Schools add music tech course

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Musicians at Whitefish Schools will get another creative outlet in a new music technology course.

Whitefish High School Assistant Principal Jeff Peck introduced the class to the Whitefish School Board during their May 15 meeting. The board voted unanimously to add the class for middle and high school students.

Peck said the course would focus on using various music-based software to compose music and is open to beginners and seasoned-musicians alike. It will count as a one-semester half credit and will be first offered during second semester of next year. Students will be able to take the course multiple times like band and choir classes.

“A lot of students do this already,” Peck said. “It’s creation, engineering, fabricating, synthesizing — it’s mapping out their own music, and they doing it already and posting it to a place called SoundCloud. So many kids that you meet and talk to about their hobbies and interests, they’ll tell you that this is an inherent interest to them. It’s a desire, something they connect with, and they’re already involved.”

Peck said right now their top candidate to instruct the class is musician Skyler Thoreson.

While he’s not sure how Thoreson will organize the course, it will reach across both WHS and WMS.

“He’s an individual who’s a gifted musician, obviously, but I don’t know what his stamp will be as far as what an end result is for the curriculum. We’re just excited to offer this to our students,” Peck said.

Columbia Falls is the only other school district in the area that offers such a course.

“It’s really just an exciting opportunity for us to add some diversity to our music selection and our catalog for kids to choose from,” Peck said.

Ian Caltabiano, the student trustee on the board, said this course would satisfy the desires of a lot of student musicians.

“There has been a desire expressed for it. There are quite a few students who have been taking online music theory classes, two that I know of, who have expressed the desire for a course like this,” Caltabiano said. “It’s a pretty fantastic opportunity. From the student perspective, it is certainly something that would be at least appreciated, it’s not just something that is speculatively useful.”

Trustee Katie Clarke said she’s happy to see this come up, having heard parents praising the possible addition of the course.

“They’re so excited about this. Their kids asked for the software for Christmas and they do it for hours, so I just want to applaud you for being perceptive of what the students want,” she said.

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