Poston Junior High School’s Lindsay Barnes Clove teaches four orchestra classes at Poston Junior High, but she knew there were students who loved music but weren’t being served by the orchestra, band or choir programs. So, she decided to investigate the possibility of teaching a guitar class to reach some of those students.
The school district responded favorably, providing the school with 30 guitars allowing students to enroll in the class for the 2018-2019 school year. Open to seventh and eighth graders, the class filled up immediately for Fall and Winter semesters.
Seventh grader Rebecca Christensen, who already played piano and percussion, always wanted to learn to play guitar. She signed up immediately.
Raeanna Reitzel, another seventh grader in the class, played violin before, but said she connected better with the guitar. Previous formal music training is not necessary to take the class.
The Fall semester class finished the semester with a concert on December 6. Twenty-eight student performers played seven songs, ranging from the classical masterpiece “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven to Bruno Mars’ “Count on Me.” Three student soloists played pieces they chose. One of them, Jaren Pomales, performed his own free composition, while Mikyla Parham and James Delano performed popular pieces they learned on their own.
The district develops the curriculum, which includes note reading on the staff, basic music theory, rhythms, strumming patterns, finger picking, tuning the instrument, reading chord diagrams and playing simple music in a variety of styles. Clove added an introduction to tablature or tabs because many rock, folk and country music guitar players read it.
Beyond the specifics of the curriculum, Clove’s goal is to teach the students the skills to start playing and the tools to be able to continue on their own. She said she also believes the class, and music training in general, gives students “an opportunity to meet challenges and experience growth over a period of time.” She said in our culture of instant gratification, playing an instrument “gives young people a sense of what they can accomplish if they put in consistent effort. Many students grow in confidence as they discover they can do much more than they ever imagined.”
Students interested in enrolling in beginning guitar at Poston in the 2019-2020 school year will find it listed as MU29 in the catalog.