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Inspiring Green Country: Rock Band Immersion

Posted at 8:46 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 21:46:21-04

Students at Tulsa's School of Arts and Science are earning extra credit in a brand new class.

The idea is to use music to help students explore their creativity.

From the first drum beat to the next chord these students work until the sound is right.

Welcome to Rock Band Immersion.

"This is where the kids can explore whatever sounds they want to and work on them in groups and really find their voice," instructor Mitch Gilliam said.
It's an extra credit class at the Tulsa School of Arts and Science which is led by musician and substitute teacher Gilliam.

The first week - 30 kids showed up.

Sebastian Lopez was one of them.

"You can do and be whatever you want," Lopez said.

From 7th graders to seniors they organize bands,     decide on a song to learn, then practice and practice some more for their weekly performance before the whole class.

"Originals that I've heard from people that have been beautiful," Lopez said. "Voices that have been beautiful. Different talents that I never knew people had.. just the discovery of things."

Helping students discover their talents are professional musicians  - like Jacob Fuller.

No pay just expert advice.

"You can just see when it clicks in their head and when they are like, 'Oh, that's what you do and that feels really nice - seeing that light bulb go off in their head," Fuller said.

That freedom of choice is supported by the structure of the class and a little guidance.

"It empowers them - once they learn how to do this small thing," Gilliam said.

It's not about perfection - it's meeting the challenge of performance and developing confidence.

"If you can do what want to with your instrument when you want to - especially if you are very new - it gives you a sense of power that you can start taking on bigger things," Gilliam said.

Bigger things in music and in the rhythm of life.

"It's just the whole thing coming together and then you just see it," student Cassidy Rowe said. "It's just like it clicks. and then, we're like, 'Oh, wow! We are playing!"     

So many bands that they've run out of rehearsal space.

Some are even practicing in the restrooms.

Gilliam gets instruments donated when they don't have what the kids want.

By the way - they really need more instrument cables, so if you'd like to help, call TSAS.

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