It takes a lot to get elementary school students out of bed, let alone hours early. For two groups of students at Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy, all it took was putting a violin in their hands.
Instructor Michelle Frederick has students ready for practice more than an hour before school starts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Liliana Valdovinos and Jonathan Bravo, both 10, are in the advanced class.
“Getting here on time is definitely the hardest part,” Valdovinos said.
Frederick has six students in the advanced class and 15 in the beginners group.
Later this semester the two will merge as students prepare for winter performances.
“They practice harder when they know they get to perform,” she said.
Frederick knows something about preparing for performances. She has been a member of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra since 1978. She also has taught at Tyler ISD and Bishop T.K. Gorman Regional Catholic School.
Her primary goal is to get students up for the task of reading music. She also helps out with programs at Three Lakes and Moore middle schools. In the coming years, she hopes to see the program grow.
Frederick has been able to secure the program through the district at no cost to students, in order to reach as many students as possible. The district provides everything the students need, so long as they keep their grades up.
Little fingers will become more and more nimble as the students become more accustomed to the instruments. Many were only in their third week of lessons by November, yet were quickly picking up the basics.
Frederick said they’re making amazing progress and will be ready for their first performance at Caldwell’s winter performances in just a few short weeks.