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