Healthy Musicianship, Healthy Success

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!

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May 2021 Update

Professional development continues to be a major factor in my work life. With physical visits to campuses curtailed during 2020 (most are re-opening for in-person visits), I spend about 7 -10 hours per week on virtual visits with college admission counselors. The IECA, one of my professional organizations, regularly conducts College Conversations, an hour-long presentation with time built in for Q & A. To date, members of IECA had sessions with the colleges on the chart. Additionally, I added to this list by facilitating sessions in my capacity as the college counselor for the Montessori School of Raleigh where, along with the students, we learned more about UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, the College of Wooster, Queens University of Charlotte, Muhlenberg, Elon, Western Carolina, North Carolina Central, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Did you know UNC Wilmington has a major in Coastal Engineering or that Western Carolina (along with UNC Pembroke and Elizabeth City State) is a NC Promise institution? A NC Promise school’s in-state tuition is $500 while non-residents pay $2500 per semester.

Our virtual world allows for hours upon hours of accessible college information sessions. I had to step back and limit myself to a reasonable number of hours of “college visits”.

I challenge my students regularly to move beyond their comfort zone and during the height of the pandemic, I stretched myself way beyond my level of comfort. I am one of 14 co-authors of Becoming The Shero, an anthology depicting the journeys of entrepreneurs at different stages of their lives. My story is in the Embracing the Pivot section.

Another way I stay current is through my new position at Providence College. As of August 2020, I am the College Supervisor for the School Counseling Program. What does the college supervisor do? I supervise the students in the program during their 2-semester internship at a school, where they are directly supervised by their Site Supervisor, a certified professional school counselor. It is the student teaching equivalent for school counseling.

Reading is a daily pleasure for me. Here are nine books (not in chronological order) that helped me to educate myself about current events and issues of social justice:

  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents ~ Isabel Wilkerson
  • How to Be An Anti-Racist ~ Ibram X. Kendi
  • Stamped From The Beginning ~ Ibram X. Kendi
  • I’m Still Here ~ Austin Channing Brown
  • The Color Of Law ~ Richard Rothstein
  • We Want To Do More Than Survive ~ Bettina Love
  • Down Along With That Devil’s Bones ~ Connor Towne O’Neill
  • Interrupting Racism: Equity and Social Justice in School Counseling ~ Rebecca Atkins & Alicia Oglesby
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race ~ Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

To stay up-to-date on trends in college, career and paying for college, see my list of books under the “Parent Resources” tab.

I challenge my students to be lifelong readers. I am practicing what I preach. What are you reading today?

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