Guitar class will keep hopes alive for solo artists

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes At Salem-Keizer schools, studying music is a progression, with gaps some students find themselves tumbling into. Local students are lucky in that they have the opportunity to start exploring music in elementary school. Beginning in middle school, those students become part of an ensemble. Some discover other interests and some discover being part of a group isn’t their forte. By the time they reach high school, the emphasis is on competitive, group performances. “At that point we start losing people left and right,” said Jim Taylor, director of McNary choirs. To counteract forces that pull students in other directions, Taylor spearheaded an effort to create a piano lab. It began three years ago and is now at full capacity (96 students), with a lengthy waiting list. He sees a new guitar class as filling a similar niche at MHS. “We have a lot of students who tried music when they were younger and never really found ‘their thing.’ The guitar class gives them another chance,” Taylor said. That sort of experience is precisely why student Ryan Cowan picked up a guitar. “What I love about it is seeing other people playing something intricate and beautiful than thinking, ‘Wow, I could do that.’ I won’t stop until I figure it out but, when I do, the feeling is amazing,” said Cowan. Cowan is going...

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