Waynesboro YMCA program gives kids free guitar lessons at Valley Music Academy

y guitarFourth-grader Celicity McLain tells you that “Ode to Joy” is her favorite Beethoven song, and you think to yourself, Wow, I’m not sure I have a favorite Beethoven song.

McLain is learning how to play the guitar by practicing on “Ode to Joy” at the Valley Music Academy through a program sponsored by the Waynesboro YMCA and the Waynesboro Rotary Club. The guitars are provided courtesy of the Fender Foundation, which has supplied instruments for children enrolled in the YMCA’s childcare program to use in classes at the Valley Music Academy in Waynesboro.

“The next phase is not just lessons, but these kids are going to have the opportunity to take the guitars home with them. Now that we’ve got the amps, an opportunity to sort of rent it and go home and practice,” said Jeff Fife, the executive director at the YMCA, which has been sending childcare students to the Valley Music Academy for guitar classes since early April.

Instructor Greg Moody is focusing his initial lessons on the basics, “just learning how to hold the guitar, learning some basic notes.”

“We’re just sort of introducing kids to the guitar,” Moody said.

For McLain, “it’s really cool because you get to learn a bunch of songs, and you can learn something that you’ve never done before. I’ve only done the recorder. It’s actually really fun,” she said.

Fellow Y childcare participant Nikki Fisher said “it’s really fun to learn guitar. And it’s a great opportunity to get it for free.”

Christian Carter is “starting to get the hang of it.”

“I just really don’t quite get the last part. I think I’m pretty good at it, but sometimes I mess up in the beginning. But I’m starting to get better at it,” said Carter, who is looking forward to getting his own guitar some day.

That may also happen due to the joint YMCA-Valley Music Academy-Waynesboro Rotary Club campaign. Participants who volunteer their time at the Y and show progress in class can earn a guitar, said Fife.

“So we’re exposing them to a love of music, we’re encouraging them to practice more at home, and then we add a volunteer component. We might have some future guitar heroes behind us!” Fife said.

 

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