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Communications and Marketing

Foresters experience new take on music ed

Music education students showed a whole lotta love for rock and roll recently when they interacted with Sullivan High School’s unique take on teaching music through a rock band.

Foresters in Associate Professor of Music Scott Edgar’s music education classes visited Sullivan on Chicago’s north side to observe the school’s rock band-based music classes—a departure from the traditional music education in band, choir, or orchestra.

A few weeks later, the roles reversed and high schoolers from five rock bands taught by music teacher Andy McGuire traveled to Lake Forest to perform a cover of City and Colour’s “Sleeping Sickness” and other pieces alongside Lake Forest College students, who wrote and performed their own accompaniments.  

“The performances blew my mind,” said Jamie Pineda ’20. “I was impressed that the high schoolers wrote original pieces and sound like an actual band.”

For the music education students, seeing McGuire teaching in action brought a new outlook on teaching music through modern band.

“He lets them form music, and I think that’s so much more powerful than standing at the front of the room and telling students what music is,” said Alexa Andrews ’19. “The students are figuring out how to create music and create something meaningful—on their own.”

Andrews and Pineda were joined by Tim Nichin ’20, Noah Vanderhyde ’20, Reagan Flora ’21, Claire Olson ’20, Hailee Fair ’21, Michael Rodriguez ’21, Brandon Copeland ’20, Cadence Haase ’20, Danial Peron ’21, and Alexandra Tenuta ’19 in this hands-on learning experience.

According to McGuire, the collaboration will be beneficial to their future as music educators. “Paramount to any music teacher preparation program is the ability of the educator to relate to and understand their students,” he said.

To reach the variety of students at Sullivan High School through music, McGuire knew he had to approach music differently through rock bands where they compose their own songs and cover others’ songs as well.  

This opportunity was not lost on Edgar or his students. “It was a top ten music education moment for me—coming together and jamming is what it’s all about,” said Edgar. “My students were able to realize the power of music education.” 

Pineda agrees: “In the future, this different mode of teaching music gives me some ideas for when I am teaching music education.”

—Tracy Koenn ’18

Sullivan High School working with Lake Forest College music education students.