LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — School plays a vital role in exposing kids to the arts, but with restrictions in place due to COVID-19, things like band or orchestra may not get the attention they would in a typical school year.
But a group of local musicians is working to make sure no child or musical opportunity slips through the cracks. They have created the Virtual Beginning Band Project, providing free resources and lessons for schools and aspiring musicians.
Project director Ginny Tutton has a doctorate in flute performance and has been playing for 25 years.
It is fair to say music is Tutton’s life. So naturally, as schools begin to reopen, she became concerned about young, aspiring musicians and whether the pandemic will keep them from receiving the same musical exposure as she once did.
"I was thinking, ‘how on earth are they going to do this and do it safely for the students?'" Tutton said.
So, she began to think about how she could help, not only reaching the kids but also taking any extra burden from teachers.
"It started off as a flute project where I wanted to offer the first six weeks or so of lessons and guidance for the flute,” Tutton said. “Then I thought, you know, if I'm willing to do this, I bet I know some other musicians who would help out, too."
And she was right.
Tutton, along with eight other musicians, has now partnered to create the Virtual Beginning Band Project. They are providing virtual lessons with the goal of ensuring that students who would have begun learning a new instrument this fall still have access to quality music instruction.
Right now the materials are being made available only to schools, but the lessons will be made available to everyone in the coming weeks.
"The arts and music, in particular, can be really therapeutic and it's creative, but it's also sort of cerebral,” Tutton said. “It kind of keeps your mind occupied if you're worried about things. I really thought that everyone in the community could benefit from a little music."
Between all nine musicians, nearly every instrument found in a school band is covered: flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, horn, trumpet, tuba and percussion.
They teach everything from how to put the instrument together, to starting to play notes.
It is all free, with the goal of reaching as many people as possible – all in the name of music.
The other musicians involved are:
Dr. Chase Hawkins
Dr. Bradley J. Keesler
Visit the project’s Facebook page for more information.