Ross and Bergin commence a new way for students to learn instruments

Wren Bergin (left) and Davie Anne Ross (right) perform a musical piece to RAHS students.
Photo by: Ava Yniguez

RAHS sophomores Wren Bergin and Davie Anne Ross are in the process of setting up a music lessons program at Highline High School. The two offer instrument lessons ranging from novice to advanced in expertise based on the student’s instrument of choice. Anyone with a passion for learning or improving their skills with an instrument of choice is encouraged to participate.

Bergin and Ross pride themselves on their approach to teaching styles geared towards the individual and their unique pricing structure, separating them from other music lesson rates in the area.

“Davie Anne and I are offering $15 or less per lesson which is more accessible to all families. said Bergin. Another difference is that Davie and I are 10th graders, our students are 3-5 years younger than us. We are old enough that they will listen to us but we are young enough to know the musical pathway they have been put through in elementary/middle school.”

Although the logistics of the program are to be discussed further, there are many benefits to the music lessons that Bergin and Ross are offering.

“The Highline School District has many benefits, musical education [is] not one of them. Music is one of the most abstract forms of art and has been proven to have a direct correlation with advantageous brain stimulation.” Bergin said.  “I am hoping we can provide these students with motivation and education to help them in their student careers.”

Jason Dominguez, a current student learning the piano under Bergin, is excited to learn music without breaking the bank.

“I chose to take lessons this way because it was a much cheaper way to get a good musical education.” said Dominguez.

As Bergin and Ross have expertise in multiple instruments, students can take up any from a wide variety of options.

“I play piano, clarinet, saxophone, and have intermediate experience on flute. I am offering lessons in any of these families (i.e. alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, bass clarinet),” said Bergin.

“I play violin primarily and have for almost decade; therefore, I will be offering violin lessons and possibly viola as well.” said Ross.

No prior knowledge or skill is required to take lessons. Wren Bergin and Davie Anne Ross have already been contacted by prospective students and may be contacted directly if one is interested in joining and participating.

“We have emailed and gotten responses from various elementary and middle schools around the district, most of which [we have] personal connections with.” said Bergin. “We plan to give presentations each year to inspire new recruits.”

Ross hopes to partner with local music stores and to expand to other schools.

“‘In the near future, we look forward to partnering with local music stores in order to provide instruments [for students’ use] that are clearly so vital to learning about the mechanics and technique of music,” said Ross. “‘Lastly, we both live within a five-mile radius of Highline High School, Gregory Heights, Sylvester, CHOICE, and many other Highline District locations.’”

Bergin and Ross are both well versed in playing instruments within ensembles and in music theory.

The instruments I play fall into the band category (excluding piano) and Davie Anne has a lot of experience with instruments in the orchestra.” said Bergin. “We are both well versed in music theory and instrument fundamentals and we both have experience with interacting with this age group.”

Their program differs from that of regular music lessons, as Ross and Bergin have implemented a different approach to learning an instrument.

“We anticipate that the message of our program will resonate more deeply with students because we will be leading with the impact of music on our lives and character and not the technicality of learning an instrument,” said Ross.

The benefits offered by providing an array of options, are geared toward students’ needs, relating it to personal learning experiences.

“This angle is, in our opinion, significantly more beneficial and sustainable because in order for an individual to learn an instrument to the best of their capabilities, they need to first understand how much they can truly gain from their commitment.” said Ross. “I can say that if I had realized this earlier on, then I would be years ahead of where I am now skillswise.”

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