Learn to Play Guitar From La Salle’s Mr. Wild

Students+warm+up+in+Mr.+Wild%27s+Beginning+Guitar+Class

Students warm up in Mr. Wild’s Beginning Guitar Class

Robby Jones, Staff Reporter

Each year when forecasting for classes, students at La Salle have an unusual elective choice: Guitar. According to students in the class, learning to play the guitar is an excellent skill to acquire that is entertaining, a fun use of time, and can even help teach the basics of other instruments.

With 39 students total in beginning and advanced guitar, La Salle’s guitar class has come a long way since its humble beginnings 20 years ago. “It was called a ‘strings class’ and it had one guitar player, 2 bass players, a violin player and a flute player.  Why there was a flute player there I’ll never know,” Mr. Wild said. “I asked them to just make it a guitar class and they did the next year.  Now there is a beginning guitar class and an advanced class.”

In fact, Mr. Wild’s guitar program is likely the largest in the state, although there is always plenty of room for new students. The class can count for several different credit requirements and is a full year class.

These classes cater to students of all levels of experience and prior experience is not a requirement. “Beginning guitar is for those who always wanted to learn guitar, but never learned,” Mr. Wild says, “Within a year you’ll be playing the blues, playing classical songs, or strumming away to Wagon Wheel or 1000 years.”

Students take this class for a variety of reasons. “I’ve been playing guitar since freshmen year,” junior Teresa Olarte said. “I started playing because my sister took Mr. Wild’s guitar class and loved it.” Students can start this class as a freshman and take it all the way through senior year, or they can join at any point along the way.

Some students, such as senior Owen Slyman, have come to La Salle with established skill and decided to play in Mr. Wild’s class. “I have been playing guitar for 6 years now, though it hardly seems like it.” All students are welcome and it is recommended that those with prior experience take advanced guitar.

Mr. Wild himself takes great pride in the advanced guitar class, saying that they keep him on his toes. Mr. Wild forms very close connections with his students, and the greatest part of teaching, to him, is when a student returns telling him about how taking guitar affected their life. “When this happens it feels like I won the lottery,” he said.

Students also find that there can be a lot of value in taking this class. “My favorite part about playing guitar is playing [together] with my guitar class,” Olarte said. “Other people should play guitar and take Mr. Wild’s class because it is so much fun and Mr. Wild is hilarious.” 

Students can also fulfill multiple course requirements from taking Mr. Wild’s guitar class, as it can count for both a speech credit and a fine arts credit.

“Whether you enjoy playing a few chords from a Jack Johnson song like that bored guy at a party, or trying to be the next Jimmy Page, the guitar is something everyone can appreciate,” Slyman said. “It’s a way to express yourself and to just relax after a long day.”