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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Northwest News

Farnell Middle music teacher searches for students’ key


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TAMPA — Sure, it is known that music soothes the savage beast, but can it bridge the gap between hip hop and baroque?

Somehow, Robert Nicholson finds a way to do that each day he works at Farnell Middle School.

In his almost two years at Farnell, it is unquestioned that he’s made an impact. A pianist by trade, the music teacher has never lost his passion for music, and his eyes light up when he sees his students touched by the beauty of music.

“Music is magic,” Nicholson said. “If you can get just one kid to listen to music and a special song, that’s the reward and that’s why I do it.”

Nicholson attended Western Michigan University and has taught in Hillsborough County schools since 1989. He said he likes to mix traditional music with modern music — things the kids relate to — but his heart is with the piano and the baroque sound. The music flows through his veins and he teaches with a passion that the kids at Farnell understand.

“He is so much fun,” said seventh-grader Idolys Acosta. “He makes it fun for us and he teaches us new music that we never heard before. He opens up our eyes.”

Nicholson said it isn’t always easy to mix popular music with classical music, but he gets it done.

“I just want them to have an appreciation for all kinds of music,” Nicholson said. “It’s just so beautiful to see the look in their eyes when they hear something different and get an appreciation for it. It’s special.”

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