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SLAM! 2016-2017

Guitar+teachers+Brandon+C.+and+Kyle+F.+with+two+of+the+guitar+class+students+after+the+showcase.+%0APhoto+by+Giovanni+R.
Guitar teachers Brandon C. and Kyle F. with two of the guitar class students after the showcase. 
Photo by Giovanni R.

Guitar teachers Brandon C. and Kyle F. with two of the guitar class students after the showcase. Photo by Giovanni R.

Guitar teachers Brandon C. and Kyle F. with two of the guitar class students after the showcase. Photo by Giovanni R.

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SLAM! ended its spring quarter with another showcase, making it the last one for the 2016-2017 school year. After a few weeks of learning the songs and practicing them, the students were ready to show off their skills. The showcase took place on Monday, May 22nd after school on the blacktop. On the day of the performance, the performers were pulled out of CP for about 30 minutes to help with the setup of the stage, amps, instruments, and other necessary equipment. Performers also helped by setting up chairs for the guitar players, while other students helped by rolling out a couple of benches from the cafeteria. As the SLAM! students and teachers rushed to get everything set up for the performances, parents arrived and were taken to the benches to await the show. The microphones and instruments were tested to make sure the performers could be heard from where the audience was sitting. At around 3:30, Scott, the program manager of SLAM! at UCLA, began the show. 

The voice class kicked off the start of the show with a couple of songs sung by the entire class. Then, some of the students had the opportunity to sing solos; one of the students even sang How Far I’ll Go from Disney’s Moana! After the voice class, it was time for the guitar class to show what they learned. I was in this class, and some of us played Santeria by Sublime on our instruments while other guitar players sang the lyrics. The 2 guitar teachers for the spring quarter, Alex and Nathan, sat behind us and played along. Then it was time for the performances with the student band and the SLAM! teachers from UCLA. Some of the songs played included All the Small Things and First Date by Blink-182, and Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Next up were the collaborations between the classes. The guitar, drums, voice, and piano classes joined together to perform We are Young by ‘Fun.’. The voice and piano classes worked together to perform Shape of You by Ed Sheeran. This time, the SLAM! teachers did not perform a song together, but it was still a great showcase and the audience agreed.

The spring quarter was my second quarter of being in SLAM! and I do not regret joining. Initially, I did not want to join in the winter because I thought joining would be a waste of time I could be using to do homework. I was pushed and encouraged by my family to join this program until I finally gave in and signed up. I decided to take the guitar class, while my brother took the drum class. The past two quarters for me were so fun and I was able to open my mind to new music genres. I learned new guitar chords and songs that I had not known before. I actually enjoyed Mondays because I knew that I would be going to the guitar class at 3:15 after school.

Freshmen Giovanni R. shared his thoughts on being in the drum class in SLAM!:

“I had the time of my life in SLAM! every Monday. I joined SLAM!’s drum class in the 2nd quarter of 2017 as a Freshman and was glad I did. I even got an opportunity to play with the Rock Band! I played First Date and All the Small Things by Blink 182. All the students and staff were friendly. If I messed up, they were good sports about it and helped me go through what I [had] trouble…do[ing] and applauded when I succeeded. This experience was given to me in SLAM for FREEIn my first quarter, my teacher[s] were Maddie and Joe. They were straightforward and we managed to break the ice by talking about my weekend. The teachers weren’t just my teachers; they’re my friends. I learned new rhythms and new rudiments that I never knew of. In the 2nd quarter,…I got my first opportunity to play a song with Rock Band: First Date by Blink 182. I was…nervous [at first] since I never played a rock song before, but I managed to learn from all the members of the band.  In my second quarter, I got new teachers: Kevin and Brandon. We also did warm-ups in that class too, but I did a new rudiment: paradiddles. I was even taught how to hold the sticks correctly. Kevin, Brandon, and Evelyn all helped me with that. I was nervous when I performed, but I managed to do it, even with the sun in my eyes. It was the best experience.”

Freshmen Evelyn P. also shared her thoughts on the drum class:

“In SLAM!, I had great experiences that I will never forget, [such as] when we performed in a stage in front of parents, staff members and students, or when we performed in the cafeteria in front of parents and staff members. All the teachers I had were amazing. I miss them, especially my teacher Matt because he won’t be able to return and teach. SLAM! was a fun experience that I will never forget because that is where I learned to play my first instrument, the drums. Also, because of  SLAM! I met two new friends who are amazing.”

Freshmen Santiago N. shared his experience in SLAM! as well:

“I was a SLAM! student in the piano class. My experience in SLAM! was amazing. At first I was too scared to join because I didn’t want to stand out and I didn’t think I was good enough for it. But because of my friends I decided to join. And ever since then I was glad I joined. SLAM! gave me the opportunity to express myself in a way I thought was impossible for me to do. Whenever I was having trouble trying to learn a song, my instructors always encouraged me to keep persevering and never quit. SLAM! also helped me come out of my shell and try new things.”

SLAM! classes will most likely resume during the fall for the new 2017-2018 school year. If you are interested in joining SLAM! keep a look out for the booths on campus at the beginning of every quarter to talk with Scott Johnson and sign up for a class. Trust me, you will not regret it!

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SLAM! 2016-2017