Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kindergarten Teachers Get Their First Violin Lesson

Xia GuoHua gives Glacier Valley kindergarten teachers their first violin lesson

In my last posting, I detailed our first violin donation by recent Juneau Douglas High School graduate, Kyle Kahklen, who was inspired by the work of El Sistema after watching the documentary. His donation of a full-size violin was put to use the next day when JAMM's violin instructor, Xia GuoHua, gave a 1-hour violin lesson to Glacier Valley Elementary School's four kindergarten teachers: Carly Hickmann, Kaye Peters, JoAnn Steininger and Tia Vreeland.

After sharing his approach and goals for the kindergarten violin classes, Xia taught the basics to our teachers including violin, bow hold, open strings and bowings. Our teachers were just as excited as the kids to be learning how to play the violin. By the end of the lesson, they were playing a beautiful open string duet with Xia. Check it out!

JAMM would like to offer adult violin lessons to kindergarten parents, but are in need of full-size violins. Any violins out there collecting dust? If so, please let us know. Contact Lorrie Heagy at or 907-780-1405.

Friday, August 20, 2010

JAMM's First Donated Violin

How fitting for JAMM's very first violin donation to come from one of Juneau's youth!

Kyle Kahklen, a recent graduate of Juneau Douglas High School, heard about El Sistema after watching the documentary film about this Venezuelan phenomenon.  He said he knew immediately that's where he wanted to send his violin.  Kyle was thrilled to learn that an El Sistema-inspired program was beginning in his hometown at Glacier Valley Elementary School and dropped by the school during our teacher inservice to present his violin.  The entire staff cheered and applauded!

Peer-mentoring and leadership are celebrated components of every El Sistema ensemble and classroom throughout Venezuela.   Kyle's gesture reaffirms for me this core belief:  Trust Our Youth.  Thank you, Kyle for this wonderful gift!