Piano Class – the Key to Public School Music


Aspen Lenox, Reporter

A classroom full of people sitting at the piano, their fingers bent across black and white keys, playing beautiful melodies throughout the classroom. Sahuaro’s Piano class is run by the beloved Ms. Barnes, who also teaches choir.

Piano class is 2nd period, and the class is comprised of 33 kids from different grades and playing levels. There are 12 keyboards and 6 acoustics. The first few days of class are for introducing everyone to the instrument. The class learns about the piano: how to take care of it, (don’t pound on the keys, eat, or drink at the piano) how to sit while you play the piano (sit up straight, don’t slouch, and support the arms by leveling the arms from the knuckle to the elbow), the key names (C, D, E, F, G and where the keys are at the staff), how to count out beats (by clapping and saying them out loud ), the difference between treble and bass clef, (if it’s a treble clef the baseline is F, not C), and how to read music (by applying the notes and beats the class learned to a staff).  Ms. Barnes then opens up the piano to show the class how it looks and how it’s tuned. She reminds the class to never touch the inside of the piano, for it can cause the piano’s problem to worsen.

The class is then split into student chosen pairs and assigned a book and a keyboard. If you have your own, you can bring it, and Ms. Barnes will lock it up while you are not playing so nothing can happen to it. Ms. Barnes spends class time helping anyone who needs it while doing her own works. The class itself is more self-paced, and if you are struggling, no one would say anything because everyone is focusing on themselves. Each partnership rotates on the piano every day around 15-20 minutes after the first person plays so everyone has a chance to practice. Aside from playing on your keyboard, the class has 6 acoustic pianos set up in different parts of the classroom. This allows every pair to rotate daily, so each person can get a feel for a real piano and how it can differ from piano to piano.

With everyone playing in the classroom, it can get pretty loud. Ms. Barnes recommends if you have a hard time with that, wear headphones or earbuds to dampen the noise. The Piano class is a welcoming environment to anyone, whether you’ve been playing for years or have never played. Emily Scott says,  “Everyone is nice and they’re entire respectful, and Ms. Barnes is a wonderful teacher and she is considerate.”