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New music classes attract students at BHS

New music classes being offered at Burnsville High School are popular with students, including many who have not been involved in the music program before.

Burnsville High School offers an extensive music department with several bands and choirs along with music theory classes. Orchestra was added this year along with three other new classes: Piano, Guitar and History of Rock & Roll. Nearly 300 students registered for the new classes, surprising even the teachers.

"Everyone loves music," said Molly Holmes, one of the school's music instructors. "But we didn't know for sure what the response would be and how many would register for the new classes. It is wonderful to see so many more students involved in music at Burnsville High School."

"Not every student who loves music wants to be part of a band or orchestra," said Principal Dave Helke. "We wanted to offer some new classes that would be appealing to students who want a different music experience."

Ezana Abraha, 11th grader, is a student like that. He enrolled in both the guitar and piano classes. "This is an opportunity to learn two instruments that I have wanted to learn," he said. "And I can do it right in school."

Research shows that students benefit in many ways from studying music, said Holmes. It boosts test scores, reading/math skills and academic success. It also teaches self discipline and increases self confidence.

Another advantage, said Helke, is that when students find classes that excite them, then they feel more connected to school and are more successful overall. New music classes may also open doors to future careers for students in music-related occupations.

The History of Rock and Roll class focuses on the history of popular music and its impact on society and culture. Students will study the chronological history of significant rock and roll icons, performers and events from the early 1950s through the present day.

In both the Beginning Piano and Guitar classes, basic notes, rhythms and theory will be taught to give students the ability to play beginning piano and guitar music -- individually and in groups. Piano repertoire will include classical, folk, jazz and pop music, while guitar repertoire will include rock/blues, folk, jazz and pop music. Students who complete these courses will be able to further study any musical instrument and gain the knowledge necessary to form a lifelong enjoyment of music.

Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 10:34