They’ve Got the Beat

A look into the GHS recording arts studio.

If you walk into Room 118, you’ll be transported into a mini-world within Garfield. In one corner, students listen to music and analyze the lyrics; in another, students huddle together over computers, taking their headphones off just long enough to discuss a possible change before turning their attention back to the computer. The grind doesn’t end once the bell rings. Come into the room during non-class time and you’ll still see students hard at work.

This is the recording arts studio, located on the first floor of Garfield. There are five recording arts classes taught by teacher Paul Schoen, but the studio is open to all students, regardless of if they’re currently enrolled in a recording arts class.

Recording arts classes have been offered at Garfield for three years. The classes aim to let students analyze the way music plays a role in their life and the cultural significance it has, while giving them access to recording technology and the chance to create their own music.

Outside of the class, the open door policy of the studio has led to the creation of a dedicated group of students who come into the recording arts studio outside of class time weekly to work on projects and collaborate with others.

One of those students is junior Dorian Magee-Petti, who comes into the studio almost daily. Magee-Petti has been interested in music from a young age, crediting that to his mom’s influence and his elementary school experience at Madrona.

“I go to the studio almost everyday at lunch. Sometimes I like to mix and master my beats, and other times I like to record other people onto some tracks that I’ve made, or that they want to record to,” Magee-Petti said.

A community has arisen from these students who are consistently in the studio. Magee-Petti has noticed trends in the closeness of the community based on the layout of the room.

“I think the people who are closest to the computer have a tighter bond, because they’re all working around one person, all chipping in, so even if they’re not directly talking to the person who is using it and working on the stuff, they kind of are still a part of it. The other side of the room is mainly quiet, but sometimes if it’s really good, then you’ll see people dancing in the back, or just bobbing their heads,” Magee-Petti said.

While the recording arts studio has a dedicated population, as part of the budget cuts for the 2019-2020 school year, recording arts classes will not be offered next year. Magee-Petti sees this as a big loss for Garfield. While he will still have access to studio space, he recognizes that many of the students who consistently use the Garfield recording arts studio won’t.   

“I’m really sad that recording arts isn’t being offered as a class next year, because the teacher’s a really cool guy and he has a lot of experience, so it would have been good to pass that knowledge off.  Plus, having the only recording arts class in all of the district was really a privilege,” Magee-Petti said.

Regardless, the     recording arts studio has already given many students access to technology they wouldn’t have had otherwise. Beyond that, it’s helped created a community of students enthusiastic about music and the creation of it. Magee-Petti agrees.  

“[Working with people is] really a pleasure, because you just get to see everyone, and you can see how good everyone is, and it’s a good feeling to be apart of that kind of thing.”