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Music for the Soul

It is impossible for me to be completely objective when it comes to the subject of music or the music program in school. I have been in my school’s band since I was in the sixth grade. I immediately knew I wanted to try music the second I heard my brother play his alto saxophone at his first school concert. Granted, he was awful, as are all beginners, but the unity and structure of the music caught my ear and reeled me in like a fish at the end of a line. I was interested in how so many instruments, tubas, flutes, trombones, saxophones, clarinets, and trumpets, could all have different parts and still mesh and fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. I toyed with the thought of playing multiple instruments before I decided to follow big brother’s footsteps and invest in an alto saxophone. This cold, hard, hunk of metal strapped around my neck felt right. I knew I’d never be Kenny G or some kind of musical prodigy, but the keys beneath my fingers, the curve of the bell, and the way the sax fit perfectly balancing on my hip swaying to the right of my body was something I knew I would have fun getting used to.

Six years have passed since that first time holding my saxophone and I still enjoy playing. People may not realize this, but being a part of a band is almost like being a part of a sports team. As a saxophone, I rely on the trumpets to key me in on important melodies. The drum player, the foundation of the band, keeps every instrument in check and on beat. If the drum is going too fast, the band speeds up. Likewise for any other instrument, if the sax section fouls up, the trombones may get confused and lose the feel or rhythm of the song. Each division depends on the rest of the band like the quarterback depends on his linebackers.

Although I do view my school as a very fun and exciting place with eccentric teachers and great students, I would not enjoy it if it was lacking a music program. For the people in band, music class is an escape from the math, English, and science classes they take every day. Music is a way for students to relax from the tension of homework or tests. As an avid music supporter, I sleep, read, and do homework better when there is music constantly playing in the background. Since iPods and MP3 players are not allowed in class, having an entire period where I can make my own music is something I look forward to every morning.

Another thing people may not realize is that the band class is self-sustaining. Every student either buys or rents his own instrument and pays for his own repairs. In my school, if we want to go somewhere for a band festival besides our one school paid trip, the band works together in fundraisers in order to raise the money for the bus and entry fee. When I hear talk of the possible removal of the music program from school to save money, I become angry and scoff at the idea. Firing our director will only save the school a minimal amount of money and would not be worth the disappointment from the students. Without a band class, there would be no pep band at the football and basketball games. Without band class, there would be no real music at the pep assemblies. Maybe the majority of the student body doesn’t care about the lack of live music, but for the players on the field or court, they don’t hear the cheerleaders and they don’t hear their parents screaming cheers. They hear the band blasting their horns and beating the drums in an organized and spirited song. It’s the music class’ way of showing the teams that we are here and we are supporting them. At the end of the game, when one or maybe a few players come up to us and thank us for showing up to play for them, it makes the band feel like The Rolling Stones. Forget how well we do at festival or the way we sound at concerts. Just imagine feeling like a million bucks if for just one night every couple of weeks. That is worth the wage of a band director.



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