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groups, etc. are full of people who loved playing their instruments and had a great experience in school. Having a musical background allows our students the opportunity to enjoy music in many ways as adults and lead richer lives.

Music Matters – Making It a Priority

I know that all around the state, schools are struggling with budgetary issues. Administrators and school boards are charged with the thankless task of finding ways to trim spending – and oftentimes, that means cuts to programs. I do not envy you with those decisions, because I know you want what is best for students and cutting something means taking away opportunities.

If our district ends up facing those tough decisions, I ask you to keep the following information in mind. A good, all- encompassing music program is crucial to all students in a district, K-12. The state of Wisconsin agrees and does not deem music to be extra-curricular; on the contrary, music is considered to be an integral curricular part of academia, and as such, is held to standards and norms. Without solid funding/backing, it is difficult – nearly impossible – to create a strong department or program.

That does not mean that excessive amounts of money should be thrown at music programs – “stuff” does not make or break a department. Music educators should be looking for ways to enhance effectiveness in the classroom that does not cost the district extra money. We should be meeting you halfway, and looking for innovative ways to use our resources, as well as find new ones.

That being said, quality equipment, literature, facilities and time should not be undervalued. When you are looking at both budgets and schedules, I ask that you think about all the valuable skills our students are learning in band. Think about how much our community values the music program, and how the school and community connect through music. Think about how much a strong band program adds to academic success, relationship-building, and an enjoyable and cultured school environment.

Music Matters – In Our District! Thank You!

In closing, I have many things for which to be thankful. Thank you, district administrator, for making music an important part of our curriculum and for supporting that through staffing and funding. Thank you, building principal, for trusting my professional judgment, supporting our band program, communicating with me consistently and openly and allowing us to provide students with musical opportunities. Thank you for all of your hard work and foresight. I hope that we continue to have shared vision for the music programs and our district as a whole.

Best Wishes,

Kimberly Ricci Band Director

Practical Pointers

~ Karen Tordera

Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally known expert on creativity. If you haven’t had a chance to hear Sir Ken Robison’s presentation titled “Schools Kill Creativity,” you can find it at

If you have already have listened to this entertaining and thoughtful perspective, you may want to check out his follow-up presentation at Wisconsin School Musician 17

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