By DR. DENISE GUY
Abilene USD 435
In my opinion, there are many benefits of the band and musical programs.
For one, it builds a sense of camaraderie, providing a positive focus for students with similar interests. It’s a team activity where students learn to work together for a common good. It provides a safe environment to try out new things and encourages students to assume leadership roles. Music allows for creative expression while at the same time teaching rote memorization.
Studies also show that musical schoolwork impacts the way children learn and process knowledge. A U.S. Department of Education study found that students who were involved in instrumental music during their middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematical proficiency by grade 12. Additionally, students who learn to play an instrument develop a great language capacity and a greater ability to learn new languages.
I could go on about the benefits . . . music enhances fine motor skills, sharpens student attentiveness, improves reasoning skills . . . but instead, I asked some middle and high school band students to provide their opinions. Here are some of their comments:
• I love that we can express ourselves through music.— Rylie Volkman, 6th grade
• I like all the music we play, and the fun trips we take. —Rae Schwarting, 8th grade
• I love to learn notes and to wake up every day and get to come to school and play in band for my favorite teacher. —Brittany Ebersole, 7th grade
• Band is always a joy. —Katie Zey, 7th grade
• The ability to enhance my skills in practicing my instrument. I love being able to be a part of making music. —Maura Pastran, 11th grade
• I enjoy being a drum major. It helps me become a leader. I also love all my new friends I’ve made; I hang out with them in class and outside of school. I also enjoy the music and challenges Mr. Tompkins has for us. —Abigal Young, 10th grade
• I love having opportunities to expand my musical repertoire. I also enjoy the relationships of students in the band.— Brandon Jones, 10th grade
• It helps me to learn to work together with others. —Victoria Weltha, 6th grade
• Band will help me with college through scholarships. It will also keep me involved after high school. Band has taught me how to use my trumpet so that it will be with me forever. —Abigail Young, 10th grade
• Students learn tons of valuable skills in band, so it is helpful to everyone. Most students will not go into music, but the cooperation, focus, listening, and practice skills they learn in band will definitely help them in any future endeavors. —Sage Toakach, 11th grade
For the complete list of student comments, go to Abilene USD 435’s website (http://www.abileneschools.org/USD435/Main.html)
And, in conclusion, all that seems left to say is . . . let the band play on!