Music Academy: Bringing out the inner musicianSome programs offered by Farmington’s community education draw a big crowd. Some don’t. Some survive. Some do not.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Some programs offered by Farmington’s community education draw a big crowd. Some don’t. Some survive. Some do not.
Certainly, with more than 50 kids enrolled after just two sessions, the district’s new music academy is well on its way to being a favorite.
Music Academy started in October, just something community education staff thought they would try, said Marianne Feely, who oversees the program.
“The idea being that we wanted to support music in our schools, but we also saw a need and a want for lessons to be held after school,” she said. “So we thought we would try to offer those through this Music Academy.”
At first, the thought was to have piano, guitar and percussion lessons. As it turned out, they also had a teacher come forward who was interested in teaching advanced brass lessons, so they offered those, too.
Apparently, the offerings were popular — after the fall session, Feely was a bit apprehensive because there were more students interested in the academy than there were teachers available to give lessons. But that changed before the winter session, and music rooms throughout District 192 are being used after school and on weekends.
The academy is open to students in grades K-12, and though so far, most of those who have signed are beginners, there are lessons available for advanced musicians, as well.
The largest group — 33 students — are taking piano lessons. Lessons are given after school in all four of the elementary schools.
Three students are taking violin lessons, another three middle school students are taking percussion lessons. There are four students in the advanced brass lessons, as well. And, this winter, guitar lessons are offered in group settings to students in grades 3-5. A total of 14 elementary school kids are learning guitar through that format.
“It’s just been something we’ve been slowly building on,” Feely said.
The lessons are set up in blocks of eight weeks, which run pretty close to the school district’s schedule. Feely said they look to end each eight week course on a “natural break,” such as the holiday season in December and spring break. The question community ed now faces, though, is what to do during the summer months.
“We’re trying to decide during the summer. We’re looking at the demand and how we can best meet that,” she said.
All of the instructors have extensive background in music, be it through years of playing, teaching or both. The lessons are held in the music rooms of various schools around the district.
“We like to use the music rooms. It’s nice because it’s a familiar place for the kids, as well,” Feely said.