For Iqaluit-based violinist Tristan Alexander, connecting young people in Nunavut to trained musicians in other parts of the world is an opportunity to help them with their healing journey and improve their mental and emotional wellness. (Photo courtesy of Tristan Alexander)

Music program aims to fine-tune youths’ well-being in Pangnirtung

Perfecting Your Perfect makes a personal violin donation and music education to student and Attagoyuk Ilisavik High School

By Meral Jamal

The hamlet of Pangnirtung is championing a new music-based healing program for local youth.

Launched by Iqaluit-based violinist Tristan Alexander in May, Perfecting Your Perfect aims to provide young people across Nunavut the opportunity to participate in music workshops and other arts programs to support their mental and physical health and well-being.

Alexander said he started the initiative to give back to Nunavut. He contacted several communities, and Pangnirtung was one of the first to respond so the program will start there.

He said Mayor Eric Lawlor helped the program get funding from the Government of Nunavut. Attagoyuk Ilisavik High School is providing space and support for free music lessons for all students, and Perfecting Your Perfect donated one of the violins for students to learn on.

All that helped Perfecting Your Perfect launch its first online workshop program, which will be held over 12 weeks this summer.

The introduction to strings workshop is for Nunavummiut youth between grades six to 12 “who hope to start a journey of healing with music education,” Alexander said.

Students will receive private violin lessons online with internationally trained musicians while acquiring technical skills for personal and community mental wellness. As of Wednesday, seven of the eight spots had been filled.

For Alexander, connecting young people in Nunavut to trained musicians in other parts of the world is an opportunity to help them with their healing journey and improve their overall wellness.

“I want to bless local youth in the same way that I have been blessed to meet people that believe in me,” he said.

“You never know which child is going to bloom into a musician, so it’s about creating an avenue for kids to have a voice.”

Alexander was raised in the United States and attended the Manhattan School of Music in New York and studied applied violin performance at the Harlem School of the Arts.

He moved to Iqaluit about six months ago. A registered dental hygienist, he wanted to continue playing the violin while creating programming for youth.

In the long run, he said he hopes to create space and opportunity for more young people to learn various art forms beyond music.

“[Perfecting Your Perfect] hopes to create space for after-school programs, programs at daycares and youth co-op centres where children can practise and take music lessons,” he said.

“The goal is to foster youth into musicians so that they can perform on the largest scale, whether or not they choose to expand their art form locally or in the international community.

“And we will also extend our branches into different forms of arts,” Alexander added.

“It’s painting, physical activities, music engineering — it does not specifically have to be music, per se.”

To thank Pangnirtung residents for their support, Alexander will perform in the community June 25 at Attagoyuk Ilisavik. He will play excerpts from his Tribute to Rihanna Concert, music inspired by his home country of Barbados.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Jennifer on

    A well done photograph. So many artists advertising themselves end up with silly looking photos, but this one is perfect. Besides aesthetics, music taught me a feeling that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Its hard to explain because its not adrenalin, or love or hate. There is something in the rhythm that effects the heart and breathing, and doing it in time with other people is the feeling I can’t find doing anything else. Whoever teaches music to kids are literally gifting them something they will never forget.

    • Posted by Tristan Alexander on

      Thank you for the compliment on the photo. It was my first photoshoot as a solo violinist.

      Im happy that you can empathize with how music resonates the soul ❤️

      This kids are so well-inclined that they are already playing large portions in day one already. I’m impressed beyond words!

    • Posted by Markus on

      Thank you very much for your excellent comment, Jennifer. It is so true that playing music is inspiring to heart and soul of the musicians as well as as the audience. Thank you to “Perfecting the Perfect”, your project is offering a beautiful opportunity for young Inuit to find a lot of joy in very challenging time for our youths. Thank you Tristan, for having done an amazing job of inspiring the young musicians with your passion and love for music. And most of all, thank you to all the young violinists for having given us such a great concert in Pangnirtung. Wishing you all good luck.

  2. Posted by Colin on

    For many years playing the fiddle and also the accordion used to be an integral part of Inuit culture. There used to be two great fiddlers in Iqaluit, brothers from the western arctic, Eddie and Steve Kikoak. A revival. including a serious music program in the schools, would do much for young people.

    • Posted by Tristan Alexander on

      Thanks for sharing Inuit history ?? A revival indeed. Chatting with some residents, I’ve been told that worships came to a halt since the pandemic and I’m reigniting the music scene here!

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