SJHS Students Explore Folk Music in Bluegrass Band

Submitted by tiffanie.miley on Mon, 10/25/2010 - 17:10

Students at Springville Junior High have many ways of expressing themselves. One of these is music. There are several music classes at SJHS, but, until now, there has never been a bluegrass band. Bluegrass music is a genre of American folk music that can be played on many instruments, including the violin, viola, base, cello, ukulele, dulcimer, guitar, mandolin, and even the pennywhistle.  SJHS’s bluegrass band meets during Quest Time (SJHS’s new intervention/enrichment rotation program between third and fourth period) on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is taught by Dr. Samuel Tsugawa, who also teaches orchestra class at SJHS. Participating students must be fairly proficient on at least one of the instruments played in bluegrass band.        

Although there is a Folk Ensemble at the high school, no music group at SJHS has solely played bluegrass music.  However, Quest Time, SJHS’s new enrichment program, provided an opportunity for Dr. Tsugawa to have a junior high bluegrass group as well.  Last year, he asked his students if they would like to have the band during Quest Time. Many of them expressed interest, and now bluegrass band is a fun part of the Quest Time program.

“Bluegrass band is fun to teach because it’s fun music,” said Dr. Tsugawa.  Many students enjoy bluegrass music more because they are able to improvise more often and experiment with different playing styles. Ian Lindsey, a ninth-grade cellist and guitarist, said, “I enjoy bluegrass band because I get to make stuff up, and I don’t always have to play what’s on the page.” However, bluegrass band isn’t just for fun. According to Dr. Tsugawa, bluegrass band not only helps kids to have fun with music, it teaches them how to play by ear (without sheet music), and how to play a new and different style of music that isn’t played very often in orchestra class.

Christopher Taylor, SJHS Staff Writer