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Guitars, unite! Whether you want to or not…

Underclassmen+Ethan+Terman%2C+Brice+Rivers%2C+and+Maddie+Sayasithsena+strum+away+in+WS+Guitar+teacher+Keith+Owens%27+5th+period+class.+Guitar+1%2C+Guitar+2%2C+Jazz+Ensemble%2C+ad+Guitar+Ensemble%2C+all+with+varying+skill+levels+and+interests%2C+but+this+year+the+classes+have+been+combined%2C+causing+challenges.
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Guitars, unite! Whether you want to or not…

Underclassmen Ethan Terman, Brice Rivers, and Maddie Sayasithsena strum away in WS Guitar teacher Keith Owens' 5th period class. Guitar 1, Guitar 2, Jazz Ensemble, ad Guitar Ensemble, all with varying skill levels and interests, but this year the classes have been combined, causing challenges.

Underclassmen Ethan Terman, Brice Rivers, and Maddie Sayasithsena strum away in WS Guitar teacher Keith Owens' 5th period class. Guitar 1, Guitar 2, Jazz Ensemble, ad Guitar Ensemble, all with varying skill levels and interests, but this year the classes have been combined, causing challenges.

Jamie Bishop

Underclassmen Ethan Terman, Brice Rivers, and Maddie Sayasithsena strum away in WS Guitar teacher Keith Owens' 5th period class. Guitar 1, Guitar 2, Jazz Ensemble, ad Guitar Ensemble, all with varying skill levels and interests, but this year the classes have been combined, causing challenges.

Jamie Bishop

Jamie Bishop

Underclassmen Ethan Terman, Brice Rivers, and Maddie Sayasithsena strum away in WS Guitar teacher Keith Owens' 5th period class. Guitar 1, Guitar 2, Jazz Ensemble, ad Guitar Ensemble, all with varying skill levels and interests, but this year the classes have been combined, causing challenges.

Jamie Bishop, Features Editor

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When school started a couple weeks ago, there were some concerns about a few of the classes at WS. Some classes, like the WS Guitar program combined two levels in one class which has been difficult for the advisor and the students.

There are several options to choose from if a student is interested in beginning or continuing guitar. There’s Guitar One and Two, Jazz Ensemble, and Guitar Ensemble. With many options available, Guitar teacher Keith Owens struggles teaching two different curricula in one class period.

“They (Jazz Ensemble and Guitar Ensemble) are completely different; one [class] being classically-acoustic based, the other is electric-amplifier based. They can’t rehearse at the same time,” said Owens.

This isn’t the first time that Owens had to work with two classes in one period. Before the administration had Guitar as a class, it was the same situation. Only after a principal recognized the guitar programs’ performances and their work did they get a class period.

“Everything was in one big class; I think we had 40- something people stuffed in that tiny little room,” said Owens. “Jazz would meet before school, after school, or during lunch.”

To fix this issue, Owens will split his two ensemble classes and will move Jazz to the practice room. However, this can be difficult for the two ensembles, because the practice room isn’t soundproofed.

“We will be able to hear Jazz rehearsing while ensemble is out here (in the guitar classroom),” said Owens. “Jazz won’t hear ensemble rehearsing, because ensemble is naturally softer, so we’ll find out [what happens].”

Students struggle with the combined classes as well. Some students, like the people in jazz, haven’t started rehearsing. With Owens’ attempt to fix this issue, they hope it will make the class easier. However, the fact that there are no separate Jazz Ensemble class upsets students who enrolled in Jazz Ensemble but aren’t getting the experience they signed up for.

“It’s just really frustrating to know that we’re pretty much forced to make Jazz an after-school thing instead of a class like it used to be,” said Vice President of Guitar Jessica Kirby. “I signed up for Jazz Combo, and that’s what I’m technically enrolled in, but that’s not what the class is anymore.”

There are multiple students who are enrolled in both classes and can see the difference between both ensembles. With the combined classes, students who were not previously in Guitar Ensemble struggle with the content. Students who are in both have noticed that the class isn’t as accelerated.

“At this point, the last two years, we would have already gotten through at least five charts, so far, the guitarist haven’t even gotten their guitars,” said Secretary of Guitar Ian Krein.

Even though there are some issues with the combined classes, the students are doing their best to stay positive and appreciate the effort that their teacher, Owens, has put into this course.

“Mr. Owens is doing everything in his power to make this a working and fun year by staying after school to work with jazz as well as working from home on organizing the music for both groups despite also being part-time at another school,” said senior Thomas Callahan.

 

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Guitars, unite! Whether you want to or not…