Music. Music affects the brain. Hearing it. Playing it. Especially playing it. The math involved in playing music keeps the brain active and growing. Music can uplift you when you're down or dragging.
Neurological multi-tasking. Reading music, playing, and tapping your foot at the same time is challenging, and band members meet the challenge of moving at one tempo while playing at another. The neural connections grown in band will benefit the students throughout life, for multi-tasking through college and in the workplace, and for multi-tasking as a parent.
Discipline. Long rehearsals. Memorizing music. Early is on time; on time is late. The discipline you experience and practice is a foundation for discipline later--through college, in the workplace, as a parent. The discipline of being part of a team like a band is experience that you will take with you through life.
Teamwork. Every part of a team is important. Every part contributes. There is amazing satisfaction in coming together as a team, working hard alongside each other to perform a concert. And the teamwork is very different from that of a sports team, where the goal is to defeat opponents in games. In sports, teams try to go after an opponent's weakness and to shut down an opponent's strong scorer. The teamwork in band is about individual and group self-improvement, competing with self, comparing results with self over time.
Camaraderie. Shared experiences over time build relationships and friendships. Band creates a wonderful bridge for students to have new friends immediately when moving to a new school or town. Band kids connect from the minute they meet and it doesn’t matter where you are from, band kids take care of band kids!
Time management. A good chunk of time will be consumed by rehearsals, football games, and contests. You give up a lot of computer time, video game time, and free time during those months. Time management experience will serve you well throughout life.
Sacrifice. Band members get an opportunity to see the benefits of sacrificing what you want to do (texting, shopping, goofing off) for the good of the team. There is personal satisfaction in knowing as you are performing together that the group had a good concert. Awards, medals, trophies from festivals and competitions are sweet tangible payoffs to the sacrifices band members make throughout the season.
Resilience. Students mess up. They keep going. Judges make mistakes or make calls we don't agree with. The band members keep going. Students learn that a bobble or a fall during a competition is not the end of the world. Resilience is a hot topic in psychology today, and being able to bounce back after a mistake or setback is an important skill throughout life, a skill that develops by being practiced and experienced, and (fortunately or unfortunately), there are lots of opportunities to practice in band. Sometimes a band may experience a tempo tear during prelims of a competition and yet the band recovers and finishes strong. Their collective resiliency is what helps make them true winners.
Flexibility combined with creative problem solving. Our band staff embraces feedback from judges' commentaries. Instead of rigidly insisting that the music we put together is perfect, we take constructive criticism seriously and make adjustments where needed. We try to model flexibility and creative problem solving for the students, and the students practice flexibility in tweaking the music until it is the way the directors would want it.
Manners and respect. Band members practice the habits of manners and respect. Students represent both school and community when at a performance or competition. Our band is expected to be respectful in all situations, from rehearsals to football games to competitions. While the parents are going nuts in the audience, the band members on the stage remain perfectly still in situations where we all know they wanted to dance and scream.
Generosity. Our kids applaud other bands at competitions. Our parents applaud other bands at competitions. Applauding another band takes nothing away from our own band.
*Music programs give our students practice and experience in skills that reach far beyond musical notes and instruments. The kids do not realize that they are getting experience in so many non-musical life-skills that will have positive impacts, as they become adults*