Music sparks hope on the streets

 
 
 

Kelly Grevler was a student when she saw firsthand how a new skill could change your life. Performing as a guitarist in a band, Grevler met new people, explored different places and discovered further career opportunities. So she took to the streets of Johannesburg to empower others through music. With her guitar in hand, and a few extra to spare, Grevler began teaching interested children how to play – at no cost.

“I really believe music is a universal language and it’s a language that everybody can understand but in their own way,” Grevler says. This has proved true with Sidewalk Sessions, an initiative the guitarist started in 2013. Children of varying ages, races and backgrounds join Grevler in free lessons. “We get together on the sidewalk and we just play,” she says. Together, they have created a place for growth through creativity in the Maboneng Precinct. “It’s very informal,” Grevler says. “But it might spark something in them that they didn’t even know that they had because they haven’t had access to something like that.”

While offering free lessons may encourage more kids to join, Grevler was hesitant to do it behind closed walls, lest anyone not know they could join. Getting out onto the sidewalk solves that. “Everyone can see what we’re doing,” Grevler says. “Everyone can ask questions and people can get involved if they want to, and they have.” While Grevler is using her passion to enable others, she believes the real talent and ability lies in the young ones. “The sky’s the limit,” she says. “These children can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want.”