When it comes to music education, what better way to teach and get students excited about music than having someone their age or someone who plays their instrument come in, perform, and talk about their experiences? We did one of our first outreach programs like this with Virginian guitarist Joanna Kim at Waterford Union High School and St. Jude the Apostle School.
Joanna Kim is an extremely talented 17 year old classical and fingerstyle guitarist. She started teaching herself fingerstyle guitar via YouTube at the age of 6. At the age of 14, she started learning classical guitar from her current teacher, Dr. Miroslav Lončar. Since she started studying with Dr. Lončar, she has performed and competed in both fingerstyle and classical guitar. Allison Emm met Joanna at a Wisconsin based competition, which sparked the camaraderie that brought Joanna to Wisconsin for her first tour the past April!
At Waterford High School, Jake Stanzer opened for Joanna with a good reception from the audience. Most of his performance content was some lovely Irish Tunes. Jake is a well-known Milwaukee guitar player that plays solo, as well as, with bands like ‘Whiskey and the Devil,’ the ‘Midnight Purchase,’ ‘Red’s Hot Chili Peppers,’ and ‘J.R. & the Strangers.’ Following Jake’s wonderful performance, Joanna performed the following pieces:
Hungarian Fantasy – J.K Mertz
Koyunbaba – Carlos Domeniconi
Recuerdos De La Alhambra -Tarrega
Baba Yaga – Marcin Patrazlek
Phunkdified – Justin King
Fight – Kotaro Oshio
At St. Jude the Apostle School, Jacob Webb, professionally known as 5pm to Nowhere, opened for Joanna. An extra fun twist is that Jacob happens to be an Alumni of St. Jude’s, so he had a connection with the students. For his opening number, he played an original song titled “Acceptance.” Joanna’s set was the same as the aforementioned Waterford performance. What made this performance special, however, was Joanna’s ability to interact with the students. This allowed for students to not only hear great music, but also learn a little bit about what it means to play guitar professionally and to be a professional musician in general! Joanna was able to explain to students about her “travel guitar,” which was lighter and less susceptible to cracking while traveling on planes and to unfamiliar places. She also explained what “tuning the strings” means.
From an educational standpoint, I think more events like this can be useful in not only aiding in inspiring students to pursue their passions, but also in exposing them to new and different performance mediums. I believe that this kind of musical exposure and experience can be extremely interactive and engaging in terms of sparking discussions with students about different instruments (not normally included in band or orchestra) and genres that students might not have been exposed to otherwise.
The staff of Wisconsin Music Ventures was extremely pleased to be able to work with these schools and these musicians in one of our first of hopefully many music education events. Many more of our Education Musician Partners can be found in our Green Room and their music education programs will be added to the Wisconsin Music Ventures Website before the end of the month. You can also feel free to contact me, Lauren LaFond, about educational opportunities at email@example.com.