Music, or Not

Every 3rd grader looks forward to when the elementary school teacher comes into their class and introduces all the different instruments you could play in the school band. At this time the things running through their little heads is “Wow this is so cool! I get to learn how to play a real instrument!” And that is how it always starts out. By the time 4th grade came around, I was so caught up in my instrument. Well I did not know how to play any songs, so I just made noises.

I practiced every day, played as best as I can, that instrument was my life. Our band was huge. I remember we had about 7 clarinetists! I thought it was the greatest thing. Practicing once a week with the teacher then we put all the voices together for the annual spring concert to show our parents what we have learned in the past 6 months. Through the years I was blinded by learning something new I never saw what other thought about music; they hated it.

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Every year, moving up throughout school, more and more people have dropped band classes. I am now an 11th grader and our band ensemble consist of at LEAST one instrument per section. And like me, some people have sacrificed their main instruments for the instruments no one has bothered to play. I went from clarinet to oboe, my friend learned the bassoon and my other friend picked up tuba, just so the ensemble could have all the voices. We are still missing voices like the French horn but it’s hard when you have only about 30 people in attendance. I also participate in jazz band because there are only 8 people in the class so it’s hard to get the sound we need with that many people.

Most of my friends in other schools have the same problem but since they have a bigger school it means more people. When budget cuts come alone, music classes are always the first to go. In our school we do not even have a general music class, or a music theory class. We only have big band, jazz and 3 choir classes and strings. When I was in 8th grade I was looking forward to broadening my music knowledge and the first thing my guidance counsel told me was to cross off the music classes besides the bands and choir. I was so confused.

He said no one ever signs up for that class, nor do they have a teacher to teach that class because the band teacher at the high school also works at the elementary school so it’s hard when he has to switch school all the time. I think music classes are very important, even if it is not something you look forward to in your future. According to the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test, in academics, 20%-30% of students do better on standardized testing when they participate in music. Playing music does the same as sports; it clears your mind and makes you forget about everything going on in your life. It helps you make new friends and experience new things. You also travel a lot.

Like with the marching band we travel to places in state as well in different states, even though we have to raise our own money it’s still a great experience! So what I’m trying to say is that music classes should be a priority in schools, just like math or enlgish. It’s less stressful then regular academics and unlike sports, you don’t sit around on a bench the whole game if you’re not “good enough”. Therefore they should stay in the curriculum so kids, like me, have the choice of learning more than what we already know or what the teacher can fit into one period while trying to have us learn a piece of music.