Exploring strings

GREENFIELD — Greenfield students will be able to fiddle with a new instrumental program next school year.

Greenfield Central Junior High School students can register for a violin course in a new program that administrators hope will expand the corporation’s fine arts offerings.

Principal Dan Jack expects the program to be a hit.

“It’s something different, and students are interested in just trying and exploring new things, especially at this age,” Jack said.

The string instrument program will add to what Greenfield Central already offers through band and choir. Administrators don’t expect it to evolve into a full orchestra, but students could pick up the cello, bass or other stringed instruments after they’ve learned the basics with violin. Eventually, students could become part of pit orchestras for theatrical performances, or students could perform chamber music in small groups, said Ann Vail, assistant superintendent.

The course will be taught by Sarah Beck, a Greenfield resident and instructor at the Indianapolis Suzuki Academy. Four years ago, Beck taught an after-school Greenfield-Central enrichment program on violin. While funding cut the program short after its first year, Beck has continued to tutor children in the community.

Beck was on top of Vail’s list when school district administrators decided they wanted to expand the music program to include strings. No other school in Hancock County has a stringed instrument program, and Beck is eager to forge the way.

“I could see really a nice chamber music program evolving out of this,” she said.

The course is one option seventh- and eighth-grade students can take in the arts, Jack said, and they can take band or choir at the same time. Also new in the 2015-2016 school year at the junior high will be an introductory course for world languages and a Spanish course for high school credit.

“Any opportunity that we have to add more choices for students, I’m on board,” Jack said. “I’m excited about the opportunity.”

Music will fill the air of an orientation meeting this evening for incoming seventh-grade students and their parents. Three students who have been studying violin on their own will play while people gather, Jack said.

A strings class is something Aiden Zumbolo is passionate about. The 12-year-old Greenfield resident has been studying violin under Beck for four years, and his mother, Jaime Saylor, is excited other local students will be given the same opportunity.

Saylor said music has helped her son concentrate, and it’s “opened up a new world of music appreciation.” She’s looking forward to the idea that other students will begin playing strings.

“I think it’s great,” Saylor said. “Any music that the schools can incorporate I love because of all the other benefits that come along with it.”