Charles Evans elementary students are rocking out Monday afternoons.
About a dozen fourth and fifth-grade students meet weekly after school to learn to play the guitar from music teachers Patti Green and Paula Brinkley.
Beginning students work with Green to strum chords. Students who have prior experience work on picking notes with Brinkley.
“When I play the guitar, it makes me feel better when I don’t have anything to do,” said fifth-grader Kris Henson.
The teachers utilize online materials to create lessons. One site is www. littlekidsrock.com , which includes videos on how to play several different instruments.
“It’s great because at the end, they get to play with a band,” Green said.
The program began when Brinkley moved to Charles Evans after Franklin Elementary closed three years ago.
“I just thought it would be fun if a few wanted to stay and learn,” Brinkley said.
Students learn to read music as they play.
“Once they can read the music and play the notes, they can learn any song,” Brinkley said.
The experience gained has served as a forerunner for students interested in playing in marching band and orchestra in middle school and high school.
“Anytime they are reading music, it will make them better for band, and they can focus on their instrument instead of reading the music,” Brinkley said.
Students appreciate the chance to learn the instrument they see so often in popular music.
"I like the guitar the best because it sounds the best to me. I like all songs with guitars," Henson said. "I just want to learn so I can play with people and teach people how to play." Mya Gresham plans to be a musician and play the cello like her sister Payton.
"I like playing with strings. The guitar sounds really pretty," Gresham said.