It is my pleasure to teach Guitar Class at The Cottage School. I visit the school twice a week and have the privilege of working with about 10 students of various ages, learning styles, and abilities in my class. There are some in the class who have been playing guitar for years, and there are some who have been playing for weeks. There are males and females, high schoolers and middle schoolers. Some have stepped up as leaders in the class, and most set a positive example of good behavior and maturity for their peers. We spend the class tuning, sharing good news about our week, sharing meaningful songs, and working on guitar repertoire. We focus on playing as an ensemble, working through mistakes, problem-solving, and helping each other find the correct chords and notes on the guitar. I hear words of encouragement spoken and smiles of pride when a new skill is mastered.
Set on a beautiful wooded campus in Roswell, Georgia, The Cottage School is a private school that offers a unique setting in which students with learning differences are given a unique educational experience. The school started in 1985, and has since seen major growth and success with their approach to education. Students are given a comprehensive and well-rounded curriculum, while also given the opportunity to improve on their life skills, independence, work ethic, and responsibility. The culture at TCS is one of cooperation, cohesion, and support of one another. It is a fully accredited school, meeting all the requirements of HOPE scholarships in the state of Georgia.
The George Center for Music Therapy, Inc. began working at The Cottage School in the Spring of 2016, offering a Guitar and Drumming Class, taught by Shanna DeJoseph, LPMT, MT-BC and Andrea Johnson, LPMT, MT-BC, respectively. TCS values the arts and together, we are working to expand and grow the fine arts program within the school!
I asked my students over the last week to share some thoughts about their experience at TCS. Who better to give a first-hand insight into how being a student is like at TCS? They all had many great things to say, including…
“I like TCS because it emulates a work environment, and we treat class like a business meeting. We get paid for doing well (fake money, of course).”
“The Cottage school is strict, but it helps us prepare for being at a job, where we won’t be able to slack off.”
“I like TCS much better than my last school, because people are nicer, the teachers are supportive, and we are all motivated to do well.”
“I like all of the extra-curricular activities and unique classes offered.”
“The best part about this school is that they adapt and help you with your unique learning needs. Teachers are willing to accommodate different styles of learning and set you up for success.”
“Teachers care and take time to help you. Class sizes are smaller so you get more attention.”
“I feel accepted here, like I can be myself and no one is going to judge me for being a little bit different.”
Students at The Cottage School are help to high expectations when it comes to dress code, behavior, and interactions with peers. As the many students shared, it is an environment that is both strict and supportive. It has prepared its students for successful entry into the working and college environment. Students have the opportunity to meet with counselors and advisors as they need on campus. Students enjoy many different athletic opportunities as well.
It is a joy to offer guitar class at The Cottage School, and we are looking forward to our performance coming up at the end of the semester!