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March 29, 2014

For the good of the kids: Strike up the band

In the spirit of full disclosure I have to say that I am the dad of arts kids.

I had one daughter who was in the Washington High School Choir program and was in the flag corps with the marching band. I have another daughter who is involved in marching band, jazz band and winter drumline. Yes, I am a biased parent who believes in the arts. In a world obsessed with test scores and how our kids rate against others in science, math and technology, I believe there are some good things that can be gained from participation in music and band.

That is why I feel the efforts to reinvigorate the band program at Washington is a good idea. For those of you who don’t know, it appears the elementary band program that was eliminated three years ago in budget cuts is apparently going to make a comeback in the fall. The band is also taking part in the program called Play It Forward asking people to take those old instruments that are drawing dust in the attic and donate them to the school, eliminating some of the cost that often keeps kids away from playing music. They are even putting together a video to use as a recruiting tool in the lower grades.

This combination of efforts should help build the band program and that is good for the kids and the community. One of the complaints we hear from business is that the students coming out of our schools need to be able to work better in collaborative settings. We also hear that they need to be able to take a project and look at it differently and develop new ideas. What better training for that than band and chorus.

Both of those programs take a group of individuals and get them to work together to produce a common performance that is greater than what one person could do. Music students also are able to take different interpretations of songs and change the tempo and feel of the song.

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