Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Music Programs Round Out the Educational Experience

The last two weeks have been filled with outstanding music performances by both our vocal and instrumental music programs here at Hudson. Last week we were treated to the annual 'Fill the Aud' concert where our award winning jazz bands and show choirs performed. This week we enjoyed the 'Parade of Bands', a wonderful showcase of the concert bands that our school district has to offer. Both were absolutely amazing evenings of entertainment! I thoroughly enjoy seeing the growth these young people make over the course of their formative music education years! To see our students as novice musicians in 5th or 6th grade, and how they improve over the course of 5 years is utterly astounding! I sure hope these youngsters are able to look at their peers in the high school and know that all that hard work will ultimately pay off! 

No one can argue with the success of our music program. Week after week our show choir competes at very high levels, consistently bringing home championship trophies. This past weekend our jazz band once again secured a spot in the state jazz championships that will be held in Des Moines later in the month. At state contest, our groups consistently secure division one ratings year after year. This has become our expectation, and has helped us build a reputation of excellence.

As audience members, what we are treated to is a finished product. Believe me when I say this, it takes a tremendous amount of hard work and practice to get a musical performance ready for what we hear on concert night! While the skill level of our teachers and musicians certainly make it look easy and seamless, they are only able to arrive at this high level of performance through hard work and perseverance. We were not present during the early morning rehearsals when our musicians were tackling a particularly difficult phrase. We were also not there during the dance rehearsal, and when the students thought they just couldn't do anymore heard the director say 'One more time, please.' Or the time the director said, 'Close, but let's try it again--but this time with more staccato'. We didn't see the constant strive to perfection, and knowing that no matter what---it will remain just beyond reach. That is the beauty of music!

Music teaches much more than what is obvious. Indeed it teaches the love of the art, the passion of a composition, and the skill of learning a musical instrument or mastering a rich vocal technique with a stable vibrato. Set aside for a moment the deep research base that draws a correlation between the study of music and the benefits to student achievement, particularly as they relate to reading and math. Music brings meaning to life! It instructs our young people about teamwork, fellowship, and the value of hard work. It shows young people that perseverance has tremendous dividends!

The month of March is one where we typically try to celebrate music programs in schools. I contend that we shouldn't just recognize the value of music during the month of March, but all through the school year. 

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