Three-year-old Malachi Hicks loves music. On Wednesday, he got the chance to play his favorite instrument, a tambourine, at a weekly free music class hosted by Howren Music Co.
Every Wednesday morning, the music store is packed with young aspiring musicians. These children, ranging in age from 3 to 7, bounce in anticipation for that week’s class.
The store created the program to spread musical awareness to young children, said Julie Howren, business administrator for the store. Professional musicians teach the classes, which are held once a week in June and July. Each week features a new type of instrument.
“He gets very excited when he learns about what the instruments are the next week,” said Malachi’s father, Ben Hicks.
Howren said many of the children attend repeat sessions and the series has grown from last year. More than 20 children typically show up every week, she said.
“I wanted to give back to the kids so they know what a trumpet, a tambourine, a bass is,” she said. “We plant the seed, so in middle school they have an idea of what musical instruments are.”
Henry Davis, bandleader at Bruns Academy, a pre-kindergarten-through-eighth- grade school near uptown Charlotte, taught the children the names of percussion instruments and how to play them during the most recent class.
“My favorite part is watching students have those ‘aha!’ moments,” said Davis, who has a percussion performance degree from UNC Charlotte. “You can see them learn – it’s rewarding.”
He added the hardest aspect of teaching young children is to keep them interested, so he strives to be interactive and engaging.
“We don’t hit the instruments,” he told the children when introducing the drums. “Hit is what happens if your little brother or sister gets on your nerves.”
Howren Music opened 65 years ago, said Dennis Howren, the son of its founder, John B. Howren. Dennis Howren now operates the store, which has three locations: in Charlotte, Pineville and Gastonia.
The store sells musical instruments and sheet music and offers private and group lessons, he said..
He said he grew up in a family that emphasized the importance of music education, which is why the summer series started last year.
“It’s great because you continue the gift of music,” he said. “You’re passing it along to the youngest generation and hope they continue it.”
Jenna Hall has brought her two sons, Gavin, 5, and Lucas, 3, to many of the classes.
“They both love music, so that’s why I wanted them to come,” she said as she chased the boys, who had discovered the guitars, across the store. “Obviously their favorite part is getting to play.”
Crampton: 704-358-5112; Twitter: @liz_crampton
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