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Heartbeat Music program inspires young musicians, proves dreams can become reality

Heartbeat Music program inspires young musicians, proves dreams can become reality


Navajo youth know droughts too well being in the desert, but as far as music, the Heartbeat Music program ensures young Navajos there won’t be anymore.

In Crownpoint, at the Navajo Technical University campus, the Heartbeat Music program offers a variety of music classes to tell the students it’s not just non-Natives who can be musicians playing in places like Carnegie Hall.

The programs executive director, Sharon Nelson, Navajo, said, “What they see on media is like––especially playing a European instrument is a Bilagáana, and they’re like, ‘I can never do that,’ but if we present to them somebody like Sage or Delbert and they say, ‘No you can do this,’ it really boosts their confidence.”

Sage Bond and Delbert Anderson are Navajo musicians who teach classes for the program showing the young and beginning musicians. They were once in their shoes too.

The musicians that make up the program’s teaching faculty are esteemed artists, half of whom are Navajo.
Nelson said many of the students in the program have been returning students, and some she’s seen grow from young girls into young women.

Not only did Nelson see the students grow up, but she’s also seen them grow emotionally and mentally strong with their instruments.

“We have students who have come with behavioral problems, but through loving them and seeing them as an individual and telling them, ‘We can see you, and it’s OK, and we love you for the person that you are,” Nelson said.

Read the full story in the June 1 edition of the Navajo Times.

About The Author

Kianna Joe

Kianna Joe is Bit’ahnii and born for Kinyaa’áanii. She was born in Gallup. She received first place for best editorial in the student division for the 2022 National Media Awards. She is now an intern for the Navajo Times, covering matters in the Phoenix Valley while attending school at Arizona State University.


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