By Sarah Gordon.
In the 2017-2018 school year, a new and exciting piano class became available for the scholars of Heritage Academy to select for an elective. This amazing opportunity was created when Mrs. Alston became part of the faculty. Along with teaching orchestra, she hopped right on the task of creating a piano class for the students. She named it Pianoland. What an incredible opportunity for students! Piano class is an outstanding elective for students to participate in. During the semester course, a student learns more than just a song or two to play. This particular elective offered at Heritage is full of theory lessons and piano history, accompanied, of course, with time allotted for practicing and learning new pieces of excellent music. There is plenty of music for students to access due to the gracious donations received when the class first began and which continue to flow into the new program. The class is set up in such a manner that every student is able to use their own keyboard. Each keyboard is in excellent condition and equipped with a headset. These headsets allow for every student to play their own music at varying volumes and levels without interfering with the learning of the friend sitting beside them. It is truly an inspiring experience to play and hear your own notes and to know that everyone else around the room is doing the same. At the end of the semester, there is a concert held where each pianist performs a solo they have learned and perfected through their time in class. The concert is, in my opinion, the best part of the course because after months of dedicated practicing, the student is able to showcase their work through performing their solo piece. The students can choose what they want to learn and which songs they want to play. During the class periods, Mrs. Alston is able to help students with their solo of choice. The intricate keyboards are connected in a way that they are able to pipe into one another. This enables Mrs. Alston to pipe in and listen to each student as they practice and provide pointers when needed. All throughout the semester, hard work is required from each pianist. However, hard work does not mean no fun. The class is very enjoyable for students, and friendships are constantly created in it. Students who would regularly not have classes together find themselves becoming close with those who share the same interest in piano and music. In all, Pianoland is one the very best electives Heritage Academy has to offer its scholars.