Kelly Grevler is one busy lady.
A few of you might know her as the guitarist for the Joburg-based band Lacey May.
In addition to this Grevler works at a booking agency and record label, teaches guitar at Assumption Convent, School for Girls twice a week and assists with the COPA (Campus of Performing Arts) Part Time and Band Academy music courses.
But this isn’t enough for Grevler, who recently started a great project in the heart of Maboneng Precinct called Sidewalk Sessions. I caught up with her to chat a little bit about this initiative.
I’m so in love this project, what inspired you to start these Sidewalk Sessions?
I have recently moved to downtown Johannesburg (the Maboneng Precinct) and completely fell in love with the city of Johannesburg, the community and all the amazing initiatives in the area. Since moving in I noticed many young children playing in the streets and I thought it might be fun and very fulfilling for the children and myself to get the girls involved in learning how to play guitar. Music has given me some of the greatest opportunities in my life and I really want to give those opportunities to young people that may not have the financial means. I studied music for a long time and want to give someone the same opportunities i was lucky enough to have
Why the area of Maboneng specifically and why only underprivileged girls?
The sense of community within the Maboneng Precinct inspired me to take a more active role within my community.
The perception of guitar playing is seen as a masculine instrument and young ladies may not give it a chance even if they had the means to pay for lessons. Music enriches lives and I feel that these free lessons can empower and give these young women the confidence to become anything they want.
Music is a universal language and a medium that crosses cultures, do you believe that music (and learning to play an instrument) has the ability to make a difference in an underprivileged person’s life?
I strongly believe that. I believe music is as natural to a society as breathing or our heartbeat. Without music I think we would cease to exist as a civilization. I believe that introducing the idea of learning guitar could change someone’s life and spark a deep passion and love for music and the instrument they may have never thought they had.
What do you think these Sidewalk Sessions need in order to grow and flourish?
I think we just need the amazing community support and enthusiasm to continue; we need the people to encourage the girls to practice, and attend lessons each week.
What is your vision for these Sidewalk Sessions?
The long term goal is to have a fully functioning free music school, similar to that of “The Joy of Music School” in Knoxville Tennessee. Covering a wide array of instruments. With a roster of rotating lectures on a volunteer basis and getting some local established musicians involved.
Where can people find you on the internet/contact you.
Facebook: Sidewalk Sessions Free Guitar Lessons