Striking A Chord
Piano Lab Growing in Second Year
Studies abound to support the value of music education as an essential component of a student’s overall education. At Worthington Christian, the opportunities for students to gain valuable instruction and experience developing musical interests and skills have expanded to include the Piano Lab Class for students in grades 9-12.
Now in its second year, Piano Lab, taught by Kim Stevenson, provides a robust offering, with instruction tailored to each student’s musical background and ability, from beginning to advanced. The Piano Lab at WC is equipped with ten high-quality full-size Yamaha digital keyboards and headphones, allowing students to reinforce their skills with independent practice following direct instruction and guided practice provided by their teacher.
Areas of instruction in the semester-long Piano Lab course include music theory, scales, chords, improvisation, and introduction to a variety of styles of music, such as Contemporary Christian, classical, pop, jazz, and others.
Like participation in WC’s other Performing Arts, students can continue to develop their keyboard skills to higher levels by taking the course over additional semesters. Stevenson understands that students join the class with varying degrees of musical background and thus values creating a class that is “low stress. . . [and] all about instilling confidence so [that students] are open to learning more.”
Indeed, students share areas in which they have experienced personal growth: “I learned how to be a better leader and example to my fellow students,” says Nelson Stevenson. He adds, “[My experience in Piano Lab class] has helped me become a better performer with my other areas of music.” Classmate Promyse Hendrix shares that her favorite aspect of Piano Lab class is “[Having] the free time to excuse ourselves to personal keyboards, where we can use our headphones for practice,” and it has helped her develop a “creative mindset in music.”
For Ms. Stevenson, the reward is in “[Being] fortunate to see the ‘light bulb’ moments with the students. . .[and] understand why a song is played the way it is, and understand the roadmap behind a song. . .[students say] that they enjoy Piano Lab because they get to use a different part of their brain.”
In addition to Band, Choir, Orchestra, and Theatre, the Piano Lab course provides a valuable opportunity for students to develop musical skills on the keyboard, working both collaboratively and independently.
The new Piano Lab truly is “music to our ears,” as they perform for their classmates throughout the semester and have the special opportunity to share their music at the end of the semester at a local assisted living facility and in a more formal, end-of-semester performance for family and friends.