See these young Macon musicians shine after a month at new camp

The Jazz Association of Macon (JAM) and Phillips Performing Arts foundation are teaming up to give young musicians a chance to enhance their music skills.

The two organizations partnered together to create the Young Musicians Workshop, a camp that introduces middle school students to the joy of music and encourages continued development of their musical careers.

For three Saturdays throughout June, students have come to the camp to learn and practice their instruments including piano, guitar, drums, saxophone and many others. The camp is funded through one of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia’s Downtown Challenge grants.

The instructors of the camp are made up of current and retired music teachers, like Evan Jones. Jones teaches the trumpet and hopes he was able to share his appreciation of music with his students.

“For the kids, it’s everything,” Jones said of teaching of music.

Piano student Johnathan Thompson’s grandmother recommended the camp to him. He has embraced the opportunity to expand his musical horizons.

“I think it is going to be a new opportunity for me to try another instrument,” Thompson said. He has experience playing violin and flute, but transitioned to piano for the camp.

Genesis Price comes from a family of musicians and dancers and was excited to try playing the African drums for camp.

“Music is just a big part of my life, so I was like ‘maybe I’ll try something new,’” Price said.

Tom Woodbery of JAM believes that this camp will pave the way for future musical successes of their students. He believes that music education is very good for students and their personal and education formation.

“We know from evidence that music education helps kids in many aspects of their life,” Woodbery said. “In any way we can help kids learn how to play musical instruments and carry that through their life is good for the student and good for the community.”

Gwen Phillips, director of the Young Musicians Workshop, believes there is a lot more to music than meets the ear. She said that learning music is learning discipline, social skills, dedication and teamwork. All of those traits, according to her, inspire great music abilities.

“When you love something, you’re going to give it all you have,” Phillips said.

Phillips hopes the students in the camp will continue their musical education when they return to school and beyond.

“We have identified some great children who are interested in music,” Phillips said.

Phillips is hopeful that the camp’s success this year paves the way for the next phase of the project. The camp is hoping to expand to include elementary students as well as possibly high school students down the road.

The Young Musicians Workshop has provided budding music students with an opportunity to gain a real appreciation of music and see how important music is in their lives.

The students will present a performance for the community Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Mill Hill Community Arts Center on Clinton Street to showcase what they have learned through the workshop.

JAM also encourages young musicianship by awarding scholarships to young musicians in middle and high school and performing in area schools. Their annual community festival, “Jazz and Arts on Riverdale,” will take place on October 26.

For more information, visit their website at www.maconjazz.org or facebook.com/MaconJAM.

Kenneth Lemoine is an intern for the Telegraph for Summer of 2019, courtesy of the Couric Fellowship Program at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism. He writes about anything interesting that is taking place in Macon and Central Georgia, and he loves sports being a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan. When he is not working, you can catch him playing MLB The Show, Madden NFL, NBA 2K, and other similar sports video games.