GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) – The Guilford County School district is transforming the way students learn and create music, one beat at a time.  

The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation recently recognized the school district for its commitment to music education for the fifth consecutive year.  

“Students haven’t had the opportunity to express themself in this capacity,” said Jordan Lee, the GCS entertainment technology curator and modern music production teacher at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts in High Point. “It’s affirming the things that students are doing.” 

The newest music program in the county gives students a modern music mindset and gets them prepared for a job in the music industry.  

“School hasn’t always been a place that I liked or enjoyed going to,” said Elena Bond-Cordew, a ninth-grade student at Penn-Griffin. 

Bond-Cordew found her passion through the modern music production class. 

“When I entered the class, I lit up,” she said. “I was super excited, and I was always enjoying the environment.” 

The space provides an environment for creativity.  

Students use laptops, a MIDI keyboard controller and online music editing software to make music. 

“Just to have a program like this is really, really amazing,” Bond-Cordew said. “I get to express myself in a different outlet.”

Lee teaches the class students can take starting in the sixth grade. 

“It gives them an opportunity to collaborate and build songs that they can identify with,” he said. “In a way, that gives them… freedom to do whatever they want.” 

The curriculum can morph over time with influences students are familiar with like TikTok or Instagram. 

Senior Producer and Educator at Notes for Notes Max Miller brings real-world experience to the class. He spent more than a decade working in the music industry. 

“The fact that we can all come together in one intersection, and it doesn’t matter what art form you follow,” Miller said. “You can still be a part of something together.”

Recently, the class created an upbeat 30-minute short film for a Good Day Festival.

Students in drama, chorus and other programs at the school joined in the video.  

“It doesn’t stop you from being a classical musician and learning an orchestra instrument,” Lee said. “That then opens the door.” 

Students will get to show off their skills in a brand new 2,000-square-foot music recording studio at the school this fall. 

“This program is going to change the way we think about music,” Bond-Cordew said. 

Notes for Notes is providing the professional equipment for free.