September 28, 2012 2:32 pm
Updated: March 22, 2013 12:10 am

Sherwood Park students expanding musical horizons with unique music program

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Students at a Sherwood Park High School are taking their music education to a new level, thanks to a unique music program. Now, the creative music program at Bev Facey High School is expanding, thanks to the addition of a professional calibre recording studio.

The creative music program began four years ago with just 18 students. This year there are more than 100 students enrolled in the program.

“When I took the class I thought it was going to be your typical music class where you learn the recorder,” Grade 11 student Payton Klassen said with a laugh.

“We try to be innovative and creative in our approach to music here. We want to be able to offer music programs beyond just the traditional band and choir,” explained music teacher Michelle Engblom-Reid.

The program gives students the chance to play modern music, as well as write, create and now, record their own work in a brand new recording studio.

“With this recording studio it’s giving us an opportunity to actually have a good sounding recording of what you want to put out,” said Grade 11 student Aiden Vandenberg.

The school was given an $8,000 grant by the Strathcona County Council to pay for the recording studio, which was just set up over the last few days.

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“Kids are really excited to use it. There’s actually some bets on who’s going to use it first,” said Klassen.

Many students enrolled in the program hope to pursue a career in music. Their music teacher says the recording studio is a great way to do so.

“Students will come in, they’ll do cover tunes, they’ll write original music, their own music. They’ll be able to go down to the recording studio and professionally record it. We’re using professional gear and professional software,” said Engblom-Reid.

Students have already started selling their original work on iTunes. They have also been given many opportunities to perform in the community at benefit concerts, the mayor’s office and at Festival Place.

“Students are passionate about music and passionate about also being able to own what they do,” said Engblom-Reid adding, “We also talk about the music business, how to promote yourself as a musician, how to market yourself, how to use social media to help let people know about your work.”

Students have seen former classmates go on to pursue music careers and are very appreciative of the opportunity they have been given through this program.

“It’s amazing. I look forward to it every day. What class have you heard of that you can actually go out and play music for a quarter of a day?” said Vandenberg.

“For kids, especially in high school, to experience that kind of opportunity is amazing. It’s not very often that kids our age get to go in a studio and record and actually learn the business,” added Klassen.

Engblom-Reid hopes the creative music program at Bev Facey will continue to expand in the future.

With files from Ross Neitz.

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