Guitar class opens world of music to more students


Senior EliJah Bynum practices a song during a recent guitar class.

Deanna Hampton, Staff Writer

Our musical programs consist of a variety of options, and plenty of them have been shown their share of attention. Choir, band, orchestra, even a keyboarding class, but there’s one that may spark your interest in solo music. 

The class began 10 years ago when Band Director Mark Danielson came up with the idea with a former teacher.

Any student who wants to learn how to play the instrument can sign up. No special experience is needed. Mr. Danielson even has several classroom guitars for students to use if they don’t have their own.

“The only real trait to have is to come in with a positive attitude, and a desire to have fun learning something new,” he said.

Learning the guitar can have many positive outcomes.

 “Some main components would be learning something new, gaining the ability to play songs almost immediately, playing for family and friends, and acquiring and using this knowledge for the rest of your life,” Mr. Danielson said.

It can even help academically.

“Reading music and playing an instrument uses both hemispheres of your brain simultaneously,” Mr. Danielson said. “Therefore, a students’ math and reading skills will improve over time.”

Being born into a musically inclined family, Senior E’lijah Bynum had been wanting to learn how to play guitar ever since he was 13.

“Music has been in my family for generations, I adopted my passion for music from my father,”  Bynum said. “All my brothers play drums, except my brother Calvin, who plays clarinet. While my two sisters sing and dance. My mom, although it was when she was younger, used to sing in a group called Unity.”

His biggest inspiration to enroll in guitar class was from those around him. Even referencing his experiences in the choir that he’s been a part of since sophomore year.

“Choir helps me learn the notes, as well as teaching me how to look at the music,” he said, “Because if you don’t look at the music, you don’t know what you’re supposed to be playing, and you don’t know what kind of note it is. It’s very important to look at the music. After all, it’s easy to sing or play your instrument. But without reading the music, you don’t truly know what you’re playing.”

The students have already been learning songs like “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and  “Are You Strumming?”, as well as other songs from a folk song book.

“I believe there are many benefits to this class, to me personally I do plan on going to college to be a music teacher,” Bynum said. “And when I’m finished I’m looking forward to coming back to the high school and assisting Mrs. Reinhart (choir director), and Mr. Danielson with their classes.”

Although he is the teacher, Mr. Danielson also has found benefits from the class.

“Guitar class has helped me become a better musician and teacher because I am learning at the same time my students are learning,” he said. “It’s really an awesome thing to have happen.”