LAS VEGAS - Some of the greatest musicians are also great guitarists. That's one reason the guitar program at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts is so popular. The program teaches the art of guitar playing as well as discipline.
"That daily discipline that they're getting in music is applicable to everything in life," said guitar teacher Bill Swick. "It doesn't matter if they go to college and major in something else. They're going to be successful, because they carry that discipline with them."
This is serious guitar playing. The four-year program is designed to get students into college, and it works. Students have been accepted at the University of Texas, Florida State University and University of California Berkeley.
Students receive numerous opportunities to show off their skills.
"We have four concerts a year and two recitals. Concerts are a classical, a Trans-Siberian, a classic rock and a seniors' choice concert," said senior Jessica Wood.
"You learn a repertoire of so many pieces. You learn theory behind music. It helps you compose and understand and interpret music," said senior Daniel Munoz.
The music industry has taken notice. The program has received awards from the Gibson Guitar Corporation, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and DownBeat Magazine. These great achievements go with the Las Vegas Academy's ten Grammy awards.
Students must audition for the program, which attracts numerous applicants. "Music sometimes is the very thing that helps kids want to come to school," Swick said.
The students travel around the country to perform. In March, the senior guitar quartet will travel to Brownsville, Texas for a national competition.
The guitar program represents What's Cool at School.
If you wish to nominate a program for What's Cool at School, visit our website or e-mail us. You can also vote for your favorite program. Each month, 8 News NOW will award $250 to the program that receives the most votes.