Tune in: A New Guitar Class Coming Soon

Tia Petrzilka, Staff Writer

Recently, the Fine Arts Department decided that they would add a new class for students to enjoy: a guitar class will be offered during the 2015-2016 school year.

An intro to guitar class will be a part of next year’s curriculum. Students will learn the basics on the acoustic guitar.
                                                                                                                         Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
An intro to guitar class will be a part of next year’s curriculum. Students will learn the basics on the acoustic guitar.

LHS is known for its outstanding opportunities academically, artistically, and of course, musically.  Whether it’s math team, swimming, fashion design, or orchestra, LHS has a variety of activities, allowing each student to find at least one thing they can enjoy.

Dustin Helvie, the supervisor of the Fine Arts Department, explained why this class made the cut for next year’s curriculum.

“We have wanted to expand the offerings of the music department to the general student body not participating in an ensemble.  We also offered an electronic music course this year that has been very popular.  Highland and Oak Grove both offer guitar and we wanted to continue a guitar course at LHS.  The idea has been in the works for only a short time,” he stated.

Teacher Matt Karnstedt, who is currently involved with LHS Band, Jazz, and the new Electronic Music class, is expected to teach this new course.

“It’s not 100% set in stone that I will teach this class next year, but it would be a cool opportunity for me to challenge myself in teaching the class. It’s also a great opportunity for students that want to learn about music without going through the typical band/orchestra/choir route,” explained Mr. Karnstedt.

The class will be perfect for aspiring musicians, professional air guitar players, and especially good for seniors who have yet to fulfill their fine arts credit.  No experience is necessary to enroll in the course.

Sophomore and current guitar player Jasmine Li, who is considering adding this class to her schedule, offered reasons it could be beneficial.

“I think it will be a good new hobby for students. It’ll also allow students to be able to play their favorite songs and even make new friends through their ability to play guitar,” stated Li.

The aim of the course is “to deliver a music education to anybody that has any interest in creating and learning about music, regardless of experience” and “[the class] is a great resource for students to take advantage of with little prior musical knowledge,” stated Mr. Karnstedt.

The main focus of the class will be to educate students on the acoustic guitar, which will be provided by the school, including key aspects like note-reading and the learning of chords.

According to Mr. Helvie, more advanced musicians may not want to take this class because it will only cover the basics.

“This is a basic-level course and though all students may take the course, it may be too basic for some students,” he explained.

Karnstedt further elaborated on the curriculum of the class.

“The musical skills that they will learn will be pretty broad, and students will be able to tailor the course goals to their own skill level and interests. The course will cover basic guitar playing techniques, chord progressions, and some basic theory, as well as general music appreciation topics such as contemporary music history, important guitar players and influences, and possibly other topics,” provided Karnstedt.

Despite the fact the this class will merely be an introduction to guitar class, advanced players might still consider taking the  class because of its simplicity in certain aspects, the element of individualism and flexibility in the class, and the fact that they can still learn something new.  For example, a student may not know how to read notes, only tablature, or they may not be aware of historical elements of music.  Mr. Karnstedt explained why he thinks advanced students can and should experience the course.

“I think that they (advanced players) should. Most of the fun of music is getting together with friends — listening to and talking about music, sharing artists/bands, and teaching each other. Advanced students will have the opportunity to share their knowledge with their peers while enhancing their own abilities. Similar to the Electronic Music course, this class will have a fair amount of projects, with which beginning and advanced students can achieve their goals according to their skill level,” offered Mr. Karnstedt.

The class will offered each semester, one period a day, but depending on enrollment or a high demand from students, this could change.

It will be located in the MIDI Lab (room 194), otherwise known as the choir room, which is surrounded by the rest of the music classrooms.

“I think music plays a vital role in everybody’s lives, whether they choose to recognize it or not. I meet a lot of people who later in life look back and wish they had done something with music, even if it wasn’t playing in the band, or say that they wish they could do something music now. Guitar is a universally recognizable instrument, and with only a little instruction, one can begin to write basic chord progressions and songs,” reflected Mr. Karnstedt.