Final Guitar Class of the Semester

Last day of semester 1: Intro to Guitar 11 from Bryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Though it may not get as much attention on this blog – a fact I hope to erode over the course of the next semester – I am also the guitar teacher at my school, and have just completed teaching the inaugural Introduction to Guitar 11 this past Friday. As a means of celebrating the completed term I set up my laptop in a rehearsal room with iMovie open, and invited students to contribute to a master recording of work they might want to share with the rest of the building, their peers, future guitar students, myself, and anyone else who stumbles upon this page or the link on Vimeo. The results are blended together in the 15′ video above, and are living proof of the often-overlooked talents hiding in our schools.

On his blog a few months back, Dean Shareski said something that I hope will become more and more a part of what happens in our music classrooms – both my guitar classes (2 next semester) and the varied orchestras, vocal jazz ensembles, and choirs under the tutelage of the mightily talented Ed Travato:

If we can show kids that their accomplishments are to be proud of, and that the accomplishments are not anonymous, we can teach self confidence, and true self esteem.

On a daily basis, I am wowed beyond words at the performances, compositions and general talents displayed in our wing of the building that – but for a few concerts strewn throughout the year – go largely unnoticed by these students’ peers, teachers, parents and members of our larger community. And while we do an incredible job of showcasing our brightest academic and athletic lights, the artists (musical or otherwise) in our school could be given much more attention, given that what they often create is kin to magic given their youthful energy, creativity and diverse passions. With the number of students taking guitar doubling next semester – and my proficiency with Garage Band, and iMovie improving daily – expect to hear a lot more from the Music Wing at our school.

Note on the musicians: Though the course is titled “Intro to Guitar,” a few of the players here had some working experience with other instruments or the guitar specifically before the course began. In all, the video is representative of the class’ composition, with approximately a third being “raw” beginners in September (never meaningfully held a guitar), another third with some experience, and a few more who were showing me things on a daily basis.