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Author Topic: Delta Strummers school scholarship program  (Read 1779 times)

Tom

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Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« on: December 09, 2018, 08:12:25 AM »
The Delta Strummers have routinely performed for schools and assisted-living facilities for a number of years, and we get as much enjoyment as the appreciative and participating audiences. We've also participated in local 'gifted student' programs by providing volunteer tutors.

Thanks to the nominal entrance fee charged at our one or two annual public concerts, the Delta Strummers are able to create a scholarship program that, in 2019, will donate 30 ukuleles and music stands to a local elementary school. The school will manage the program and the instruments, and the Band will supply volunteer tutors to teach 3rd and 4th graders how to play (and sing along).
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jackiemac

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2018, 02:18:02 PM »
Wow, that's fantastic. Well done!
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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2018, 02:40:16 PM »
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Gizmo100

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2018, 03:11:26 PM »
Love it when the music is passed down.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2019, 02:42:34 PM »
Due partly to the number of students & parents requesting the scholarship program be expanded, the Delta Strummers voted to purchase & donate an additional 30 ukuleles to the school (60 total). Yesterday, I was privileged to be one of the 12 invited tutors to participate in the program. We oversaw 2 classes each of 3rd and 4th graders at a local elementary school (60 students total). Having 60 ukes available also means that all 60 students will be able to take an instrument home and practice, after some basic instruction.

This was both a rewarding and interesting afternoon. Correctly holding the uke, fingering, playing a few basic chords and keeping the beat were the main focus of yesterday's lesson. It was interesting seeing how some students immediately got the hang of things, while others needed varying degrees of help.
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jackiemac

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2019, 05:46:05 PM »
Great stuff Tom. It's an admirable thing to pass on the passion.
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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2019, 02:14:48 PM »
This has been, and continues to be, a wonderful experience for us (the 12 trainers). Seeing many of the kids just absorbing what they're taught/shown, and seeing/hearing them practice what they've learned.

I find it especially pleasing on the ears when the whole room (30 students in each of 2 classes) switch between chords at the same time. Some kids are having a tough time, especially when (fast) switching from/to/between challenging chord shapes, and they're encouraged to continue practicing at home.

Last Tuesday, when I left after the 2nd class, one student was sitting in the parking lot waiting for her ride, and used the time to practice what she'd learned.

FWIW each instrument is numbered and assigned to an individual student, and they're responsible for taking them home and bringing them back the following week. We have one or other students forget to bring their uke back the following week.

« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 09:05:54 PM by Tom »
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jackiemac

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2019, 10:26:20 AM »
Must be good to see the enthusiastic ones. I tried music as a youngster but struggled with it, particularly reading it. Managed to play an organ where the notes were marked, but otherwise a failure. I do love to listen to it though, except Jazz, not a fan of the stuff that seems like disorganised chaos.....
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UTTransplant

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2019, 10:57:51 AM »
This sounds like an amazingly fun experience Tom. Teaching anyone a skill you enjoy is rewarding, but teaching young children music and seeing how they advance is so rewarding. The Delta Strummers should be recognized for this incredible opportunity they are giving the kids.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2019, 11:50:52 AM »
Rewarding is a good description. It's also a first-hand perspective of what full time grade school teachers do every day, and how they help influence a future generation of adults.

In a few prior years we've participated in a local GATE (gifted and talented education) program with kids from a number of schools in the area. However, it was clear that many of the GATE kids already participated in music programs, albeit playing different instruments. Although we enjoyed participating in that program, I must admit that it wasn't as rewarding as teaching a broader population, many of whom have had no exposure to music.

Next week, we introduce them to lead sheets (simplified written 'music' containing only lyrics and chords), rather than our Music Director yelling out chords throughout a song.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2019, 12:00:59 PM »
Quote from: jackiemac
Must be good to see the enthusiastic ones.


Aye Jackie, the really enthusiastic ones plant themselves in the front row  ;D OTOH I see very few kids who don't get into it, especially when we sing songs they know, and they're now able to accompany themselves. A very small number struggle with rhythm. 

Quote
Managed to play an organ where the notes were marked...


Funny you should say that. I taught myself to read music and play a keyboard in my late 40's/early 50's, but found myself counting keys while reading a music score. I subsequently took a Sharpie (magic marker) and put dots on some of the white keys, so I didn't need to count them.

Quote
... except Jazz, not a fan of the stuff that seems like disorganised chaos...


I'm not a big jazz fan, although I'll occasionally listen to it. But I envy jazz musicians who spontaneously improvise, which is at the core of playing jazz.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2019, 07:00:34 PM »
The kids' progress continues to blow my mind. They've been taught how to read music lead sheets and how to play several songs; They're introduced to one or more 'new' songs every week, and encouraged to practice at home. Today, while 4th graders were still filing in and picking up their instruments, an impromptu ensemble formed in the front row; Several kids were playing and singing 'This Land Is Your Land' without the help of a lead sheet. Woody Guthrie they're not (yet), but their playing and singing of our arrangement was quite accurate.

The school has scheduled two concerts for late May; One is with all 570 students in the audience, and the second is with parents in the audience.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 03:14:39 PM by Tom »
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jackiemac

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2019, 02:55:14 AM »
Wow. Little sponges absorbing all that.  Those concerts will be daunting I'm sure although exciting for them. Hope they go well!
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2019, 11:39:42 AM »
"Little sponges" is a good description Jackie.

Some of the 4th graders realize there's a 'recorder class' in 5th grade, and have said "we won't be able to sing while playing recorder"  ;D
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jackiemac

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2019, 04:28:28 PM »
Multi tasking already  :D
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2019, 12:57:01 AM »
Today was the kids' "dress rehearsal" for their concerts next week. This was the first time that 55+ 3rd & 4th grade students had played together and with the Delta Strummers backing them on some songs/verses. Quite enlightening for the band members who hadn't heard these kids play and sing before. They're not yet ready for Carnegie Hall, but the audiences at their concerts will be pleasantly surprised.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2019, 06:46:30 PM »
The combined 3rd and 4th grade ukulele players have been nicknamed "The Garin Strummers" (Garin is the name of the school). Here's a neat flyer the school put together for the kids to invite their friends/parents/family to their Monday concerts.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 06:55:21 PM by Tom »
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DavidM

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2019, 11:58:54 AM »
Tom thank you for inspiring music in these young kids!!! 

I'm the parent of an inspiring musician, and all it take is one person to ignite that spark of passion for music.  You're changing these young peoples lives for the better!  Someone did that form my son 9 years ago and this fall he start at Manhattan School of Music working toward a Performance degree for Horn.   

Congrats to the "The Garin Strummers" on their up coming performance. 

Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2019, 02:20:19 PM »
Thanks for the kind words David, and congratulations to your son.

An additional challenge we had is that there are a couple of special-needs kids in each of the two classes (ADHD, autism and other conditions), and we agreed going into this program that "nobody gets left behind". One band member, who saw/heard the kids for the first time this week, came up to me afterwards and said "I have a special-needs son, and seeing you working one-on-one with those few kids had me in tears".
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 11:42:04 AM by Tom »
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jackiemac

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2019, 05:49:30 PM »
Well done Tom and colleagues it sounds like it's all coming together.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2019, 07:59:23 PM »
 :))
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2019, 10:58:36 AM »
The kids excelled in their two concerts yesterday! In the morning, the entire school was in the audience and applauded enthusiastically. In the evening, family members filled the audience and were treated to a great show by these budding musicians.

It's clear that many of these kids 'have the bug', and parents were given info on where and what to buy for kids who wish to continue over the summer holidays. A number have already purchased their own ukuleles.
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Gizmo100

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2019, 11:27:04 AM »
I love it when kids get fired up about learning.

Just an FYI....The guitar on the left needs to set on a stand. That's a terrible way to treat an instrument.  ;D
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2019, 11:34:31 AM »
Quote from: Gizmo100
The guitar on the left needs to set on a stand. That's a terrible way to treat an instrument.


I'll let him know  ;) . Personally, I always use a stand, and normally so does this bass guitar player.
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UTTransplant

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2019, 11:59:23 AM »
I absolutely love this! Music is so rewarding in and of itself, but it also has a huge influence on young minds in others ways too. It must be incredibly rewarding to see what these young folks accomplish.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2019, 12:07:37 PM »
Aye, rewarding is a good description. All 12 trainers also learned a lot about how to effectively coach the kids and encourage them on their musical journey.
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DavidM

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2019, 12:19:26 PM »
Congrats of a great concert!  Sounds like everyone had a great time. 

jackiemac

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2019, 10:07:18 AM »
Congratulations on the resounding success and on the impact you have had on these youngsters. Well done to you guys and them.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers school scholarship program
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2019, 10:19:40 AM »
Thanks Jackie. We (I) learn more than the kids.

Our challenge going forward is that the school would like to expand the program to more students/classes. That would require us to buy a lot more instruments ($$$), and we'd likely wear out the trainers. Some parents have also expressed a desire for a class.
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