New semester classes to replace Music Appreciation

H Hip Hop and World Drumming, H Music Experience-Ukulele, Rock and Roll


Frank Rodriguez

Mr. Comiskey discusses the Grammys with his Music Appreciation class.

By Brenda Ocampo and Frank Rodriguez

For the 2018-19 school year, the Music Department has decided to replace Music Appreciation with four new semester classes.

Students will be able to register for one of two pairs of semester courses: Hip Hop Studies and World Percussion, or Ukulele & Songwriting and Guitar Rock & Roll and The Blues.

Each pair of classes will be under one course code, according to Mr. O’Brien, chair of the Music Department.

“We came to a joint decision that Music Appreciation needed a complete overhaul, and to replace the Music Appreciation classes with classes that we felt students might have more of an interest in,” O’Brien said.

These new classes will be set up by having a different teacher for each semester. Students will be placed in one class, then switched at the start of the second semester.                                                                                                                                                             

Mr. Comiskey will be teaching Hip Hop Studies and Mr. Flygt will be teaching World Percussion. For the other combination, Mr. Payano will be teaching Ukulele & Songwriting. Guitar Rock & Roll and The Blues will be taught by O’Brien.   

The inspiration for these classes came from a discussion with the assistant principal about “ways we can improve and pull out some strengths that individual instructors felt that they could highlight,” Flygt said. In deciding the courses, they were “trying to give the lens of what would a [student] want to take.”

Along with the new classes, Flygt has his own goals for the class that he will be teaching.

“My big goal is of course to meet more students and have fun meeting new students, expose students to some music that they may not be familiar with but also expose them to the physical act of playing an instrument,” Flygt said.

Through his music class, Flygt hopes students will then take other music classes the following year, if they can, such as choir, orchestra and band.

Adam Williams, Div. 957, who is currently in Marching and Symphonic Band, agrees with Flygt that playing instruments in class will be a beneficial experience for students.

“You actually appreciate the music more because you get to play it and make it, instead of just listening to it,” Williams said.

Williams believes that the semester classes are valuable because they let students discover more throughout the year.

“It’s good that they’re one semester each, because it lets you explore more things,” Williams said.

O’Brien advertised the classes as fun and informative electives, regardless of prior music experience.

“It could be somebody with no music experience, somebody with music experience,” O’Brien said. “I think the most important thing is the kid’s interest in that particular class.”

The classes do not have any prerequisites and are not performance based like other music classes.

These classes are perfect for those who simply want a music credit or to have a fun class, but do not want to take a performance class such as band, choir or orchestra, according to O’Brien.

Unlike current Music Appreciation classes, the new semester classes will be honors level courses, with each pair of classes being worth one credit over the course of the school year, according to Lane’s course catalog.   

For those who are planning on taking the class, Flygt looks “forward to meeting you all and showing you the world you never dreamed.”