The Student News Site of Homewood High School

The Homewood Tricorne

The Student News Site of Homewood High School

The Homewood Tricorne

The Student News Site of Homewood High School

The Homewood Tricorne

New class introduces students to guitar

Students+in+the+first-period+guitar+class+tune+their+instruments+and+strum+as+they+warm+up.+
Emerson Buck
Students in the first-period guitar class tune their instruments and strum as they warm up.

Nathan Carlson, HHS social studies teacher and bowling coach, is sharing a lifelong passion with students this year. 

His intention behind starting the Intro to Guitar elective was to create another way to express musicality outside of band and show choir. 

“Band is cool for people who want to make music, but not every person interested in music has the time or desire to give four years of their life to be in the band,” Carlson said. “I pitched the idea and the administration was really cool about it. We made it happen.”

Carlson was a drummer and in a bunch of bands in high school and college, but he picked up the guitar as a quieter way to express his passion for music. And so far, he is pleased with his students’ progress with picking up the instrument. 

“I was really impressed, happy, and elated last week, with 15 school days, they could sit on their porch and play,” Carlson said. 

The saturation of this class makes learning much quicker. Forty-five minutes every day of the week has caused students to grow rapidly, but freshman Edwin McBride credits Carlson’s attitude for the students’ fast improvement.

“Coach Carlson is a very good teacher,” McBride said. “He is very energetic, so I think he is great for a guitar teacher.”

Beginning with the first nine weeks, the focus has been learning the basics of guitar such as chords and strumming patterns. The second nine weeks have more of a focus on writing music. Students will have the ability to write their own songs.

A typical day of class begins with discussing music styles and techniques, tuning guitars and playing around and warming up. Carlson demonstrates whatever they are doing that day, puts on a metronome to keep time and tempo, and learning begins. 

The class is teacher-driven. On average 40 minutes each day Carlson is wearing his guitar and students are sitting with theirs, learning songs, chords and a variety of things. 

There is some independent time, but the class as a whole learns together. As students progress, performance will be implemented into the class. 

Carlson notes how performance is nerve-racking for many students, including himself, but he says the class is so positive and uplifting performing is less stressful.

“None of us are pros, everybody in there is learning it, including myself,” he said.  “It’s a very free environment. It is very supportive.”

There are two prerequisites to the course. Ideally,  students have no knowledge of guitar prior to the class, and secondly, student must provide their own guitar. The class starts off very rudimentary, veteran players may be bored. 

The Homewood Foundation wrote a grant for the class, and from that grant, the school was able to purchase five guitars for the class. If someone forgets theirs or is still trying to get one they get to use those. 

Carlson said there are other teachers in the building vastly more qualified to teach guitar than him.

“There are two other teachers. One is Andie Freedman, and one is Mark Helmers. They are freakishly good at guitar,” he said. 

Freedman and Helmers are very supportive of him. They support him the way the class supports each other. 

No one in the class is trying to show off. Everyone is working toward the same goal of individual success.

Donate to The Homewood Tricorne
$1370
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

If you are enjoying our content, please consider donating to The Homewood Tricorne! Your donation will support the student journalists of Homewood High School and will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Homewood Tricorne
$1370
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal