The first meeting of Kevin and the students interested in guitar lessons was a great experience. He was interested in hearing what kind of music interested them and they were excited to tell him. Many, of course, liked the current pop music, though several were Country and Western fans. Many students said they liked any kind of music. One talked about J-pop, which of course had all the adults in the room looking perplexed. When Kevin asked her what that was she eagerly spoke about Japanese Pop and how much she liked it. I think many of us (adults) were still in the dark about that.
The next step in the process was finding out what guitars fit which students and if they interested in steel string or nylon string guitars. The noise at this point was incredible with several students strumming away with no real idea of any chords but simply enjoying the process of just strumming the guitars. Several students had some basic knowledge of chords and were busy trying to hear themselves play those chords. Other students sat quietly just holding the guitar and looking excited.
Over the course of six weeks the students received basic chord structure and music sheets with chords and lyrics on them. The students listened and strummed chords at Kevin’s direction. He was excellent about providing positive feedback to the students as they strummed along. As with everything, some students did well and practiced guitar in between lessons with staff on the different units. Others enjoyed being in the class to continue to learn about chords but weren’t always able to practice on the unit.
Toward the end of the lessons the students strumming along as Kevin called out chord changes and would sing the lyrics of the song as everyone played. He was always checking in with students about what was going well, what else they might like to learn and how they felt they were doing. The students were not shy about telling him what they wanted. The lessons that were originally scheduled for six weeks were extended and Kevin added two more lessons with the students that were really interested in learning the more difficult chords. The final class was about some music theory, playing the more complex chords and a gentle goodbye.
It was a great experience for all of us involved in the process. Several weeks later, I am sitting in my office and listening to several of the girls playing guitar and singing different songs down the hall.
Kevin’s contribution to the students of AKChild & Family can’t be appreciated enough. The outlet of expression he provided to the students is priceless.
To inquire about potential volunteer opportunities please contact Denis McCarville, CEO, at (907) 346-2101.