Aberdeen Corps recruits musicians

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Young people enjoy music lessons.


Students in The Salvation Army weekly music class in Aberdeen, Wash., keep the beat on African drums. From left are Gabby Wilson, Mica Paredes, Katie Johnson and Shalee Deen.

The Aberdeen (Grays Harbor), Wash., corps offers an after-school program of free music lessons, taught by Rob Aszmies, divisional music and gospel arts director for the Northwest Division.

Aszmies starts the class off with learning drumbeats and reading music. About 15 students, ages 9-15, attend the class on a regular basis. Since the beginning of the program a few months ago, they have made musical strides.

The drums are just a starter instrument, explained Aszmies, who also teaches a similar music program for The Salvation Army at Everett. The drums get kids used to reading notes and keeping time, but they are just setting the stage for further lessons on cornet and trombone.

Getting the kids to play in a group is a goal much further down the line, said Captain Premek Kramerius, corps officer. Maybe someday they will be playing carols by Christmas kettles, but for now, the goal is to give the kids a positive and educational experience. “It keeps them off the street,” Kramerius said. “It gives them a sense of responsibility because they need to keep coming back to learn more.”

The Salvation Army is also stepping in to fill the arts education role that schools have traditionally filled. “There have been many studies over the years to show how important arts education is,” Aszmies said. “Concentration, listening skills, coordination, all these different things come from music, and these are things we can get children to learn.”

Eventually, Kramerius said, he would like to see music lessons offered to a larger portion of the community. When the proposed youth center is completed, the Army will be able to offer a larger curriculum of classes and opportunities. From an article by Callie White, writer for The Daily World, Aberdeen, Wash.

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