Teacher Finds Innovative Way To Keep Student In Band
Cailyn Finkel 9/21/2017
Ethan Och loves music, his friends, a good movie and video games. By all accounts he's just like many other high school seniors. Unfortunately, there's one aspect of Ethan's life that makes things a bit more difficult.
Ethan was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative condition with no known cure.
So when his condition worsened, Ethan had to face the idea he would never be able to play music again - one of his favorite pastimes. But his high school band teacher wasn't ready to let Ethan give up....
As a sharp technical mind, Ethan finds a reprieve from the rigidity of mathematics and science within in the band. He told the St. Cloud Times why music means so much to him.
"I'm not exactly sure what draws me to it so much. There are variations and combinations and a large amount of melodies you can make with different notes. There are so many different types of songs and you can take a melody that you know already and alter it. Art kind of balances out all the science and math I have."
That's why Ethan was so upset when his condition worsened and he discovered that he was slowly losing mobility in his arms. With a heavy heart, Ethan approached his band teacher, Gina Christopherson, and explained that he was leaving the band because of his disease.
Mrs. Christopherson wasn't about to let Ethan give up! The day Ethan informed her that he was leaving, she grabbed her phone and started looking through the iTunes store. There had to be something to help Ethan with his passion for music!
After downloading and testing out more than 75 different applications for a variety of digital instruments, Mrs. Christopherson found several that would be perfect for Ethan. Mrs. Christopherson told St. Cloud Times that failure simply wasn't an option.
"If he wanted to participate in band, we needed the ability to make that happen just like the other kids. We needed a solution."
Now Ethan gets to spend the remainder of his high school career doing what he loves with his friends and Mrs. Christopherson. All it took was a little ingenuity and determination!