Alison James is a member of Mount Vernon’s Visual and Performing Arts faculty and focuses on strings instruction through the Choice Electives program in the Middle school. The Strings elective offers the traditional orchestra strings: violin, viola, and cello. The class meets 2-3 times every week, the students select the pieces they want to work on, both as a group and individually, for the duration of the elective. This year, most of the Mustangs are beginners, with a couple of advanced students also in attendance. The Strings musicians are evaluated based on the effort that they invest into their instrument study and performance, so the desire and interest are equally as important as actual performance. For anyone interested in pursuing Strings beyond the classroom, Alison also has a private practice for ongoing lessons.
Alison started playing violin in 3rd grade and absolutely loved it. She continued to go above and beyond with the instrument, a dedication that shaped her entire future and career. Alison graduated from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, an institution that consistently ranks among the top-rated conservatories in the nation. With a student body of only 900 students, it’s a highly selective conservatory, accepting fewer than 30 percent of applicants. Post-graduation from Eastman, Alison and her husband spent time in California pursuing graduate degrees. Her husband is a classical guitarist who earned a law degree and now practices in Atlanta.
When not at Mount Vernon or in her private practice, Alison plays consistently with the Atlanta Ballet and Opera, as well as with Johns Creek Symphony. Throughout her musical career, she has also experienced some enviable moments as a member of an orchestra accompanying many well-known artists on stage, such as Andrea Bocelli, Amy Grant, Rod Stewart and Earth, Wind and Fire! To balance her creative side, Alison enjoys endurance racing; she has completed an impressive 15 marathons, 50 half-marathons and multiple triathlons. Beyond these activities, Alison greatly enjoys spending time with family, especially her teenage son and daughter; like their parents, the kids are talented musicians who have a band together and regularly play at various Atlanta venues.
The Strings elective is yet another example of a wonderful opportunity that middle school Mustangs have to explore their creative and artistic side. Thank you, Alison, for your dedication to the Mount Vernon community!