Port Orchard store opens doors to budding musicians

Heidi Jablonski, the manager of D.J.’s Music in Port Orchard, helps Delphine Prange, 5, try out a trumpet Thursday as the Discovery Montessori School visited the store. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Heidi Jablonski, the manager of D.J.’s Music in Port Orchard, helps Delphine Prange, 5, try out a trumpet Thursday as the Discovery Montessori School visited the store.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

Perhaps proving that musical ability can be inherited, 5-year-old Reese Myers easily coaxed sounds from both a flute and a trumpet while most of his classmates struggled to produce anything but air.

“His grandfather is a trumpet player,” said Linda Geiss, one of the teachers at the Discovery Montessori School that Myers attends in Givens Community Center.

Meyers and about 30 of his classmates were at D.J.’s Music store Thursday morning to get a crash course in how to read music, keep a beat and make sounds with several different instruments.

After having the students meet Bill Carter, a local saxophone player who has joined the likes of Ray Charles, the Supremes and Sonny and Cher on stage, store manager Heidi Jablonski explained the basics of high notes, low notes and how to tell which one you should be playing.

“I used to teach pre-school music,” Jablonski said when asked how she seemed so prepared and comfortable introducing more than two-dozen squirming youngsters to the basics of music.

Using egg shakers to teach the group how to keep both quick and slow beats, Jablonski next gave each kid a chance to blow into a flute and trumpet, then play a violin.

“I think we’ve got some band members here,” she said, impressed as some of the students marched right up to the violins she offered and rubbed the strings smoothly to make sounds instead of scratches.

For some of the students, like 5-year-old Delphine Prange, Jablonski had a tiny violin designed for shorter arms and often used to introduce children as young as 3 to the instrument.

Karen Nelson, the director of the school, said the students have a six-week session during the summer after having three weeks off in June, and before another three weeks of vacation in August.

“We come here for our music curriculum, which we do every third summer,” said Nelson, explaining that the school alternates subjects every three years and spends the other summers teaching the children about chemistry and plants.

Back at the school, Nelson said the students — who range in age from pre-school to sixth-grade — will learn piano, guitar and singing in the school’s music room.

Operating out of Givens for the past 12 years, the school has been open for 27 years, she said. Last year, about 100 students were enrolled.

Geiss described the school’s teaching philosophy as one that provides “hands-on” learning and focuses on individuality.

“They work at their own speed and at their own level,” she said.

Jablonski, who has worked at the store for a year, said the staff has been trying to get back into hosting such events after losing the store’s founder, Donald Joseph Watson, to Parkinson’s Disease earlier this year.

“Now we’re doing whatever we can in the community,” she said, explaining that the store is the only one nearby where kids in South Kitsap can rent instruments for music lessons.

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