The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

Exploring Music

February 17, 2021

A new performing arts class called Exploring Music will be taught at Los Altos High School to make music classes more accessible to students, with an emphasis on a wide range of music genres. Music teacher Elizabeth Boyd will teach Exploring Music, which was introduced during course selections earlier this month. In the class, students will gain experience playing the keyboard in addition to learning the basics of writing, recording and editing music.

The class is slated to meet the fine arts (F) requirement for the University of California A-G subject requirement and will be open to all grade levels. All interested students, regardless of musical experience, are encouraged to sign up for the course.

“As a new teacher, I felt like there was room for more instrumental music courses at the school, so I proposed one,” Boyd said. “I think that music is for everyone, and I would like LAHS to reflect that more.”

Students will be expected to complete multiple projects each semester in addition to weekly instrument practice; possible projects include a social justice presentation, instrument composition and creating an original melody. Although most work will be finished at school, students are encouraged to spend more time outside of class to further develop their projects. Boyd anticipates the primary focus will be on music creation and discussion, with a small amount of writing assignments.

During the first semester, students will develop keyboard skills while getting feedback from classmates, creating the foundations for original work. Since the curriculum is still in the works, the goals for second semester are still being developed. Factors such as interest, class sizes and possible facilities must be taken into consideration before it can be finalized.

Given an in-person return in the fall, she hopes to incorporate more digital resources, as well as tools in the new music building. Specifically, she hopes to utilize the piano lab that is set to finish construction by the summer.

However, if distance learning is to continue into the fall, Boyd said that the class would be doable online since the first semester is focused on individual piano practice and assignments. Students would also still be able to collaborate through digital music, recordings and composition without needing to meet in person.

Through Exploring Music, Boyd hopes students will learn not only skills like marketing, digital music production and sound engineering, but also vital lessons applicable to all fields.

“I’ve seen a lot of students in the past grow in confidence, creativity, problem solving and thinking about things from different perspectives,” Boyd said. “I think communication is big in whatever field you go into, within your class or outside with professionals in your fields.”

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