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I signed up because I love guitar. James M.

The fun atmosphere and learning about the guitar that way I can read notes & strings to play any song.

Natalie P.

What Guitar Students Have To Say! By Thomas Amoriello

Flemington Raritan School District

I signed up to take guitar class for two reasons. One reason was because my parents recently bought me an acoustic guitar that I had no idea how to play. My second reason is because I am too busy with sports and clubs at school so I do not have time for private lessons.

Drew B.

It was difficult to learn on my own, so the school could give me lessons. Plus, chicks dig guitar players. Anonymous

we will take a journey to my Alma Mater, Washington Township High School in Sewell, NJ (Gloucester County) and hear what students en- rolled in the WTHS Guitar Program have to say about their experi- ence. These thoughts are of students enrolled in Guitar Class as a full year elective this 2011-12 school year. Unfortunately they did not have such a program when I attended way back in 1986-90, and I had to take private guitar lessons at the local music store. (Fortunately I was able to enroll in Music Theory at WTHS for two of those years.) Originally piloted by Gregory Janicki back in July 2001, with the help of an enthusiastic Superintendent Thomas Flemming, Music Supervi- sor Robert Frampton, and building Principals Jack McGee, Joseph Bollendorf & Rosemarie Farrow, the Guitar Program has grown into a first class program that stands strong against any such program in the United States. Janicki started the first two years with just 6 periods of Guitar I. During the third year Guitar II was introduced and Guitar III the following year. Today there are a total of 9 total guitar classes (6 in Guitar I that run in two rooms simultaneously, 2 Guitar II courses and 1 Guitar III). There are 170 students enrolled for the entire pro- gram this 2011-12 school year. David Cona and David VanAntwerp were later brought on board due to the overwhelming demand and are teaching guitar in addition to their other music instruction courses at WTHS. In addition to the regular daily hands-on classroom experi- ence, students have worked on special projects in the areas of Guitar History, Guitar Legends and Styles, as well as the guitar’s evolution during musical time periods, researching the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras of this plucked string instrument. Spe- cial lecturers and performers have visited WTHS, including Rowan University Classical Guitar Faculty members Joseph and Kathleen Mayes; Jazz Guitarist Thomas Giacabetti from the University of the Arts; Blues Guitarist Joe DiBartolo; and freelance jazz guitarist Joseph Federico. Students have also participated in ASTA string festivals.

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is the good intention of the current WTHS Guitar Faculty to arrange a trip to the Martin Guitar Factory in Nazareth, Pennsylvania (www. to take the famous factory tour that is offered and see first hand how guitars are constructed in the hands of skilled lu- thiers and apprentices. For this article we posed the question directly to the students and

wanted to hear from them. This is important because many times net- working and sound bites are used to sensationalize a program. These provided quotes have not been edited; thirty students were surveyed,


any times during parent teacher conferences or Back to School Night, I often hear a parent comment, “I wish we had this program when I went to school!” Today

I signed up for guitar because I’ve always wanted to play the guitar. I’ve always been fascinated by professional players. I want to play just like that someday.

Brian L.

I like how people of all playing levels can come together and all learn something new.

Roy (no initial given)

Guitar Class is a great experience for kids to express themselves through music, especially those who aren’t able to at home. Guitar Class teaches you the fundamentals to learn any instrument if guitar isn’t your thing. It is a great addition to a school’s curriculum because every day you do something new and get another step closer to being an experienced guitar player.

Mark G.

I signed up to take this class because I wanted to learn guitar because it is a great skill to have and seems really fun. At first I just signed up because I needed a performing art but I ended up really liking the class.

Adam T.

David VanAntwerp, David Cona and Gregory Janicki

PHOTO BY: Zahra Alkazaz

and I have chosen what I thought to be the best representation of the WTHS program. As we know, young people can be brutally honest! The students were asked, “What I like most about Guitar Class” and “Why I signed up for Guitar Class.” Here is what we found out:

I signed up to take guitar class because I wanted to further my music education. Bruce T.

I signed up for guitar class because I wanted to become a better guitar player and not be limited to tablature.

Nathaniel M.

I like that I learn new things every day instead of only once a week like I do with my private lessons.

Jimmy P.

I signed up to take guitar class because I really wanted to learn how to play the guitar since my parents don’t have enough money to pay for the lessons outside of school.

Sheila G.

I like that I get to learn how to correctly play and learn to read notes. The class is very helpful to writing and playing my own music. It is great to learn the whole idea behind guitar. Anonymous

MAY 2012

What I like the most about this class is the sounds the guitar makes, it is beautiful. Plus I get to use my hands more which I like a lot.

Shakuwra B.

I signed up because I was interested in learning how to play and read music. Anonymous

What I like most about guitar class is the pace that we learn things. We don’t spend a week going over the same notes, but we don’t go too fast where I can’t keep up.

Matthew H.

I like being able to read music and play guitar on a regular basis. I like the lack of pressure if I don’t pick something up quickly. Anonymous

What I like most about guitar class is that I’m learning how to play songs I always wanted to play and I wanted to take a performing arts class.


It is a break in the middle of the day away from boring classes. It is something fun!


I signed up to take guitar class because I love playing guitar and want to go to college for music.

Mike T.

I’ve always had a guitar at home, but now I can actually put it to use after this class.

Kyle H. MAY 2012 33 TEMPO &

I signed up because I wanted to extend my knowledge beyond tablature. Troy S.

I love playing guitar. I’ve been playing for four years now every time I walk into class I feel like it is the right place to be. Anonymous

I didn’t want my parents to pay for guitar lessons so I took this class; it was the best choice I ever made. I learned more in class than any lesson. Mr. J is the BEST!!!

Sheila G.

Township High School Guitar Program who provided their insight and par- ticipated in the survey to make this article possible.

I would like to thank Greg Janicki and the students of the Washington I wish them the best of

luck in their musical pursuits and peace. You can contact Greg at gjanicki@ for further information.

So when I’m a bum on the streets I’ll have some way of making money. Anonymous

I signed up for guitar class to pursue my hobby. N.F. (initials only)

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