Metro kids rock out, learn lessons in self-confidence in Edmond's 'Guitar for Cool Kids' program 

Students are learning to rock out and jam to the sound of their own instruments, boasting names like Blonde Willie and Ruby and the Gems, sometimes while wearing full-on rock-star garb and, other times, not so much.

As cinematic as it may sound, this is not a scene from Jack Black's 2003 film "School of Rock," but the reality of an Edmond music teacher's guitar program.

Doug Smitherman, a graduate of the University of North Texas, has taught music for 15 years, the last four of which have been spent in Edmond. He said something had to be done to fix the musical landscape. 

"Something had to change," Smitherman said. "Private lessons were no longer working."

In response, he implemented a new teaching model, and his "Guitar for Cool Kids" program was born. For 40 minutes each week, students age 6 and above learn to play acoustic and electric guitar. They learn different styles of playing, how to read music, proper care of their instruments and equipment, and getting along with others. Smitherman said the most important thing the kids take from the program is confidence in their own ability to succeed.

"My students learn discipline and maturity, but you can really see the confidence in their eyes each time they play," he said. "This definitely runs over into everyday life."

Classes are taught at 201 E. Campbell, Ste. 102 in Edmond.

For more information, call 340-8294 or visit "Ta'Chelle Jones

photo Metro kids rock out and learn lessons in music and self-confidence in Edmond's "Guitar for Cool Kids" program.

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