Archive: Flipping the School Day (without Skipping a Beat)

For National School Choice Week, Capitol Vanguard is featuring seven Florida students learning in diverse ways.  Here is the fifth in our series; JMI intern Keith Leslie contributed to this story.  

Ian Maser has always known kids who spend their schooldays doing academics and their afternoons taking music lessons.  But when the Tallahassee native (and gifted musician) saw the array of music class opportunities available at his public high school, he decided to do just about the opposite.

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Ian signed up for as many music classes as his Leon High schedule would allow – five courses one year, four more in two others – and then looked for ways to meet his academic requirements outside the normal school day.  One summer, Ian self-taught himself Chemistry I so that he skip directly to AP Chemistry in the fall.  Another year, he took a Spanish II class online.  (It also helped that Ian had earned some required credits while he was in middle school.)

In the end, Ian graduated in 2011 with academic honors – and with numerous music accolades, including four-time All-State trombonist, first chair in the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra, and All-District and Tri-State honors.  Why, even his weekend garage band won the 2010 Best Music Video Award at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.     

Not surprisingly, Ian received a scholarship offer to attend Julliard – but he turned it down so that he could attend the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music instead.  If Ian’s high school experiences – the first movement of a very musical life – are any indication of things to come, his future is certain to be filled with brilliant flourishes.