Should Guitars be Taught in Schools?
As people walk down the city street they are greeted by guitars from talented musicians giving them a break from the constant noise pollution created by the construction down the street and the mass amounts of people all around them. These musicians are just looking for extra change, but some of them are quite amazing. It is hard to find someone of that caliber of musical prowess. The master guitarist should not be such a rare occurrence, for the guitar is a great instrument that is quite easy to learn with a little knowledge and a little practice. Our schools should implement classes to learn this beautiful instrument so everyone could be that man on the street corner, or that girl in your headphones, either way everyone should have the chance to discover their talent for this prominent instrument. Throughout history the guitar is a very prolific instrument. Today it is definitely more popular than brass, or other string instruments. Why is the guitar not taught in schools? This is why it should be.
The instrument is very versatile, for there are many styles of guitars. The electric guitar can boast a wide range of sounds through computer programming and electronic devices. Because of the amount of sounds it is capable of creating, the guitar can accompany fairly well or be the main instrument in rock, pop, country, and many other types of music. Guitars can also boast many styles of play like the more common pick strumming or fingerpicking, or something more extravagant like two-hand tapping as seen in Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher”. In this style people use one hand to hammer on or tap the string and pull off of it. Then use the other hand to tap another note. The last finger can be followed up by subsequent fingers to create a more elaborate sound. At a minimum this creates three sounds very fast, this adds complexity and depth. In the song “Reapers” by Muse it is added to create a more intricate sounding opening. These different styles of play and sounds add to the complexity of the music a guitar can make. This versatility provides a wide range of listeners with a broad breadth of musical interests, making it an instrument one could use no matter what musical preference. This flexibility through genres and styles makes it the perfect instrument to be taught in schools, where students inherently have a wide range of interests.
The guitar’s says a lot about its power to influence people in its use in many influential songs to change people’s minds about issues that affect society. The song “Fortunate Son” by Clearwater Revival uses a catchy guitar to influence people to not want to fight if it was not necessary, which is why we eventually pulled out of the Vietnam War. In the song, singer John Fogerty sings, “It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son, It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no” The song’s lyrics express that the author doesn’t come from a wealthy or higher class family. He does not want to go fight in a war that the people who are in power are not fighting in. This song influenced people to believe the draft system was unfair and that the war they were fighting was not necessary. C.C.R. contributed to the U.S. pulling out of the Vietnam War. Because of this power the guitar has it can be used to convey messages through song. In band and orchestra which are the musical services provided by schools, you cannot convey messages through lyrics, for these styles of music do not have vocalists. Children are missing out on an opportunity to incorporate vocals into their music, but with the guitar this is very possible.
Some may argue that because of the piano’s range of notes, seven octaves compared to the guitars measly 4, and the piano’s use throughout all of history as a prominent instrument, the piano is a better instrument. However, the piano has a very unique sound which makes it only applicable in songs that sound a certain way. The guitar’s applicability makes up the piano boasts 3 more octaves. Some may also argue that the keyboard’s sound can be manipulated through electronic devices just like the electric guitar. This may be true; however, the guitar can create sound through many ways of manipulation, while the only way that a piano can create sounds is by pressing a key in one motion. There is always more to learn on the guitar because new ways of playing the guitar are frequently created, making this the perfect instrument to learn at young age.
As the great Eddie Van Halen once said “A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument. I’m very brutal on my instruments, but not all the time.” A connection like this has to be created by something that the musician has to put time and effort into and something they cherish, like the guitar. He talks about the connection with the instrument, this connection should be at least offered to students who want to learn how to play one of the greatest instruments of all time. The traditional band and orchestra is becoming less popular and needs to be aided by other music.