The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Mar 08, 2013

Who says kids can't jam?

Posted by Valerie Nahmad

By Lisa Moy, Walker West Music Academy

I recently started my position at Walker West Music Academy with full bright eyes, amused to be around so much live music. Little did I know the magic that would manifest through the fingers of these young people! Like any new position you'd expect to experience some nervousness and maybe a little bit of intimidation being the new face - not this time and not at Walker West Music Academy.  From the first interview to hearing “we would like to offer you the position”, I felt as if I belonged here. No stranger to music, in the past four years I have worked as a radio personality on 89.9FM KMOJ in Minneapolis. But there is a huge difference between being around a community creating live music and being a DJ who plays recorded programmed songs.

At Walker West I learned quickly how passionate the instructors are and how essential music is to there lives.  In these teachers, I see a true love for an extraordinary art form.  They express this love with every note, every day and in every lesson that they teach.  Not only are the instructors phenomenal musicians but the students are musical chameleons soaking up all the musical enrichment around them.  Students as young as five walk in as “normal kids” and walk out as some of the finest musicians I've ever heard.  It's as if they've been playing for years. Some seemed destined to blossom, dare I say, to become this generation's iconic musicians that future parents will raise their kids listening to.

In a generation where children today would rather listen to Lil Wayne over Duke Ellington, it is so refreshing to see them learn raw music by learning how to play the instrument that they hear in a “beat” of there favorite song!  Working at Walker West, you can't help but look and listen in amazement at all of the talent that walks through the doors.  These students take pride in their lessons, take pride after playing and hear their instructor say “well done”. The smiles on these children's faces are a beautiful melody in itself.

I remember the first lesson I heard, I got out of my chair at the front desk to see which instructor was playing, but in fact it was a young student who wasn't more than twelve. His playing was brilliant! “That kid is JAMMING” I said, and at that moment I knew that Walker West was a gift, a gift  that has housed some of the best musicians you will ever come to know. Walker West isn't just a place to take lessons but indeed it is a family of people who have an appetite for music and I'm glad to say that I am now a part of that family.



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