Professional musicians work with Clawson band students

Royal Oak Review | Published October 10, 2017

 Ariana Sanchez, Clawson Middle School seventh-grader, plays the viola during the workshop with the Moxie Strings.

Ariana Sanchez, Clawson Middle School seventh-grader, plays the viola during the workshop with the Moxie Strings.

Photo by Deb Jacques

By Kara Szymanski
C & G Special Writer

CLAWSON — Clawson band students had the chance Oct. 3 to hear and perform music with a professional trio called the Moxie Strings.

The Moxie Strings visited the Clawson High School and Middle School bands at the high school for a pair of two-hour music clinics — one session in the morning for the high school and one in the afternoon for the middle school.

“I saw a poster for the music group and looked them up. I thought it would be perfect for the students and give them a great opportunity to learn and grow,” said Tavia DiSalvio, the Clawson Schools orchestra teacher.

The Moxie Strings is a Michigan-based trio that performs both inside and outside of its clinics. Originally formed in 2007, they have conducted clinics through the United States and internationally. The trio is composed of Diana Ladio playing a five-string violin, Alison Lynn playing the electric cello, and percussionist Fritz McGirr.

Each session allowed the students to contribute to a song written by the entire band class during the clinic, starting with the chords, melody and even an arrangement of the strings. Later that night, the high school and middle school students returned to the auditorium to meet with the Moxie Strings again and perform what they had learned from the clinic.

The group talked about the importance of the children learning that there are opportunities out there other than one instrument or being limited to what you are taught in band class. They taught about musical “self-discovery” and creativity throughout their lessons.

“As instrumentalists, you can play anything you want.” Ladio told the students.

The clinics focused on discovery of one’s musical abilities and the importance of incorporating music in the classroom to which students can relate.

Many of the students felt inspired and that they had learned a lot during the two-hour clinics.

“I felt like there was a connection between us and the music group, like they cared more than other groups and teachers. They did very well, and I liked how they used more than one instrument, including the stomp sound maker,” said Ava Macneill, a student at Clawson Middle School.

The music group used unique activities to break down the music into interactive, step-by-step tutorials to ensure that each student understood. It made it easy for students to catch on and provided them with plenty of time to ask any questions.

“I like how you could ask them anything when you needed help, and they broke it down to guide you and would start over to walk you through it if you didn’t understand,” said Ava LaMotte, a student at Clawson Middle School.

The Moxie Strings stood before the students as role models and examples of the careers available in the music industry today.