Gulf Shores High School equipped to produce future music industry professionals

By Melanie LeCroy / melanie@gulfcaostmedia.com
Posted 11/24/21

Gulf Shores High School officially opened the new, state of the art Hangout Music Lab Nov. 18 with musical performances instead of a traditional ribbon cutting. Musician and Gulf Shores graduate …

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Gulf Shores High School equipped to produce future music industry professionals

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Gulf Shores High School officially opened the new, state of the art Hangout Music Lab Nov. 18 with musical performances instead of a traditional ribbon cutting. Musician and Gulf Shores graduate Basch Jernigan performed as well as a trio of current students.

In September 2020, Gulf Shores City Schools and the Dolphin Foundation for Education and Arts announced a partnership with The Hangout Hospitality Group that included a $100,000 gift to build a state of the art, industry-leading music lab for students.

Gulf Shores High School has had a music lab and music technology course taught by Tim Simmons for many years. The classroom had a small stage, sound and lighting equipment where students learned the basics and sometimes hosted guest artists.

The music lab offers students the ability to perform, learn postproduction, lighting and staging. The room is lined with 10 Macintosh workstations equipped with top-of-the-line software. The full production stage is something you would see at a music venue with full lights and sound that students operate from the rear of the room. Two recording booths provide musicians the ability to record music and vocals. The room also has several instruments from a piano and drum kit to a wall of guitars.

“By putting students into contact with the same musical equipment they will find in the industry, we are better preparing them to compete for jobs and bridging some of the skills gap often experienced by post-secondary students,” said Simmons.

Shaul Zislin, owner of The Hangout Hospitality Group did not just write a check. He and his team were hands on from the start of the project from bringing in the architect and room design to furniture placement. Zislin said that the partnership between The Hangout and Gulf Shores High School will go deep. He hopes the students in the program can be incorporated into The Hangout’s operations with the help of Simmons and The Hangout staff.

One of Gulf Shores City Schools many goals from the start has been personalizing learning for students. Superintendent Dr. Matt Akin said the music lab is a prime example of personalized learning. Akin went on to thank Zislin and The Hangout Group.

“Thank you for your belief in us and your belief in our kids. But do not stop believing because we are going to keep focusing on our students and providing the best possible education. From day one, Kevin has said what we are doing on this island is going to improve education across this county and we are really proud of that,” Akin said.