Dyryl Burnett is a high school teacher, but he still understands the struggle that his inner-city students face. Burnett was like many of them before he became a music teacher -- he struggled with a troubled family life and the allure of gang-banging.
Music helped him turn it all around and he hopes it will do the same for his students. Burnett works with low-income students at Options Laboratory School, which aims to use art to help them grow up to be successful.
His class has a recording studio and a mock record label. By focusing on music making instead of music theory, Burnett says he hopes to combine a process the students love with something that teaches them to work towards a goal.
"I want them to open up to me so I can teach them the way of the world -- not just the topic or the subject in this classroom. Music allows me to do that because it's innate enough in our system," he said.
The Chicago Reporter visited Burnett's class and talked with him about his work. To read more about Burnett, check out the November/December 2012 issue of The Chicago Reporter.
Photo credit: Lucio Villa