Makayla Reilly is inaugural scholarship recipient


Central Coast Conservatorium of Music student Makayla Reilly, 10, has been awarded the Stella Sheppard Memorial Scholarship to help her enjoy music and instruments, despite the difficulties she encounters due to her low vision.

Through a financial donation from Beth Bolte of 4EverLearning, Central Coast Conservatorium this year created a disability scholarship, the Stella Sheppard Scholarship, which according to Ms Bolte, aims “to provide an opportunity to those like Makayla who thought the enjoyment of music when playing an instrument, and all that it beholds, may elude them”.

As the first recipient of the Stella Sheppard Scholarship, Makayla was given a new trumpet to replace her old hire instrument.

A kind donation from Domayne West Gosford saw Makayla receive a large, tablet-style computer which allows music to be enlarged to an appropriate size.

Special bluetooth foot pedals make page turning simple and for the first time Makayla is able to play longer songs with her friends.

Due to Makayla’s low vision she was unable to see written music unless the notes were enlarged to a massive size.

With only a small number of notes able to fit on each page, songs of any length involved many page turns, making it almost impossible for Makayla to play songs of any length on her trumpet.

“I love playing the trumpet and the new screen makes it much easier to see the notes,” said Makayla.

“I can play better now, and I love entertaining my family with the new songs I’m learning!”

Bolte met with Makayla recently and had this to say: “Witnessing Makayla play tunes on her trumpet demonstrated how successful the scholarship has been for her.”

“She is now enjoying all that playing an instrument can offer,” said Bolte.

Central Coast Conservatorium artistic director Mr Patrick Brennan said he was delighted with how the Stella Sheppard Scholarship was supporting Makayla’s music experience.

“We’re happy that such a lovely young girl is benefiting from this Scholarship,” said Mr Brennan.

“Makayla is now able to do things she could never have done a few months ago.

“We hope she will overcome her limitations with low vision to become a great musician.”

Makayla’s mother, Raschelle Reilly, said she had seen a huge difference in Makayla’s attitude and progress.

“Makayla has always loved music.

“The scholarship has given her the opportunity for one-to-one lessons and she’s made fantastic progress.

“The lessons give her confidence and the new screen makes it so much easier for her to see the music, especially for the longer and harder songs.

“She loves it so much that sometimes we just can’t get her to stop playing!”

Central Coast Conservatorium runs an extensive Scholarship program with over $15,000 going towards students’ music tuition fees.

The program is funded directly through sponsor donations.

Media release, 13 May 2014
Lisa Kelly, Central Coast Conservatorium