After a month of paper violins, Paul Banks Elementary “Preludes” graduated to real violins. They are learning how to play the open strings as an ensemble group, how to keep beat in unison, as well as how to hold a bow and develop fingering techniques. While much of the instruction still focuses on building physical stamina, frequently students can be heard calling out notes and plucking strings.
“I recently moved to Homer and enrolled my first grade son in Paul Banks Elementary. I was surprised to hear of the violin program starting this year. Admittedly, my first reaction was one of doubt whether it would work with such young children.
I became involved in helping out with classroom management for the violin lessons. I am so impressed with what I have witnessed. Not only are the kids really enthusiastic about their program, but they are quickly improving. I have read the research about the positive impact on cognitive development when children learn to play a string instrument so young. What impresses me more is what I have seen. The team of program developers, talented violin instructor, violin players who are volunteering and the elementary music and classroom teachers are really giving a lot of energy and “heart” into this program.
I have observed the kids working happily on posture, stamina to focus, endurance for sustaining physical postures, new patterning coordination, eye-hand isolated coordination tasks, following multi-step directions, retaining previous lessons by memory, spinal and upper body strength, developing rhythm, learning where their own bodies go in space (proprioceptive training) and showing respect for the violin.
It is my opinion that only a team of dedicated and driven adults could pull this off successfully. I am writing this to bring awareness to what I have witnessed. Paul Banks Elementary violin “Preludes” program with its team of charismatic musicians is teaching far more than just violins. I am so pleased that my son gets to be a part of this. It is impressive that ALL kids in the first grade are a part of this, as it would be my guess that a number of these children would not otherwise be included.
I now know that my son is learning a lot more than just music while having a great time. I frequently get reports on violin class without even asking him.” –Ginnie Oliver, MOMT, Physical Therapist
In the news: Beautiful music begins at Paul Banks
“This program has been a positive addition to Paul Banks. The community has generously donated money and volunteer hours to get the program up and running. Daniel Perry, Linda Reinhart, and Lyn Maslow have teamed with our teaching staff to create an incredible program.” – Eric Pederson, principal.