Meet Class Notes Artist Lyz Jaakola

by Claire Philpott, Minnesota Public Radio
November 11, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Elizabeth "Lyz" Jaakola is a musician and educator, and an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac band of Lake Superior Ojibwe near Cloquet, Minn. She teaches music and American Indian studies at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

She performs and composes in many styles and genres including traditional Anishinaabe music, jazz, blues and opera. She has performed as close to home as Duluth, Minn., and as far as Rome for the Rome Opera Festival, while her Native-based compositions have also been heard on radio and television. She has arranged many Native pieces for solo and choral performance.

Lyz is always striving to promote Anishinaabe music and education through her collaborations, performances and composition. This past week, she visited seven different elementary schools around the Bemidji, Minn., area, performing for more than 2,200 students. Lyz shared a variety of traditional Anishinaabe songs and instruments as well as the traditions and stories that surround them.

Here is what Lyz has to say about giving educational performances:

"Educational performances are very fulfilling for me as an Ojibwe musician, especially when children are my audience... Having the opportunity to impact "the next generation" in their opinions about Native culture and helping them learn how to listen to Ojibwe music is such an honor. I am very grateful to our elders for passing on the traditions, to the kids for opening their hearts and to MPR for this opportunity."

School visits

  • Cass Lake-Bena Elementary- Cass Lake, Minn.
  • Solway Elementary- Solway, Minn.
  • Lincoln Elementary- Bemidji, Minn.
  • J.W. Smith-Bemidji, Minn.
  • Northern Elementary-Bemidji, Minn.
  • Laporte Elementary-Laporte, Minn.
  • Bagley Elementary-Bagley, Minn.

About the Classical MPR Class Notes: Artists program this year

Classical MPR is now in its fifth year of welcoming in-school Artists who perform, teach and speak about music during visits to schools throughout the state of Minnesota. The Artists are selected because of the quality of their musicianship and their interest in promoting music education.

The 2013-14 school year features seven different Artists:

  • Lyz Jaakola: Musician and educator who is an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac band of Lake Superior Ojibwe located outside of Cloquet, Minn.
  • Silver Spruce Duo: Flute and Harp Duo, who are members of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra
  • Dolce Wind Quintet: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and French Horn ensemble from the Twin Cities made up of educators involved in several local and regional ensembles
  • Artaria String Quartet: Twin Cities-based string quartet who run the Artaria Chamber Music School and Stringwood Music Camp
  • Minneapolis Guitar Quartet: Renowned classical guitar quartet with repertoire ranging from Renaissance to Contemporary and European to Latin American
  • Vecchione/Erdahl Duo: Twin Cities-based Oboe and Double Bass duo with many years experience educating children with their Pages of Music programs
  • Odelia Trio: Newly formed Piano Trio (piano, violin and cello) based in Rochester, Minn., made up of members of the Rochester Chamber Music Society and Rochester Symphony Orchestra

Over the next few months, these seven Artists will give an educational music performance to more than 40 schools in the Twin Cities, Bemidji, Duluth and Rochester areas. The performance includes information about their respective instruments, and the style, technique, history and traditions related to the music that they present.

These performances are supported by curricular materials designed by Classical MPR's Curriculum Specialist that are given to the music teachers in advance for use in their classrooms. Students at participating schools receive an MPR-produced compilation CD featuring performances by the artists, allowing students to hear the different approaches and styles of music.

Classical MPR's goal with these in-school performances is to create authentic and transformative experiences for young pupils that will inspire their creative pursuits, and be a meaningful addition to what they are already learning from their music teachers.

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