Coalition kids learn guitar basics

John King instructs students

There is an air of excitement on a quiet Monday afternoon in the Coalition’s Center for Women and Families TV/family room. Since February 15 of this year, guitar teacher John King has visited the Coalition each week with hopes of instructing homeless teens in playing his instrument of choice.

Thanks to a generous donation by Dr. Jogi and Dr. Annie Pattisapu, guitars have recently been distributed for Coalition teens to borrow and practice playing. In order to obtain lessons, students were required to sign a promissory note that they would take care of the guitars. One student, Alex, exclaimed that if she could keep the guitar it would be “a dream come true!” Even if this gift is temporary, she is still grateful to have a guitar to practice with. In fact, according to her doting father, Alex dutifully plays her beloved loaned instrument every other night!

“It’s a wise move before you put down money for something [like] piano lessons or dancing or anything. You want to make sure they are going to take to it. You don’t want to put something on them that they don’t want to do. We heard Alex really wanted [this opportunity],” the proud father explains.

Already several weeks into their guitar lessons, four children at the Coalition are rapidly grasping the basics of guitar, including knowledge of the six strings and select musical chords. During the start of a recent lesson, King demonstrated how to tune the guitar and allowed the anxious kids to give the electronic tuners a try.

King quizzed the students, “If [the note is] flat, what does that mean?”

Ten-year-old Alex replied excitedly, “We need to tighten it!”

John has been teaching guitar for about two and a half years, but this experience offered something new: this is John’s first time teaching homeless students.

“I knew they needed it. I also wanted to learn from them,” King asserts, passion for the instrument and for meeting the needs of children evident on his face.

The students are anxious to learn from him as well.  Despite having a lot left to discover about the art of guitar, the students show a great deal of ambition towards learning this instrument. When one student was asked about his guitar aspirations, he claimed his goal was to eventually learn to play Survivor’s hit song “Eye of the Tiger.”

Do you have a skill you’d like to share to help a neighbor in need? The Coalition is always open to those who wish to share their time and talent! Please visit our website  for more details on getting involved and giving back.

Ten-year-old Alex flaunts her guitar