“Keep your eye on your bow and trust your fingers.” Aubrey Iacobelli offers a reminder and encouragement to her new violin students. “One, two, three, here we go.” She counts them into their first attempt at performing a piece and can’t contain her pride at the result, “you’re doing it, you’re doing it!”
As the music teacher at Pineview Elementary School, a big part of Iacobelli’s job is sharing her enthusiasm for music. She searches for creative ways to engage her students and takes cues directly from them. “There’s a certain spirit in every grade level. They were really percussive one year, so I got them drums and it clicked. Other years they were more attuned to guitar or ukulele and it clicked. There’s always that handful who excel and they look bored in class. So I asked a few of them ‘what would you like’ and they all said violin.”
With violins as her directive, it was up to Iacobelli to figure out how to get the pricey instruments into the hands of these eager young artists. She applied for and received an Arts Education Grant from the Council on Culture & Arts. With the grant funds supplied by Kia of Tallahassee, she was able to purchase 10 violins.
Instruction on those instruments is a privilege offered to a select group of fourth- and fifth-graders. “These are all A and B students and I’ve gotten word from other teachers that they’ve earned it. They know they have to finish all of their other work by the end of the day if they want to do this so it’s motivation for them as well,” explained Iacobelli.
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