By Paul Katula
Ask any band student in America how music education has impacted them and you’ll get lots of different answers.
For example, Cindy Halbrook, 17, from Francis Howell High School in St. Charles, MO, said that music has made her “more social.” She used to be very shy, and having to talk out in front of students as the drum major has given her “confidence in her own abilities,” which she will put to good use in college, medical school, and later as a physician entrusted with people’s health.
Fellow drum major Carol Loechner, 16, stated that:
“We might not get to see certain emotions if music didn’t bring them out in people, like you can usually tell how music makes people happy or sad.”
Music also puts students more in touch with their own emotions. Trumpeter Sara Cart, 16, from Bassett High School in Bassett, VA, became acutely aware of her emotions after performing a brief trumpet solo at the 2000 Bands of America Grand National Championships. After her solo, she kept saying to herself, “No, Sara, you can’t cry now. You have to get through the rest of the show. You can’t cry now.”
A freshman percussionist at Lake Park High School in Roselle, IL, discovered what it means to be an integral part of a team and have others count on her to do her part.
“When our director says to be here at 6:45, we really have to be here at 6:30 so we can get warmed up and stretched and ready to go when we’re supposed to be ready,” she said.
Tubist Derek Fenstermacher, 16, of Grissom High School in Huntsville, AL, always liked the “exhilaration and feeling of joy after the band performs very well.”
“It’s a great feeling knowing you did well, and for the Grissom band, that’s a common feeling. Trophies mean something – at one competition we got a trophy that was six feet tall – but we get so many comments – even from some college directors – about how well we perform that the band members have a lot of pride in what they did even without the trophies.”
“The main lesson I learn is about discipline,” he continued. “Being in band also gives you better balance in your life, and that doesn’t just mean learning how to walk straight with a 40-pound sousaphone on your shoulder. Although…we have to learn that, too.”