MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

September 28, 2013

Band’s growth a great sign

Muskogee Public Schools’ band growth in the seventh grade is encouraging.

Nearly twice as many kids are taking beginning seventh-grade band this year than last year — 105. This number — the largest class in more than a decade — is encouraging.

The renaissance of sorts can be attributed to several factors.

The Muskogee Alumni Band — volunteer musicians who perform several concerts a year — helped recruitment by getting instruments into youngsters’ hands, said Jerry Huffer, Muskogee Public Schools’ music instructional coach. The City of Muskogee Foundation awarded $30,000 to the group to purchase 38 band instruments for children in low-income families.

The cost of instruments usually is the biggest roadblock to participating in band. It’s important that low-cost and free instruments be available to students.

Huffer said he’d like Muskogee High School’s band to eventually number 150. The band numbers about half that now.

Although a bigger band will look and sound better, we’re grateful for the efforts to get instruments into students’ hands, because the benefits of band are numerous.

Band teaches practice makes perfect. Much like high school athletics, it’s a physical activity and effort is required.

Numerous studies show children who play an instrument do better in school than those who don’t. Students who are in band have higher GPAs than kids not in band.

Also, the more students who participate in band mean the fewer students out looking for something to do.

Scholarships also are available for band students, which is another great benefit.

The growth of the band plays a beautiful song of our future.

That’s why the City of Muskogee Foundation and the Muskogee Alumni Band should be applauded for their efforts.

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