This week, I attended the final concert of my High School Band teacher before his retirement. It was amazing (as always) and quite bittersweet for me. I found myself thinking back on my own band career and being deeply saddened that it doesn't look like my children will get to have that experience.
If it were all about teaching them to play a musical instrument, that could be worked out. I do happen to teach piano after all. :) Plus, if they chose a different instrument, perhaps we could find a teacher close and make that happen. But, it is not all about learning to play an instrument. Although that in itself is rewarding and does have the benefit of being able to share your music with others and possible music scholarships for college, it does not begin to touch the benefits of a band legacy.
The band is like your other family. There are experiences that happen through band that no one could possibly understand if they are not there. There are inside jokes that no one else would find funny. Relationships form with other members of your instrument section that may not have formed otherwise. Friendships form that may not have just passing in the hall. There are life experiences that happen through band that weren't typical of my other classes. My first trip overseas was a music trip with the Kansas Ambassadors of Music. I made friendships through band camps and district music events that lasted far beyond the week of camp or the event. The shared experience of band bonds you with others who have that same experience whether in your school or far away.
It saddens me that it looks like my children will not get to have this experience. Even if a band suddenly appeared at our school, it will take time to build it into a family. I remember the question in 4th grade was not "Will I join band next year?" It was, "What instrument will I choose?" The family was already formed and it was a great privilege to join. Not everyone stayed in band all through school, but if they left, their presence was missed. When you are part of a family, your presence or absence is noticed and makes a difference. Our band family was such a big part of my life that I still consider them my "family" years later.
I realize music education is considered a "luxury" and is not part of some schools. I am convinced those who are making those decisions have never been part of a band "family" themselves. It is not a luxury. Being part of band bonded me with others who shared my love of music. Having music in my school day kept me sane and allowed me to do well and focus in other classes. I even planned my schedule around music classes--they were not optional for me. http://angel-memoriesforgotten.blogspot.com/2012/02/music.html
Benefits of music in my life:
1. Stress relief
2. Way to volunteer and share my talents with others
3. Activity that kept me busy and out of trouble in High School
6. Managing a time schedule
8. Scholarships for college
9. Travel opportunities.
10. "Family" relationships developed
What I want for my kiddos is to find a group of people they feel comfortable with and who will let them be themselves. I want them to have a group of peers who will encourage them to always do their best and reach for the stars. I want them to be challenged to continue to do better and better and have someone to celebrate with when they reach their goals
Thank you Mr. Will and my NCHS band family.
What are your memories of band? What are some other group that might become a "family" if band is not available?
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