Asheboro City Schools News Article

Rockin' Out at the NAMS School of Rock

NAMS School of Rock

If there is one thing that can bring people together, it is a shared appreciation and love for music. For centuries, every known culture has had some form of musical influence. From the biblical Psalms to rock concerts of today, music is a language that transcends all barriers. Over the course of history, people have found commonalities through music.  

North Asheboro Middle School (NAMS) Art teacher, Mr. Hopkins, keeps electric and acoustic guitars in his classroom. “For as long as I can remember,” said Hopkins, “students have enjoyed coming to my class before school starts and jamming out. Ms. Longerbeam, our band teacher, and I realized we needed to create a space for students to explore this interest,” he added.

Almost by mistake, Hopkins and Longerbeam stumbled upon something that helped students express themselves. They realized many students – even those not involved in band – had a desire to learn and connect over music.  

At the start of the 2019-2020 school year, the NAMS School of Rock welcomed its first few members.

The NAMS School of Rock is an after-school club open to all students in the school. Students meet on Wednesday afternoons from 3:20 – 5 p.m. to learn about and to play a number of instruments. “School of Rock affords all kids the chance to engage in music. I really see School of Rock as a club for our kids to learn how to play in a rock band,” said Hopkins. “Rock-n-roll is what the kids want to play. We’re playing tunes like Smoke on the Water, Spirit in the Sky, and I Melt with You.”

Hopkins and Longerbeam have purchased eight guitars, three bass guitars, three drum sets, amplifiers, and more thanks to federal funding earmarked for engaging students through innovative strategies. The club now has 20 members who attend meetings on Wednesday afternoons. Kids are still dropping by Hopkins’ classroom before school just to practice. “It’s no surprise to walk into school at 8 a.m. and hear students jamming out to Andy Grammar’s, ‘Don’t Give Up on Me,’” he added.

Principal Candace Call says, “The NAMS School of Rock is like a dream come true. I love the idea and I love what it is doing for our students.”

Music education is a high priority in Asheboro City Schools. Each school throughout the district has at least one music teacher. At the secondary schools, the district employs band and chorus teachers as well. In keeping with strong academics, the School of Rock also provides opportunities for students to apply their math and reading skills. Furthermore, students have even started using their writing skills to craft their own songs.

“Music education is critical to a student’s ability to create and be innovative,” said Principal Call.

The Rhode Island School of Design, founded in 1877, is one of the world’s preeminent colleges of art and design. In 2011, the college began to champion the addition of art and design to the national agenda of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and research, to develop a comprehensive educational model that would better prepare future generations to compete in the 21st century innovation economy. “Studies show music and arts education ‘turn on’ a part of your brain that can’t be turned on from anything else,” said Hopkins. Research from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies shows, “Students who take four years of arts and music classes while in high school score 98 points better on their SATs than students who took only one-half year or less.”

Each week the NAMS School of Rock continues to gain popularity with students and their families. As a long-term goal, Hopkins and Longerbeam would like to see the school host a Battle of the Bands competition and for the club to expand to the other secondary schools. “We would love for there to be a district Battle of the Bands competition, much like we treat STEAM Competition and Battle of the Books,” added Longerbeam.

“The NAMS School of Rock is just one more reason our kids and families love our school,” said Principal Call. “At North Asheboro Middle School, we refer to our school community as our NAMily. Each day we have the opportunity to foster the individual needs of our students through creative and out-of-the-box solutions. Each day we re-commit ourselves to being ‘all in.’ We continue to ‘rock on’ in all that we do,” she added.  

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