Published : Monday, June 17, 2019 | 7:07 PM
In a high-tech world, Kimberly Allison and the Pasadena Public Library want to bring back the joy of playing guitar.
Allison has joined forces with the Pasadena Public Library for the second annual Rock Music Program for Kids at PPL. The event takes place Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at the Pasadena Public Library.
Well, it is fun and games, but the group learning of the traditional six-stringed instrument goes beyond the hilarity of the Jack Black film “School of Rock,” which the group had previously been named. There are multiple purposes for learning the six-stringed instrument.
“What we’re doing is introducing kids to guitar and rock music and giving them an overview of the different styles of rock within the different time periods,” Allison said. “A lot of them aren’t familiar with guitar and traditional instruments.”
Allison, who studied guitar at the University of Southern California and teaches guitar said it’s important for young people to understand that music is not simply created on a computer.
“To a lot of people, a musical instrument is on the laptop,” Allison said. “To them, it’s about doing beats and sequencing stuff. So much of what we listen to on the radio is generated on a computer.”
A guitar teacher for 19 years, Allison has seen first hand the innate benefits of playing guitar.
“I would have to say learning guitar taught me a lot of patience,” she said. “It’s one of those things that gets you into a routine. You have to sit down and practice. Things didn’t come overnight and it takes repetition, patience and persistence.”
With much of the world and the young people in it expecting instantaneous results from just about everything, learning music is something that requires an old-school temperament.
“You focus your attention and you’ll enjoy practicing the instrument,” she said. “It’s not instantly gratifying.”
How did the program come about?
Allison is the guitar teacher for Marie Plug, the program coordinator at the Pasadena Public Library.
“This is the second year we’ve done this,” said Plug. “The thing is, it’s a passion of mine to give kids opportunities, in this case with music. There isn’t as much funding for music programming in the schools. It’s about reaching out to kids who don’t have opportunities.
The program is open to those 9 years old to 16 years old and there a plenty of kids signed up but there’s always room for one more, Plug said. The library has 10 guitars for people to check out like they would a book, so the kids have an opportunity to practice what they learned during the day.
Cooperation and teamwork also go hand in hand with the music program.
“The students will understand what it feels like to be part of a band,” Plug said. “They will be learning from a group of people who want to play and hear live music and give them a sense of history and what music means to people.”
The volunteers involved are musicians, including Dr. Thomas Foster, who is an ambassador for the group Little Kids Rock, and Allison and the PPL band, which is comprised of Derek Massengale, Larry Mudica and Sebastian O’Brien.
While playing guitar may be considered a “throwback” skill, playing the guitar can eliminate modern-day stress and help create friendships, Allison said.
“Technology has changed the way kids interact,” she said. “They come out of the womb with a cell phone. Playing guitar gets them to focus on something and get them to interact in a good way.”
For more information, Kimberly Allison’s school can be found on the web at www.starlinermusic.net
The Rock Music Program for Kids at Pasadena Public Library will be held Wednesday, June 19 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. There is no cost. For more information call (626) 744-4066 or click here ww5.cityofpasadena.net/library/