SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — You can hear a different kind of music coming from Sioux Falls high schools this fall.

A partnership between the Sioux Falls School District and Pepper Entertainment is bringing guitar lessons to classrooms at every high school in the city.

Walk down the fine arts hallway at Washington High School and you’ll hear the strumming of strings.
Students are learning to play the guitar for the first time, including Cole Simming who says this new class is a dream come true.

“At first it was like a surprise but as soon as I’ve seen the class, I just wanted to take it and it’s been pretty good,” said Simming.

“They’ve been really excited I think for the most part. It’s kind of challenging you know going from no experience to playing guitar, but we’ve been able to get them moving quickly,” said Benjamin Harder, assistant band director at Washington High School.

The class is popular. So, unlike traditional one-on-one guitar lessons, the course is taught to 25 students at a time.

“A group guitar class presents kind of a unique set of challenges, especially one as large as we have, but I think just getting the instruments in students’ hands and getting the information out to them will allow students the opportunity to kind of further themselves and learn more on their own in the future if they would like to do that,” said Harder.

“I actually think it helps to learn with them because I feel like this teaches you not to be embarrassed around other people because they’re learning too,” said Simming.

Expanding students’ knowledge of music, one string at a time.

“I think it makes people more knowledgeable and kind of like boosts their IQ a little bit, so I think it has helped with my IQ and like doing things in a faster way because you know you’ve got to be able to memorize and do it quickly,” said Simming.

“It’s fun to invite more people into the band room and show them you know the joy of music and kind of the great community that we have in this room that we’ve developed so it’s been fun to have new faces and new personalities here in the band room,” said Harder.

Pepper Entertainment plans to bring professional musicians who are performing in Sioux Falls into the schools to connect with students.

It will give them a chance to learn more about the professional music industry.