|Mr. Xia's Chamber Ensemble, Aurora Strings, performs for our JAMM violinists before Winter Break|
Returning from winter break, our kindergartners walked into violin class with a confidence and pride. They were playing A String Concerto with long bow, holding up their violins for a class count to 100 and could identify which string Mr. Xia played on his violin with over 80% accuracy! They learned how to place their fingers on each fingerboard tape. The conductor of the Juneau Symphony had even paid them a special visit to see this up and coming group of young orchestra members. They were invited to play alongside the Juneau Youth Symphony in March, and the youth symphony's director, Rick Trostel, had written a composition specially for them, called Life of the Child. They were playing music!
|Students in Ms. Hickmann's class practice making a box before placing their first finger on the tape.|
With this new-found confidence came a testing of boundaries. For example, during Mr. Xia's instructions, students would sit on the floor with their violins in front of them. They learned the routine of "spiders in your lap" or hands in your lap to help resist the temptation of touching the violins and it worked. But now that their violins made sound, several of our students began plucking the strings while Mr. Xia talked. When a reminder didn't work, all it took was a warning that their violin would be replaced with a paper one until their hands learned to stay in their laps and the plucking immediately stopped. Little did I know that the paper violin would serve so many purposes: pedagogical tool, behavioral motivator and community builder. Thank you, Josbel and the incredible teaching staff at Nucleo La Rinconada in Caracas, for sharing your paper violin process with us.
|Kim Poole, JAMM volunteer extraordinaire, checks Amira's finger position|