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PNJ.com Gulf Coast School of Music students excel at Seville Quarter concert
Gulf Coast School of Music students excel at Seville Quarter concert
Stephen Crawford, News Journal correspondent;
Gulf Coast School of Music students rock Seville Quarter on Wednesday during their spring show.
Fledgling musicians took center stage at Seville Quarter on Wednesday evening for the Gulf Coast School of Music Spring Student Show as the school's founder, Jim Brown, looked on with pride.
The opportunity to get on stage and perform gives all his students a real boost of confidence, Brown said.
"The coolest part about it is it's almost all of the students that we have. So even if somebody's just a beginner — if they want to be on stage, we want them to participate and do that," Brown said. "I like to demystify this as much as I can. We really try to break it down and make it fun and accessible."
On this night, Brown and his team of instructors — Rodney Dodd, Brandon Warren and Robert Heeke — led the way for nearly 40 of their students to perform songs of their choosing for a packed house of family, friends and some just there to hear the music at Phineas Phogg's. Brown said it would be difficult to find a more eclectic set of songs than the one his students constructed.
"It runs the gamut," Brown said. "We're doing 'Let It Go' from 'Frozen.' We're doing an Avenge Sevenfold song, a Danzig song and everything in between."
Brown said giving his students the freedom to choose what they perform on stage can take some pressure off, especially for those on stage for the first time.
"If we put a book in front of them and said, 'You're gonna learn what we think you need to know,' I view that as kind of lazy on our part," Brown said. "It's much more rewarding for everybody if we approach it like, 'What do you want to do?' "
Tonya Tyson, whose children Ethan, 12, and Kaelyn, 9, kicked off the show with a Stevie Ray Vaughan song, said learning at the school has been a fantastic outlet for her son, whom she called "so definitely shy."
"It's amazing because he gets up there and just forgets everybody," Tyson said. "It's been a real growing experience for him."
Learning to play
The Gulf Coast School of Music is located at 215 E. Zarragossa St., near Seville Square in historic downtown Pensacola. Students of all skill levels are welcome to learn to play a variety of instruments. For more information on the school, visit http://www.gulfcoastschoolofmusic.com.