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Grammys Indicate JISD

Impact in Music


When it comes to music, teacher Bonnie An-

derson doesn’t wait for her students to do things like

grow tall enough to reach their instruments, or learn

to read notes.

“I don’t rely on teaching kids to read a traditional mu-

sic staff. If I had to wait for that to do a song then the

music would never get played,” the Coronado Village

teacher said with a laugh.

As for the instruments she uses, like Zimbabwean-

style marimbas that tower over her elementary-age

students — well, that’s what stools are for.

For Anderson, there is one thing you don’t do when

teaching music: what everyone else is doing.

For proof, you could walk into her classroom and see

the posters she’s put up as part of her own music no-

tation and rhythm system, designed to help students

play music with-

out having to

learn tradition-

al musical

notes. You

could visit

events like the

San Antonio

Rampage game

where her ele-

mentary stu-

dents have per-

formed pop

tunes on Afri-

can-style ma-


Or you could

just see what

happens at this year’s Grammy awards.

After a lengthy nomination process, Anderson is in

the running for a Grammy Music Educator Award

and is currently among twenty-five semifinalists hop-

ing to make the top ten. Should she land one of those

coveted spots, Anderson will receive $1,000 with a

matching grant for her school. The winner of the

award will be flown to the Grammy awards and re-

ceive a $10,000 prize.

But for the first time in the award’s three-year histo-

ry, Anderson is in a unique position in that she’s got

some serious competition.

This is the third year, and in the first two years they

didn't choose an elementary teacher among the nomi-

nees,” Anderson said. “This year, they chose two.”

They also chose another nominee from Texas. So

who does Anderson

have to beat?

His name is Alan

Gluckian, a high school

music teacher with Aus-

tin ISD. Oh, and he

graduated from Judson

High School.

“I think it’s really cool

that the only two nomi-

nees from Texas are

both Judson related,”

Anderson said.

While Anderson focuses

her program around

African-style instru-

ments, Gluckian has a

different approach.

“Here in Austin everybody plays guitar, is in a blues

band, plays rock and roll, but nobody teaches it,”

Gluckian said. “Austin is supposed to be the live mu-

sic capital of the world, but when we started our jazz

and blues program, there wasn’t another one out

there. It’s so much fun, it gets the kids interested,

makes it relevant for them. The guys in the blues

band - if that program didn’t exist — all the other

kids, they wouldn’t have been in a music program if

it wasn’t for something like that.”

Both Anderson and Gluckian scraped their programs

together with whatever funding they could get, the

support of parents (who, in Anderson’s case, have

helped repair instruments when their supports threat-

ened to give way), and the passion of the students

they teach.

Bonnie Anderson working with students for

Christmas Concert

Alan Gluckian is a Judson graduate

now working in Austin