The musician in the language department

The musician in the language department

While most students only see their teachers focusing on school, many advisors have hobbies they enjoy in their free time. With music being one of his many passions, Park Ellis, Language Arts teacher, is an example of this.  

“I teach Literature to high school students, but I actually graduated from Belmont University with a music degree, and most people just find it hard to believe,” Ellis said. 

Ellis was determined to become a musician after graduating from Belmont University, but he made the decision to become a teacher to have a more stable career. Ellis first taught at Pebblebrook High School and is currently teaching at Etowah High School. 

“It is hard to make a living as a musician, and I when realized this, I decided to go with plan B, and my plan B was teaching,” Ellis said. 

Although Ellis put his career before his passion, he still enjoys playing instruments and listening to various artists in his free time. He advises students to get out of their ‘music bubble’ by listening to and exploring different genres. 

“If you listen to jazz music, then you should also go listen to some country or classical music. Go see if you can figure out what made Beethoven so great (and) why did people talk about Beethoven so much,” Ellis said. 

Ellis encourages students to dive into the ‘culture’ of lyrics rather than the beat in a song. He appreciates the messages and believes that people can better connect with music by understanding its meaning. Ellis points out that the complexity in the pattern of beats can make a song even more amazing and adventurous. 

“Nothing is more beautifully complex and lyrical than some of the cultural music like the West African music, where you have these layers of rhythms that leaves you stunned and impressed,” Ellis said. 

Despite being a Language Arts teacher, Ellis tries to inspire students and spread his love for music in his classroom.