Saturday, January 15, 2011

Coming Full Circle: Franz Felkl Visits JAMM

Thirteen years ago, Franz Felkl visited my classroom at the Juneau Community Charter School.  He was only six years old at the time and was taking violin lessons with Guohua Xia,  who is now JAMM's string director.   I had just arrived in Juneau and was given the opportunity to help develop the school's curriculum - one that integrated the arts. 

I wanted all twenty of my 3rd, 4th & 5th grade students to have violin lessons as part of their school day.  Fortunately, Mr. Xia agreed to be their teacher.  He took a huge leap of faith with me that year!  It was the first time either one of us had led such a large class.  Little did we know that this newly-formed teaching relationship would continue to grow and meet even greater challenges with sixty kindergartners at Glacier Valley's JAMM program years later.

Franz performed for my kids that year and helped inspire a very successful instrumental program that continues today.  Mr. Xia and I knew back then how talented Franz was.  I remember how shocked the students were when he told them that he hadn't missed a day of practice, even on vacation when he traveled on the ferry!

Franz is now 20 years old and is currently pursuing a Music Education degree at University of Alaska Fairbanks.  When he returned to Juneau for winter break, I invited him to work with our kindergartners and do what he did thirteen years ago:  perform and inspire a young generation of musicians.  He did just that. 

Here is a short video clip documenting the magic spell that Franz cast over Mrs. Steininger's kindergarten class.  Franz, knowing that you started violin at the same age with the same teacher gives our kindergartners a sense of what they too can accomplish!    It is an honor to see you come full circle - from student to music teacher.   Already, you've become a great teacher.  Thank you again! 

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