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Editorial: Full-Time Band Teacher

, Editorial Staff

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All around the country, there is an epidemic of eliminating music programs  from schools.  Why don’t people care about this major issue? What possibly could have influenced educators all over the country to believe cutting music programs is beneficial, especially when music has been proven to largely improve academics and learning skills?  Why is it that RVHS refuses to even hire a full-time band teacher? Is music only beneficial at the end of the day? Is offering a full-time, highly educational class that students choose to take really so unreasonable? Why are we denying our growing youth more chances to express their creativity and have fun, while at the same time having their learning skills and intelligence heightened? It is simply not fair to deny students the right to a proper music education; therefore, we need a full-time band teacher.

Miss Williams works half-time and is paid to come in at 11:30 AM to teach three separate senior high band classes and one junior high band class. This entire schedule causes many issues. The first issue: there are three separate senior high band classes. This prevents the students from being able to work and learn together on the music they have to perform on stage at concerts. Miss Williams has to try her best to get all the senior high kids together at some point for a proper rehearsal, and her only option is activity period days. One monthly activity period is not enough time to perfect our sound as a whole band.  We only get one chance a month to get the whole band together for purposes that should have already been covered in our schedules. Making students practice music together in small groups that don’t include every instrument in the band makes it hard to adapt to the music when they finally do all get together. Not being able to hear how each individual part is harmonized and played together is a dilemma to the senior high band, and it is very overwhelming.

The second issue: students get no individual attention. With a full-time band teacher, students could go to the band room during study halls for sectionals, lessons on instruments, self-taught lessons, or to just practice their music and get help from Miss Williams. With three senior high band classes and one junior high class taking up her half day schedule, Miss Williams has no time to work with students individually or in small groups to help them really work on their musical performance. Since the time she is here consists of important classes that cannot be interrupted by other students, that also takes away the chance for students to be able to go to the band room and get the help they need. What’s the point in a half time band teacher if it leaves no time to truly help the students with their music? There is just no way to justify that a half-time band teacher is meeting our needs, and Redbank needs to get a clue.

So, with no time for the senior high to practice as a whole, no time for sectionals (practice time for individual groups of one instrument), no time for individual practice, and not enough time to learn our music, why are we not offering this class full-time? The last thing we need is to cut music completely, so Redbank needs to WAKE UP and hire a full-time band teacher. Simple as that.

Are you still not convinced a full time band teacher is necessary? If so, here are some quotes and facts about the benefits of music and music education.

1. “Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education.”

2. “A Stanford study shows that music engages areas of the brain which are involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating events in our memory.”

3. “Schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2% graduation rate and 93.9% attendance rate compared to schools without music education, which average 72.9% graduation and 84.9% attendance.”

4.”The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling–training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attention skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.”

5.”A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science.”

Citations:

1. Arte Music Academy. “Statistical benefits of music in education.” Statistical-Benefits-Of-Music-In-Education. Accessed July 17, 2014.

2. Baker, Mitzi. “Music moves brain to pay attention, Stanford study finds.” Stanford Medicine. Accessed February 24, 2015.

3. The National Association for Music Education. “Music Makes the Grade.” The National Association for Music Education. Accessed February 24, 2015.

4. Ratey John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001.

5. Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, “Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial-temporal reasoning,” Neurological Research, Vol. 19, February 1997.

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