Since moving to Fayetteville almost four years, creating a new professional network became my greatest blessing disguised as a challenge. Periodically, I want to share the career stories of people I have met along the way. Leaving family, friends, and a career I loved in Rhode Island reminds me “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” ~ A.A. Milne. In sharing these stories of new friends and colleagues, Maya Angelou’s words, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” comes to mind because they have become rainbows in my life. These “rainbows” are not presented in any order of importance; they are equally important.
Kia Walker, a musical scientist who co- owns The Blue Violin Music Education Center, is passionate about the connection between music and academic success. Using the Doctrine of Ethos as her guiding principle, Kia practices a musicianship that addresses the whole person – body, soul, and spirit.
An admirer of the late Whitney Houston, Ms. Walker, disheartened that her idol’s premature death was complicated by substance abuse, began questioning the meaning of success and what it took to maintain healthy success in the entertainment field.
Kia’s belief, “healthy musicianship, healthy success”, is the cornerstone of her work at The Blue Violin. Students learn to read music as part of their lessons, reinforcing one of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, musical thinking. Musical thinking suggests that music improves students’ study skills because of our sensitivity to environmental sounds and the rhythmic nature of music. Students from the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta demonstrate how rap and a civics lesson on the political process combine to make a memorable lesson for all.
An accomplished instrumentalist, Kia plays the piano, violin, guitar, organ, cello, and is currently mastering the flute. Her first love, however, is singing. At a recent B.U.G.s (Between Us Girls) meeting, Ms. Walker opened her presentation by teaching attendees a lively rendition of Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music complete with hand signals. Additionally, she sang a heartfelt Happy Birthday to Jessica Gallegos, owner of Island Girl Cookies.
Kia’s degrees in Psychology (B.A. – Lesley University) and Divinity/Church Music (M.Div. – Campbell University) complement her musical background while benefiting her students at The Blue Violin and the congregation at Good Sheperd Catholic Church where she serves as the organist. Viewing music education as a ministry, Ms. Walker challenges herself to increase opportunities to reach students through music. Earlier this year, online lessons became another method of sharing her love for the power of music with others.
To see Kia in action, visit The Blue Violin at 102 C Person Street in downtown Fayetteville. If you are lucky, you can catch one of her performances at the Marquis Market. Either way, you will be in for a treat!