While most students are busy this time of year breaking in their crayons and calculators, some at Paul Banks Elementary School are gearing up to become little virtuosos.
For several years now the school has run its Preludes Violin Program, a music program that incorporates violin playing into the curriculum to enhance student learning. The musical instruction is said to help develop focus, self-control and teamwork in students.
Inspired by the Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) program, the goal of Preludes is to create not only better learners, but also better citizens through music instruction and performing together as a group.
The program started out with one grade but soon expanded to include all fist and second-grade students. They don’t start with a violin at all, but rather a makeshift placeholder.
Students first learn to build and practice on a cardboard violin. Their parents joined them to help construct the cardboard versions during two craft nights held at the school last Wednesday and Thursday.
After months of practice, the students will graduate on to the real deal. The program culminates in concerts during the second half of the school year.