'Michael Jackson' music lab lets Hollywood students follow in former pop star's footsteps

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A Google Maps screen shot of the front of Gardner Street Elementary School. The school will showcase its new music lab Monday.

The Hollywood elementary school that saw Michael Jackson through sixth grade will host an open house for its Michael Jackson Music Education Lab on Monday morning. It's the second building the campus has dedicated to the singer; silver letters in front of the school auditorium already read "The Michael Jackson Auditorium."

Gardner Street Elementary School plans to showcase the lab and new music curriculum during a small reception at 11:00 a.m.

"This was his classroom," said Leslie Holmes, a parent that started the non-profit fundraising organization Friends of Gardnerville. "He actually signed the chalkboard that was in the classroom."

According to Holmes, the chalkboard is now a wall decoration, replaced with whiteboards and a room of 40 personal computers and M-Audio MIDI keyboards.

The school's new music curriculum will teach students how to read music, play piano and compose music in an interactive way with a program called MusIQ. The first lesson has students distinguishing between high and low notes, and the final lesson will include them composing original songs.

So far, six classes shuttle through the music lab. Holmes said the kids love it.

"The looks on their faces when they come into this lab is heartwarming. They come in saying 'Awesome,' 'This is fantastic' and 'This is so cool,'" Holmes said.

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