Guitar Club
Staff: Mr. Brenner

Guitar club started a few years ago being exactly what it sounds like, a large group instructional class on guitar. But over the years it has evolved into something that more resembles an after school performance ensemble or band. We are even thinking about changing the name from “Guitar Club” to an authentic band name that the students themselves will decide on. The reason for this transformation, I believe, is that in guitar club, the emphasis has always been on learning through performance. I do not require music reading, but I do teach all students how to read guitar tablature, which is basically a short- hand notation system specifically designed for guitar that has been used since the Renaissance.

Students learn all the technical aspects of guitar playing, from names of the notes to chords, strumming patterns, scales, and technique building exercises. The guitar club this year includes two percussionists, a bass player, two electric guitarists, a saxophone and a trumpet! The guitar club performs at almost every concert that the Symphonic Band plays in; in fact, the guitar club seems to be the audience favorite at many of these concerts! I personally started playing clarinet in 6th grade, and guitar in 7th grade. This is a crucial time for brain development in children, and developing a love for listening to and playing music at this age will stay with them for life.

There are countless books and research articles that link playing music to increased density of matter in various parts of the brain, as well as increased language and communication skills and slightly higher IQ. Part of the reason for this is that playing an instrument connects many disparate parts of the brain that may otherwise never need to communicate so closely with one another; so practicing music not only improves social and emotional well being, but literally changes the brain into a more powerful computing tool that extends into other aspects of intellectual life outside of music. Anyone interested in the research should start with Aniruddh Patel’s book Music, Language, and the Brain or You Are the Music by psychologist Victoria Williamson