Lorrie Heagy, program director of Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM), speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during its luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Lorrie Heagy, program director of Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM), speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during its luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

They’re JAMMin’: Music program creates able-minded students

Juneau Alaska Music Matters shares about its mission to Chamber of Commerce

The Juneau Alaska Music Matters program is creating more than new violinists. It’s also creating youth in-tune socially, emotionally and intellectually, said JAMM leaders.

Meghan Johnson, JAMM executive director, and Lorrie Heagy, JAMM program director, repeatedly highlighted this Thursday during a presentation at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. The music program is celebrating its 10th year of partnership with the Juneau School District.

In that time, the program has developed students with higher-than-average scores in math and English, they said.

Meghan Johnson, executive director of Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM), right, plays the National Anthem with high school freshmen who started their music careers in the JAMM program on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. The students were part of the presentation Johnson, and Program Director Lorrie Heagy to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during its luncheon at the Moose Lodge. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Meghan Johnson, executive director of Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM), right, plays the National Anthem with high school freshmen who started their music careers in the JAMM program on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. The students were part of the presentation Johnson, and Program Director Lorrie Heagy to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce during its luncheon at the Moose Lodge. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The program started at Glacier Valley Elementary 10 years ago as a school-readiness program, and it now also operates in Auke Bay and Riverbend elementary schools. All kindergartners and first-graders at those three schools receive regular violin instruction.

“The research behind it is if you have at least two years of an instrumental background, it not only prepares the brain to be successful for academic success but to be a contributing citizen in your community,” Heagy said.

Starting in second grade, the program becomes an optional after-school activity, and students receive a broader musical education.

“We also do music technology,” Johnson said. “We have a recording technology studio at Riverbend. We do ukulele, we’ve done hula, musical theater, all sorts of other opportunities and exploratories for students.”

“In addition to the academic readiness that we are reinforcing, we are also working on trauma-sensitive practices and reaching the social, emotional needs of our students,” Johnson added. “So that in all that we do, we are developing citizens who will contribute to society.”

At the end of the talk, seven members of JAMM’s inaugural class performed a song about Juneau. Raven Homeschool ninth-grader Jemima Verebasaga was one of the first kindergartens to go through the JAMM program. She told the audience that music is one of the only ways she can “truly express” herself.

“When I’m having a rough day, I just listen to music, play music and I feel so much better,” she said.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

A king salmon. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Biden administration advances bid to list Gulf of Alaska king salmon as endangered or threatened

Experts say request could restrict activity affecting river habitats such as road, home construction

Mayor Beth Weldon (left), Deputy Mayor Michelle Bonnet Hale and Juneau Assembly member Paul Kelly discussion proposals for next year’s mill rate during an Assembly Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members support lower 10.04 mill rate ahead of final vote on next year’s CBJ budget

Initial proposal called for raising current rate of 10.16 mills to 10.32 mills.

Dave Scanlan, general manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, speaks to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on April 13, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Dave Scanlan forced out as Eaglecrest’s general manager, says decision ‘came as a complete shock to me’

Resort’s leader for past 7 years says board seeking a “more office-process, paper-oriented” manager.

The entrance to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.’s Anchorage office is seen on Aug. 11, 2023. The state-owned AGDC is pushing for a massive project that would ship natural gas south from the North Slope, liquefy it and send it on tankers from Cook Inlet to Asian markets. The AGDC proposal is among many that have been raised since the 1970s to try commercialize the North Slope’s stranded natural gas. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Eight young Alaskans sue to block proposed trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline

Plaintiffs cite climate change that harms their access to fish, wildlife and natural resources.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read