By Marianne Holman
Whether up front instructing or on the back row, a new and improved music school in American Fork means opportunity for many college students.
Utah?s largest music school, The Music School, opened earlier this month offering lessons for more than 20 instruments and a chance for college students to teach.
?It is an opportunity for BYU students to get involved with teaching,? said Ray Smith, BYU music professor and advisor to teachers at The Music School. ?There are not very many opportunities for students to teach, and this is an opportunity for some of the students to get some teaching experience as well as provide a good service for the younger kids.?
Although most students at The Music School are junior high and high school age, they aren?t the only ones benefiting from the re-opened school. College students can tap the knowledge of their college professors ? without the pressure of grades.
?We do have a lot of college students that study here,? said Caleb Chapman, president and founder of The Music School. ?Most of our ensemble staff actually teaches at Brigham Young University as well, so they get the benefit of being able to study with professors without the high tuition cost and the grades associated with it.?
The 7-year-old Music School, formally known as The Crescent School, changed locations in an effort to upgrade amenities and make room for more students. Soundproof walls, recording booths and a recital hall are among some of the new features at The Music School.
?It was built specifically as a music school, we have integrated a lot of the latest technology into the teaching facilities as tools for our instructors,? Chapman said. ?It?s more than just more space, its adding technology and additional capability to what we are doing.?
The new 16,000-square-foot building replaced the former 4,000-square-foot-building the school used to be in, allowing the school plenty of room ? with room to grow.
?We have around 700 enrolled students,? Chapman said. ?In this new facility we have the capacity to hold around 1,800 students.?
Not only will the building allow for more students, but more amenities for those students. Every classroom in the facility is equipped with new technology, including iMac G5s and soundproof walls. Along with the additional technology, the new building has a performance hall with the capacity to hold up to 300 to 400 people.
?The new school is an opportunity for young people to learn and accelerate with really good teachers and perform a lot,? Smith said.
The school utilizes a 7-year curriculum students can progress through, like the belt system in karate, Chapman said. This system helps students set goals to work for, as well as helps students perform better and progress quicker. More than 60 instructors lead lessons for the various instruments, along with group participation opportunities.
?One of the biggest things that makes us different from other places a student might study music is that we also augment the private instruction with ensembles,? Chapman said. ?We have everything from rock bands, to jazz bands, to string quartets.?
Classes taught at The Music School are on a semester basis, much like college courses. The semester costs from $300 to $400, depending on the instrument and skill of the teacher. The tuition includes a master class, theory and recitals.
The method of teaching at The Music School seems to work well for students of all ages.
?I don?t think if I didn?t take from The Music School I would be able to play very well at all,? said Suzanne Lind, a 15-year-old at Lone Peak High School. ?The teachers there know what they are doing and play your instruments very well.?