Music in Highschool

Senior Aaron Hanny practicing in Menchvilles' Beginning Guitar Class.

Kenzie Goodwin

Senior Aaron Hanny practicing in Menchvilles' Beginning Guitar Class.

Rachel Smith, Staff Writer

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Walking down the music hall, people will often hear the dedicated clamor of instruments blaring in unison. That clamor, is the sound of the few students – out of many – discovering the skillful techniques of music; taking a journey to discover a loud, but fundamental way to express themselves through mind and spirit. The reliance on a high-school education of music is most importantly seen in a majority of musical artists today, who used the foundation to get themselves to where they are today.

A variety of students who start out playing an instrument in high-school, rather than in elementary school, should logically lack the same opportunity students who have been playing for years receive, however this is not the case. Playing an instrument in general has several varying benefits on the human mind; whether it be through its calming effects on the brain, or the fact that the longer an “individual studies music, the higher his/her scores tend to be on both the verbal and math” scales. These benefits also pave the way for “positive self-perception, enhanced coordination, elevated performance skills, reduced stage fright,  and increasing capacity of the memory.”

Though music may come harder to some than others, it provides a wide range outlook into what may become a valuable asset later in life. Whether it takes form in the vibrations of the throat, the strumming of a string, or the beat of a drum, it can come from anywhere. The average time it takes for self taught musicians to go from knowing nothing  to understanding something fairly well, takes up to 20 hours, or the equivalent of 45 minutes a day, for a month, to fully comprehend a subject. In high-schools offering a distinct range of music courses, it encourages and entices motivated students to learn and to seek the needed information to play an instrument, and apply it to daily and future instances.

“I enjoy making music, and enjoy learning new things. Music has always been something that’s impacted my life in a positive way. It helps me stay positive when I play it, therefore I want to learn more about it,”said Senior Kaitlyn Helsel, who has taken advantage of music classes offered at Menchville for the past four years.

Continuing on to confess that learning music in high-school versus self teaching has benefitted her more in the long run, Helsel continued, “I would say learning music in high-school does help, because it motivated me to get a good grade and continue to play, vs. learning on my own, where I tend to procrastinate. I need a lot of help in learning new techniques and skills that I wouldn’t be able to find online.”

Jack Leitner, another Menchville Senior, plays both guitar and piano. In responding to a question about how starting  piano in the later years of his high-school career has effected his skill development, as opposed to his eight years of self taught experience with guitar, he stated that his piano class, “Is different than guitar, it’s like learning something new. Being more difficult than I thought, but being easy enough to still pick it up easily enough.” He advises any new and current students that, “learning any musical instrument is a great thing, I suggest you to practice a lot and learn to actually read music.”

For those looking to take advantage of high-school music classes, Menchville offers a variety of options such as:

  • A-Cappella Choir
  • Show Choir
  • Mixed Chorus
  • Girls Choir
  • Honors Vocal Ensemble
  • Intermediate & Advanced Band: woodwind, brass, & percussion
  • Honors Symphonic Band
  • Intermediate Orchestra & Advanced Chamber Orchestra
  • Beginning & Intermediate & Advanced Guitar
  • Music Theory (Honors and AP)
  • Piano Performance 1,2,3

After-school music clubs the school offers also include:

  • Jazz Band
  • Guitar Quartet
  • Men’s Choir
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