Thursday, July 8, 2010

JAMM: Juneau, Alaska Music Matters

It's official!  Juneau, Alaska joins Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta and Durham, NC to bring El Sistema-inspired programs to communities that use the power of music and the social experience of ensemble to inspire young children and help them develop key skills for life.

In Juneau, the program is JAMM:  Juneau, Alaska Music Matters

Glacier Valley Elementary School, a Title I school, will pilot Juneau's first JAMM program for the 2010-11 school year by offering violin instruction to all kindergarten classes three times a week, in addition to their general music class.  As the school's returning music teacher, I'll be teaming with the kindergarten teachers and local violin instructor to offer group lessons during the school day to every kindergartner free of charge.  We will also incorporate percussion and drumming as part of the program, and thank Remo Belli and Will Schmid of World Music Drumming for their donation of a 40-piece World Music Drumming from Remo.  Their donation brought joy to many in Boston and the New England Conservatory and will continue to to do so in Juneau.

It's no secret among the Abreu Fellows that I am a big proponent of partnering with public schools.  There is such potential to reach more children, collaborate between music teacher and community artist and connect school with community.  Also there is incredible music teaching already happening in the US so I'm proud to note that many of the Abreu Fellow initiatives are connecting to existing programs and expanding services, rather than replacing them.  Our common goal is for all children to access the life-long benefits that early music training brings by making it a consistent part of every child's education.

Because JAMM is based on cognitive research that show playing an instrument at an early age develops skills for success, the Association of Alaska School Boards is a major supporter of this project.  We are grateful for their investment in early youth engagement, school connectedness and social/emotional skill development and will make every effort through increased funding to expand to after-school hours and more instruments, grade levels and schools.

If you'd like to support JAMM and help us reach our goal, please consider making an online donation through the Glacier Valley Parent Group using the secure Network for Good button in the sidebar.  In the Designation field type:  JAMM.

You can also send a check to "GVPG - JAMM, PO Box 32126, Juneau, AK, 99803."

Juneau, Alaska is proud to be the home of the world's
most northern "nucleo."

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I will continue using this blog as a place to share and document the work of JAMM so that we can collectively build upon our knowledge base.  

I leave you with a photo of Glacier Valley Elementary School, a place where a family of staff, parents and students make things happen by working together and connecting with an incredible Juneau community! Thank you Juneau for believing in this program!

Glacier Valley Elementary School in Juneau, Alaska


  1. Congratulations, Lorrie and Glacier Valley! I'm very excited to see what the coming year holds for JAMM.
    ...You continue to set the bar for awesomeness!

  2. Hi Lorrie, just had a quick read of your blog to catch up with your plans for the coming session - they're truly exciting. I hope we can keep in touch through blogs and wikis - and create an online Scottish - American partnership! I travel to San Francisco tomorrow for Orff Level 3. Will be in touch again when I return to Scotland. Keep up the good work. M