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New Perspectives - Jun, 1996 Issue #40 

Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Rich and Wendy Simpson

Music is the unique tool used by this small, home environment program for boys. Their academics provide each student with his own personally tailored academic curriculum based on his needs. They use the mountains, forest and streams surrounding the small community of Bonners Ferry for recreation experiences which include hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing and a multitude of other outdoor experiences readily available in North Idaho. They continually provide guidance for all boys regarding their study habits, attitudes, personal hygiene, and interpersonal relationships. But it is the music that makes this program different from any other I have seen. 

Rich is an accomplished musician, having experience teaching, composing and recording his own compositions. Their home includes a fairly sophisticated music studio. If a boy has an interest in music (and what teen doesn't), and especially if he has a bent for music or wants to know more about it, this program can use that interest as a hook to reawaken his interest in himself and the world he lives in. They have a summer program, and the following explanation also applies to boys staying there for the rest of the year. 

"Our primary goal is to provide students with an experience which helps them rediscover themselves and their potentials through a guided discovery of music and the creative process. We explore with the individual students their personal attitudes about music and popular teenage culture and how they affect their self-images. Students with little or no musical background are introduced to a number of musical instruments and exciting modern recording technology. All aspects of the music program are designed to expand the students appreciation and understanding of unfamiliar and more wholesome musical styles. Our philosophy is, that as a student's perspective grows regarding music, music history, and popular culture, so does his outlook on life." 

Copyright 1996, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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