Pilot program ready to rock

A PILOT program that gifts guitars to at-risk kids is ready to rock, thanks to a generous donation from New Town High School.

The Bridgewater PCYC’s Guitar Initiative collects second-hand guitars from the community and provides them to students who would love to learn but don’t otherwise have access to an instrument.

Currently operating at Brighton Primary School but soon to expand, the 10-week program gives kids a creative outlet by teaching them how to read music, how to play some riffs and chords, and basic maintenance like changing and tuning the strings.

Kryssy Bell started the program after witnessing the positive educational impact that learning guitar had on one primary school student.

“He was having a lot of trouble at school, and he didn’t have a guitar but really wanted to play,” Ms Bell said.

“So, I took my guitar in and started to teach him how to play, and he just loved it.

“He went from being the naughtiest kid there to attending school all day, every day.

“Then I wanted to see if I could take it further and give other struggling kids the chance to play guitar.”

When New Town High School music teacher Amanda Fletcher read about the initiative on social media, she knew she had found a home for the surplus guitars gathering dust in her department.

“We have accumulated them over the years, and sometimes we’re able to replenish what we’ve got with newer stuff,” Ms Fletcher said.

“It seems like a good plan to hand the old ones over to someone who needs them.

“My very first job was at the Hobart PCYC, so I have a long association with the PCYC and know that they do lots of really good work.”

New Town High’s donation of 13 guitars and basses is the biggest the fledgling program has received to date, doubling the number of instruments it now has access to.

And it has come at the perfect time, with Ms Bell planning to roll out the program in several other southern Tasmanian schools in 2019.

“It gives kids confidence, and they’re excited to come every time,” Ms Bell said.

“They’re cooperating and learning together.

“It’s a beautiful thing to watch.”

Anyone willing to donate an old guitar can email PCYCguitar@gmail.com or search for Bridgewater PCYC Guitar Initiative on Facebook.

Caption: Kryssy Bell from Bridgewater PCYC, pictured second from left, with New Town High music teacher Amanda Fletcher and New Town High students, from left, Masyn Wilkins, Dylan Vertigan and Oliver Mitchell.

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