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Music Matters Kimberly Ricci, WMEA State Chair, Band

Dear Administrator,

The school year is already flying by! We are well into second quarter, and before we know it, students will be returning books and cleaning out lockers. By that time, decisions for the next school year will have been made and priorities addressed. I am writing this letter to let you know that I am excited about continuing to make our band program an important part of our school community and our district’s success.

Kimberly Ricci is band director at St. Croix Central Middle School in Hammond.



Music Matters – In Life

I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the life skills that students are learning in our band program.

First and foremost, teamwork is at the base of everything we do. Working together, and working with many different types of people, is a skill my students will need as they go on in life. In our bands, we have all sorts of kids – athletic, academic, quiet, loud, confident, shy, book-smart, street-smart, rockers, self-proclaimed geeks, etc. When we rehearse, though, we are all musicians. When we bring in the Adaptive Music class to play rhythm instruments with us for the Veteran’s Day program or the winter concert, we gladly add more musicians to our group! Our bands become families, in a way. Students connect with kids they otherwise might never talk to. They support each other, and help one another when there are challenges.

Band also provides a different avenue for community service, whether it is performing at town events, playing for residents of nursing homes, or learning “Taps” to help out at veterans’ funerals. Every year, I observe students learning something new about themselves through music.

I believe that our band students learn to focus, balance a variety of responsibilities and find out how valuable it can be to really work hard and achieve something they thought was out of their reach. These life skills will be indispensable, no matter what our students plan to do in their futures.

Music Matters – In and Of Itself

Obviously, not all band students are going to go on to a career in music. There are, however, many music-specific benefits to being in band that affect all students who participate.

Having students work for higher achievement is something our district is currently focused on, and the band program is right there with all the other curricular areas. We are challenging ourselves to play better music and play it well. We work toward the Wisconsin State Music Standards. We participate in a variety of festivals, concerts, clinic and other assessments/activities to become more well-rounded musicians.

Band students focus on self-expression, creativity and aesthetic appreciation on a consistent basis. Through large group rehearsals, small group instruction, performances and written performance evaluations, students develop technique, vocabulary, awareness and sensitivity. It is amazing to observe students’ progress and mature in these areas as they advance through the program.

Learning to play an instrument (and playing it well) can lead to a lifelong appreciation for music and an outlet for creativity. Community bands, orchestras, jazz ensembles, dance bands, polka

16 January 2011

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