A Music Ensemble class is being offered for the first time to Homeschool students who are looking to further their instrumental knowledge.
The all Homeschooled Music Ensemble class is being held at South Plains College and taught by Brent Wheeler, assistant professor of Commercial Music.
The idea for the Homeschool Music Ensemble class came up when Wheeler was having a conversation with his wife. He runs the SPC Live Ensemble, which is for 10-16-year olds. SPC Live is for students who work on music once a week and then they play in the Fest Week with all the college bands.
“So as I was thinking of ways to reach the needs of the community more, and the outlying communities, I was thinking of ways I could still take that passion and the idea of reaching out to kids who are homeschooled,” Wheeler said. “It just seemed like the next evolution of the program (SPC Live). So really, it all started with the SPC Live concept of getting kids in here to teach them songs. But we wanted to make it a little more elaborate or more in depth by adding a music class.”
This is the first semester for the music ensemble class, which is just for homeschool students. The class is held on Friday afternoons, which typically rules out public school kids. Right now, Wheeler offers one ensemble every week that meets at 1:30 p.m. on Fridays. His class has anywhere from four to eight students, depending on the weeks.
“The registration for this is going to be pretty much open throughout the whole semester,” Wheeler said. “It’s an eight-week course at $40 a month per student.” Wheeler said. “It works out well as far as it’s affordable and it’s only one day a week.”
Wheeler shared in depth what the homeschoolers will be learning about in the program, saying.
“This homeschool class is going to be a little deeper (than the SPC Live). We’re going to talk about specific artists, specific songs, which most of them are going to be in the acoustic genre, such as bluegrass, old traditional blues, American folk.”
He went on to explain that those genres of music are going to go hand in hand with what they will talk about with the artists and music theory. They will also work on learning an instrument.
“But what I found is that the homeschoolers have a pretty rich music tradition in their families,” said Wheeler. “So were just kind of adding to that.”
The homeschool class will get to perform for their families, but also the community as well. Wheeler explained that they are still sorting the performance out.
“I’m waiting for the schedule of the college’s availability, along with their schedules, and likewise we want to pick a time that the community can come see it too so it’s not so inclusive,” Wheeler said.
“I think the important part overall is just getting people exposed, giving this democratic homeschool group together, and just develop a love and passion for music,” he added. “Undoubtedly, with all of my students that I teach, whether they are college, high school, or youth, my homeschool students have more time to really develop and practice. Their individual study at home gives them more time to jump into extracurricular stuff, because they’re not going from here to there that you might see with a public school student.”