and almost 100 tutors, but they need more tutors to meet the high demand from students. Timmy says that “a lot of students in GTCYS also have the same work ethic and are interested in helping others. They would be a great fit for tutors.” Check out ELLoquently’s website at elloquently.com if you’re interested in applying to be a tutor.