We started the 2016 year with continued individual classes in Ferguson and South Grand St. Louis. We also gave weekly lessons to over 100 kids at New City School.
The year started with free ukulele group classes for small kids in Ferguson. When those wrapped up for the winter season, the time slot was converted to free band group classes for preteens in Ferguson studying, “The American Roots of The Beatles.”
Although many young folks have heard of The Beatles, not many realized just how influenced they were by American music and musicians at the start of their careers. Youth in this class learned from early Beatles recordings of music written by American rockers Barrett Strong, Carl Perkins, Little Richard and St. Louis native, Chuck Berry , while also learning the basics of I,IV,V chord song structure. Classic stuff!
And we used original vinyl records of the Fab Four to learn from!!
Our spring 2016 edition of Strings Attached Front Porch Kids Concert at Little Creek Nature was a lot of fun. Nearly 200 students, families, friends and neighbors came out with lawn chairs and picnic baskets to enjoy music made by our students. Perfect spring day to explore 90 plus acres of wooded trails and play areas for children including an outdoor music and movement area. Thanks again to Eric Hadley, Little Creek Nature Area staff and the Ferguson/Florissant school district for making these front porch concerts possible for three years!!
We had a great time during the second quarter of the year hosting three levels of ukulele players and workshops for kids in the Ferguson area. Kids explored music of The Beatles, playing chords and learning to read music notes with American folk music and traditional music. 45 minute workshops for beginning and returning students were provided three times a week for 8 weeks.
Start of summer 2016 and we jumped right in with the first “Make Music Day- St. Louis.” Make Music Day” has been going on for several years around the country and overseas, but this was its first year in StL and we were happy to participate by performing at Shaw Park in Clayton in their “Sensory Garden.”
The “Sensory Garden” had the perfect combination we always look for kids, young families and an outdoor setting/playground that celebrates play and making music! Why should the two be separated? Let’s do it again in 2017!
This summer we handed out our 2016 Award Guitars to 10 deserving students who have been with the program for at least 1 year, have good lesson attendance, practice consistently and perform in the community or through our recording studio project.
Each year, Strings Attached awards fine-quality guitars and ukuleles to students with music determination. Since 2009, we’ve awarded 70 instruments to local youth.
This year students received a variety of guitars and ukuleles including acoustic/electric Fender T-Buckets, Fender Malibu’s and Lanikai Ukuleles. Have fun with them and congratulations from Strings Attached project!
We participated in the first year of “Make Music on Your Porch Day” with project students playing their instruments on their own front porches and entertaining their neighbors. They shared photos and videos with us throughout the day, so we could post them on social media. We hope to continue with this special day next year and expand on it with front porch recitals.
The project is starting its third and final year of residency with the children at New City School in St. Louis. We work weekly with over 100 students in 1st, 3rd and 4th grade in the school, teaching guitar and ukulele.
Strings Attached also provides school visits with local musicians to share presentations about roots music. In September, we presented pianist Richard Egan and “bones” player, Scott Miller to an enthusiastic auditorium of students who learned about the life and career of Scott Joplin while hearing his music performed by Egan & Miller.
We played at Little Creek Nature Area’s “Homecoming” for our third straight year on a gorgeous fall day. Lots of goodies from Starbucks, hayrides, trees, sunshine, trails, kids, families. Couldn’t ask for a better day! Thanks Eric, Ferguson/Florissant School District and the Little Creek Nature Area staff for you help and for including Strings Attached in your plans!!
At our residency at New City School, we put together a square dance band to play live music for the 4th grade class show on Missouri Culture and History. Square dancing is the official state dance. The show also incorporated nods to famous Missouri artists. writers and musicians including Scott Joplin, Charlie Parker, Josephine Baker, Thomas Hart Benton and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
And listen to one of our ensembles playing, “Jingle Bell Rock:”
Student Zander received some well deserved attention in The Fender Music Foundation’s December 2016 quarterly newsletter. Read all about it: