KTBA in the Final Frontier: Donations in Alaska!
napaskiak, ak – Thanks to your donations this week, KTBA has achieved yet another milestone since we started our weekly donations back in 2012!
Maya Angelou once said, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” 4th grade students at Z. John Williams Memorial School will explore the magical world of music through the recorder, finding their own crawl spaces to explore and enjoy.
Students are mostly Yup’ik Eskimos living between two worlds: the traditional subsistence life of the rural Alaskan tundra and the modern American life of the Lower 48.
Ms. C describes, “our village is only accessible by plane or boat, and has fewer than 400 souls. As a result of cultural disintegration, they are often the innocent victims of generational alcohol abuse, which compounds their otherwise up-hill path to learning a second language (English) and thriving in school. As a result, by the time they are in 3rd grade, they are so far behind in basic academics that they only have three real subjects a day: reading, writing, and math. Subjects like music, history, art, science, and physical education — the very things that make school enjoyable — are dropped from the curriculum. And we wonder why so many Native students drop out? In this milieu, I am able to offer a unique opportunity for students by providing 30 minutes, twice a week, of musical instruction.”
By using the donations from this past week, KTBA was able to go in and fund Ms. C’s music project allowing them to purchase new learning materials and recorders for her music curriculum. This particular donation was about more than just recorders and music books. It quickly became about improving the quality of classroom instruction that changes the students’ perspective on their education. When you live in a rather recluse area of the country, there is a great chance that students are not exposed to different cultures and social nuances that we take for granted.
“With these materials, my students will be able to make music! Of course, they will learn basic theory, rhythm, pitch, and the technical skills necessary to play recorder, but they will learn so much more. Music provides a safe opportunity to practice and develop many of the soft skills that are lacking in children of lower socioeconomic status. For example, my students will learn the benefit of hard work, practice, and perseverance; they will experience the swelling feeling of pride at a job well done. Hopefully with practice, these soft skills can transfer to other environments, creating generally happier and healthier students. The effects of the positive soft skills acquired through music are difficult to overstate in the lives of rural Native children growing up in a village ravaged by alcohol. The musical skills they gain will serve the students well, too. Many students are interested in composing music for traditional Yup’ik dance, and solid musicianship helps. Additionally, many students will eventually join the church choir, where reading sheet music is a definite boon.”
None of this would be possible without small donations from music lovers like you! Thank you for your enduring support of Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation and we are excited for the semester ahead!
Dear Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation,It is through generous philanthropic work like yours that my students will be able to experience the joys of making music. Thank you!From their first squeaky notes through their end-of-year performance, my students will thoroughly enjoy and use their new recorders, stands, and sheet music. As you well know, music can reach students that otherwise struggle in school, and many of my students fall into this category. Your gift allows them an opportunity to express themselves in ways that don’t hinge on knowing the English language, which is a challenge to learn in our Yup’ik first language community.Thank you again for your generosity. I know my students thank you, too!With gratitude,