Peanut Butter & Jam Rocks the House at John P. Parker

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Madisonville families were grooving and moving during a special presentation of Peanut Butter & Jam, a hands-on, educational introduction to classical music, on Thursday, Feb. 22, at John P. Parker School.

PB & Jam, an initiative of Linton Chamber Music, brings chamber orchestra musicians into schools and community spaces to demonstrate various instruments through play and share examples of classical music with young children. The performance at John P. Parker School was held in collaboration with the Madisonville Education and Assistance Center (MEAC).

“We are always looking for creative ways to engage families outside of school hours,” said Dr. Kimberly Mack, principal at John P. Parker. “Not only does it help our learners who participate, but parents make get to know each other and it connects our school mission to the rest of the community.”

While the music may be classical, participants don’t have to sit quietly as if they were attending a concert hall performance. In fact, they’re encouraged to do just the opposite. As they sit on the floor, close to the performers, an educator leads the students through different movements, dances and beat patterns. He or she may even pass out drumsticks so children can play along.

PB & Jam attendees don’t just have to sit quietly and listen. They take an active role in the music, clapping and dancing, and can touch the instruments after the demonstration.

“Students to get up close and personal with instruments, some they may have never seen before,” said Rachel Curry, literacy program coordinator at MEAC. “Building those knowledge pathways in the brain allows them to build background knowledge critical for reading comprehension.”

After the performance, participants can meet the musicians and ask questions about the various instruments and maybe even try them out for themselves.

This season’s PB & Jam Session is just one of the many ways John P. Parker serves the surrounding neighborhood as a place for community gathering, mingling and education. Keep up with John P. Parker School at parker.cps-k12.org.

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