Plant the seeds of music
Back in 2018, Jessica Lawdan really had no idea of what she could achieve now as the new music teacher at High Point Academy (HPA). Her passion for teaching music was all that she needed and the potential was there, she says.

“I felt so strongly that this community has music running in its veins and will only continue to become a place for young musicians to thrive so long as we are given the opportunity.”

This unbridled enthusiasm is rare for most teachers in the school districts of today since music programs are typically viewed as extracurricular activities coupled with dwindling budgets.

However, HPA provided a unique opportunity for Jessica because it is a charter school and is free to make decisions that may not follow neighboring school districts. Yet this freedom offers benefits and sometimes problems, she says. 

“While this can be great, in our case the school was built without a music program. We had a stage space but it was used as a library. Basically, anything besides a music room,” she says.

Although music education as a course is relatively new at HPA, Jessica is fully committed to offering its benefits from kindergarten up to 8th grade. She says that the young toddlers learn to discover what it is about music they love and as they grow up, develop the skills to make it as a group with classmates, or even learn their favorite songs.
Sydney, once such 8th-grader, remembers when she was in 4th grade and how settling for a desktop to rattle off her favorite rhythms would be as good as it gets.

Now, through Jessica's music class, she gets to practice on full-size instruments.

"The fact that I get to play on real drums is amazing. I get to sit in front of this awesome set and learn the beats by listening," she says. "I can honestly learn them and sometimes when I sit down, I totally lose myself and it's a lot of fun.”

The Foundation provided electric guitars, equipment and accessories to HPA. Jessica and her students are overjoyed with the instrument grant and are excited with the learning opportunities that lay ahead.

Classmate, Brianna, thinks having enough guitars for everyone to play has made it much easier because she can learn at a pace that is relaxing and enjoy herself. All of which peaks her curiosity.

In addition, HPA has expanded its music program to include several vocal music and drama clubs to reach as many students as possible.

"I’ve become more creative and I am eager to discover new things. Having the opportunity to sing 'The Lion King' in choir and perform Christmas songs has given me more options rather than just playing a song to earn a grade. I'm actually learning something and it's helpful,” she says.

Jessica believes her students feel very comfortable when in the music room and almost as if it is a "safe haven" where there is an understanding without regard to all the various social circles. Everyone is equal and therefore welcome.

“And the students know that by coming here, we are creating a community where the only thing that matters is the music. Sometimes they come to pick up an instrument and just play for a while.” Jessica says. “I believe that in our music class, my students know how to work together, how to push themselves, and how to make something out of nothing.”
Musical Mischief
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