Senior music education major Kayne Edwards is bringing students, as well as a community, together through his Senior Year Experience project, Amp It Up. Amp It Up is helping to establish an electric strings program at Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools (GJPS) in Gahanna, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.
While student-teaching in Fall 2013, Edwards said his cooperating teacher, Kevin Dengel, orchestra director at GJPS, mentioned wanting to start an electric string program in the school district, and had heard interest from parents in such a program for their children to advance their techniques and interest in music. Orchestra student interest surveys also confirmed interest in an electric strings ensemble.
“With the interest of my cooperating teacher, parents and students, I decided that looking for funding to create an electric string ensemble would satisfy the needs and wants of the students and the community,” Edwards said.
Edwards wrote a grant to the Gahanna Jefferson Education Foundation (GJEF) asking for $2,500 in funding to purchase an electric string quartet (two electric violins, one electric viola and one electric cello).
With the grant submitted, Edwards continued to generate interest in an electric strings program by bringing electric instruments, courtesy of Otterbein University, into the classroom to give students the opportunity to learn about and play the instruments.
In January 2014, Edwards and Dengel were awarded the $2,500 grant from GJEF for Amp It Up.
“There was an insane amount of support and excitement about this program,” Edwards said. “I had students and parents coming to me nearly every day asking, ‘Have we received any word on the grant money yet?’ It was truly a rewarding experience.”
While his student-teaching duties have ended, Edwards continues to assist with the project as much as he can, while finishing his final year at Otterbein. He said he hopes the new electric strings ensemble will generate more interest from students, parents and the community in the orchestra program at GJPS.
Though Edwards is unsure of where he will be teaching next year, he does know one thing – he wants to start an electric strings program at his new school.