NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – “I was blown away.”
Melissa Salguero, the winner of the 2018 GRAMMY Music Educator Award, is speaking out about what it was like to win a GRAMMY.
“I’m thinking ‘Oh my gosh, like, this is really happening? I’m at the GRAMMYs, and he’s introducing me? And especially a Bronx teacher, in New York City – it was amazing,” Salguero told CBS2’s Elise Finch.
Salguero began the music program at P.S. 48 seven years ago. Before that, the school had been without a music program for 30 years. Twenty two percent of the students are homeless. She put together a GRAMMY submission video with her students that helped catapult her to GRAMMY gold and a special shout-out by James Corden during the big show.
“It was such an incredible experience for me, obviously loving music, and loving the artists and the messages that they can send to a whole generation and beyond,” Salguero said.
Salguero said she walked the red carpet next to Lisa Loeb.
“She actually asked me to take a picture with her at the end of the carpet and I just about died, it was like a dream of mine,” she said. “Having Hailee Steinfeld in front of me and Imagine Dragons behind and Cyndi Lauper… it was so surreal. I was not shy, I definitely went up to everybody.”
Salguero, a Florida native, said she had to take the opportunity to come teach music in New York, and was eventually placed in P.S.48.
“The kids in Hunts Point are the same as all these kids all over the world… they love music,” Salguero said. “When I first started, we didn’t have a band program, so that was the first thing I put on my list. I want to start a band, I want to do this, and I just made these lists of things that I wanted to accomplish, and the kids know it. So they see me checking off one by one.”
“My main goal, to help them, is to show them how music can help them throughout their life. To help them develop that perseverance of obstacles,” Salguero said. “For example, playing an instrument. The first day – nobody sounds good the first day. So you’re playing an instrument and every day you’re getting better and better every day by practicing. And that really is teaching them a habit to transfer into their future.”
Salguero said teaching at P.S. 48 is “very special to me.”
“The kids, they treat me like a rock star. And when I was little I always wanted to be a rock star. When I walk into the school I can’t go two feet without a hug or a high five,” she said. “It feels so special. Such a bond I have with my students and they know how lucky they are to have music in their lives. And I’m so happy that I can help them in their musical future.”
Salguero won $10,000 as part of the award and the GRAMMY Museum and Recording Academy are also donating money to P.S. 48.
“This is actually bigger than anybody could’ve expected,” she said. “People have been calling the school and asking ‘How do I donate to this program? I have an old baby grand piano that I want to give you guys. So, this is far reaching. I did not expect this kind of response.”