Photo by Ajinkya Rane
Away from crackling campfires, the strumming of guitars can be heard at school in Guitar 1 and 2. Guitar 1 is taught by visual and performing arts teacher Adrian Sanchez-Rangel, while the more rigorous Guitar 2 is taught by visual and performing arts department chair Desmond Stevens.
These guitar classes serve many outlets for the students. Some focus on Guitar as a class to build on previous musical experiences such as singing. Others aim to improve their skills regarding guitar and look towards higher levels of achievement for this instrument. Some students simply desire a method of stress relief.
“It’s a good destresser for me. I get to hang out with a lot of my friends and play music like I enjoy it,” freshman Guitar 1 student Mano Bellamkonda said. “I’ve learned to play my guitar and sing at the same time, and I found a balance that I like.”
Guitar 1 focuses on basic guitar technique, reading sheet music, learning chord shapes and elements of music such as rhythm, harmony and form. The students have also spent a large amount of time devoted to working in groups, promoting collaboration and teamwork.
“I always think back to the first time they tried to press their finger on a string and couldn’t press it down hard enough to get a good sound,” Rangel said. “Now they can play all sorts of melodies and chord shapes including advanced barre chords.”
Guitar 2 students, who have already perfected basic guitar skills, have been delving into more complex skills that involves a specific genre of music. These students have been exploring musical styles such as country, blues, classical and doo-wop throughout Guitar 2 students’ second year with their instruments.
But most importantly, as sophomore Guitar 2 student Austin Truong said, “I took Guitar 2 because I wanted to continue making and playing music with my friends who share the same passion as me.”