little hands leap upwards in a frenzy, as Project PICK
Director Belinda Honaker asks who might be interested in
participating in the after-school program that will put the
instruments in students' hands.
one could have prepared Project PICK instructors and
coordinators for the response of Buchanan County students,
after instructors led assembly presentations at all ten public
schools last week.
350 students throughout the county have signed up to
participate and more are signing up every day.
had such a great response," Honaker says with an excited
laugh. "We don't know what we're going to do with them,
to be honest."
PICK, which stands for Playing Instruments Changes Kids, is a
weekly program that teaches students first-hand through songs,
stories and music about their culture and heritage.
last week, students made it clear that they wanted the program
in Buchanan County.
tripled our expectations," says Jeff Mathis, who will
teach guitar through Project PICK this year. "We're
really filling a need. I just hope we can handle that many
Council resident, who taught guitar lessons at the Music Box
in Claypool Hill for 18 years, now owns his own recording
studio, performs instrument repairs and installs sound systems
for local churches throughout the area.
despite his busy schedule, Mathis says this is a project worth
up, he says he always had instruments and music in his life,
but many students throughout the county have never touched an
instrument. And, that's something Mathis and the rest of
Project PICK's instructors hope to remedy.
the assembly presentations last week, Mathis says he often sat
at the edge of the stage, holding his guitar, while students
asked questions. Slowly, the children inched toward him,
hoping to play a few chords before he left for the day.
be surrounded in minutes," he says, laughing.
Jewell, of Whitewood, was also a big hit with the children.
regional guitarist is the only member of the instructors with
the experience to teach fiddle. A 36-year member of the
regional band Bluegrass Kinsmen, Jewell has never formally
taught anyone how to play an instrument.
just because he's never taught before doesn't mean Jewell
doesn't know his way around children.
asked what the difference was between a violin and a fiddle,
the children scrambled for answers. However, it was Jewell
that offered them the most memorable response.
there's no difference between the fiddle and the violin,"
he says. "My dad always said if a rich man owns it, it's
a violin. And, if a poor man owns it, it's a fiddle."
this, the children responded with resounding laughter and
agreed that must be the answer.
teachers and the children seemed very excited," says
Jewell. "The children especially seemed to be very
excited. Of course, that might have had something to do with
getting out of class."
his laughter turns to nervousness and he explains how the
number of students planning to participate in Project PICK has
only concern is that there are so many kids," he says.
more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer,
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