The Strings Across the Sky program at Pontiac School Naanan biinash Nshwaaswi bemidnisijig of the Wikwemikong Board of Education is teaching students to play violin.
Deb Jones, the executive/artistic director of Strings Across the Sky Foundation, explained the process the program uses in a YouTube video. A team of musicians from the foundation goes to the school once a month. At the Wiky school, lessons began on Oct. 28 and will run until June.
They start each student with a wooden spoon to learn the mechanics of the fingering. That’s day one. The students then graduate to actual violins to learn where to put their fingers. Then they add the bow. By the end of the first week, students know several songs.
A video of the students playing ‘Walk the Line’ was shared to Twitter by Fay Zoccole.
The program was founded in 1987 by Jones’ late aunt, Andrea Hansen, who developed the wooden spoon technique.
“She was a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.” During her travels, she learned of the 400-year “rich history” of the fiddle in Indigenous communities. Hansen then set out to help bolster the tradition within the communities where it was dying out of the culture.