Students at East Bakersfield High School (EBHS) are exploring music through an innovative Piano Lab. This is the only class of its’ kind in the KHSD, complete with 33 keyboards. Regina Montano and Brenda Hunter are instructors for the class and they work tirelessly to give the 180 students they see each day an exceptional experience.
The Piano Lab is part of a musical legacy at EBHS. An article in the school newspaper “The Kernel” from 1942 reports on an upcoming recital featuring the advanced piano students. Ms. Hunter re-started the program 11 years ago because, even though piano is primarily a solo instrument, she wanted her students to play in an ensemble for a variety of reasons.
“Students must listen to each other and really feel the beat so that they all play together. It also provides a less scary performance opportunity for the beginners, and learning music that is not in the class textbook is challenging and stretches them a bit.” – Brenda Hunter, Piano Lab Instructor, EBHS
Ms. Hunter also says the class has been a fun outlet for her, since she arranges the music the students play in class. She writes parts to showcase the advanced students and the beginners learn the easier sections but it blends nicely and sounds great when it’s all put together.
“I find great joy in creating music with others and I wanted my students to experience that joy. I think, for the most part, they really did!” - Brenda Hunter, Piano Lab Instructor, EBHS
The students perform annually during the “In-Class Holiday Recital” usually held during the second week of December. Instructors invite teachers, staff members, counselors, and administrators to the classroom concert and the students share what they’ve learned in a special performance for those in attendance.