Striking a major chord

Dyryl Burnett takes off his brown fedora hat as he steps in front of the classroom. All 23 of his students are early for class—the first after lunch—and he waits for a moment until chatter softens, music videos are paused and eyes turn toward him. The banter soon follows.“Ooo, Mr. Burnett has his jazz hat today,” one student announces, prompting a chorus of giggles and petitions for him to put it back on.Burnett breaks into a big smile. “You’re always messin’ with me,” he laughs and somewhat bashfully places the hat back over his short dreads.The simple fact that Burnett can so effortlessly command his students’ attention is a testament to his  popularity and the draw of his “Life in the Music Industry” class. It’s also no small feat considering that many of the students didn’t thrive in a traditional academic setting before they arrived at Options Laboratory School, a charter high school that opened its doors in 2011.The school was founded by a Kenwood-based nonprofit, Little Black Pearl, following the organization’s mantra of teaching art as a positive outlet for Chicago’s youth.