Guitar Class Attracts Both Amateur and Experienced Musicians

Each day during 5th period, six CAC students trade in their pencils and textbooks for guitars and picks. In its second year on the Mountain, Mr. Kaye’s guitar class is offering amateur and experienced musicians alike the chance to deepen their knowledge of notation, strumming patterns, chord progressions and more.

Junior Austin Cook, who did not know how to play the guitar before joining the class, said he has had an interest in learning, but was unable to because of other extracurricular time commitments.

“Since it was offered by the school, it’s basically a free guitar lesson,” Cook said. “I’ve always wanted to take lessons, but I never had the time outside of school. Since it’s a class period during the day, it’s perfect.  Plus, I really like Mr. Kaye.”

Of the six class members, only two have prior experience. Juniors Cole Outlaw and Conrad Fletcher said they signed up for the class because they felt their technical skills could be improved on.

“I took the class because you can never really stop learning,” Fletcher said. “Right now I’m learning how to play finger-style. It’s a new experience as I’m learning how to play the classical guitar, because I can play the electric, but this has a different feel. I love playing the guitar. I guess you could call it my passion.”

According to Mr. Kaye, the class this year is specifically structured to benefit new and experienced players alike. The ensemble notation approach, the method of teaching each note, brings meaning to what the students are learning.

“Notation kind of levels the playing field,” Kaye said. “Most experienced guitarists know how to play, but don’t know notation. When we all come in here together, the true beginner and the experienced player both have something to learn.”

The class also attracts those with musical backgrounds. Junior Ean Burton has been writing music and playing the piano for a few years, and was interested in expanding his knowledge. At this year’s annual school talent show Burton and a friend performed an original piece, with Burton on guitar, playing chords he learned because of the class.

Junior Nick Devitt plays alto sax in the CAC band and was able to transition easily with the notation because of his experience with other instruments. Junior Presley Janes is a talented vocalist, who joined the class because she wanted to eventually be able to sing and play the guitar.

“I’ve learned a lot of new chords and notes,” Janes said. “I’ve learned that it’s not hard to learn a new instrument when you have a good teacher.”