For The Prospective Band Parent--
"To Join Or Not To Join"
Isn't that the question?
Music for music's sake is sufficient reason to join for those
of us who have made a career of it, but let's examine it more
closely . . . wherever your child goes throughout the rest of his
life, there will be music. One can hardly imagine living without
music any more than he could imagine doing without salt or sugar.
Thus, the more he knows about music, the more meaning it will
take on and the more enjoyment he will have for the rest of his
No matter the style of music one enjoys, he can find concerts
and recordings offering that kind of music--whether it be folk
songs, Dixieland jazz, symphonic literature, choral music, opera
or the good old American band sound. Background music is becoming
more and more widely used in factory and offices, and it has just
recently been confirmed beyond all doubt that music has a
definite therapeutic value.
With the rapid growth in the popularity of music and music
making, there are many opportunities for careers. There is a
serious shortage of music teachers at the present time, and with
the population explosion there is every reason to believe that
this shortage will continue into the future.
Professional opportunities are limited of course, but there is
always room for the superior performer. There is much evidence
that the professional situation is starting to improve and that
more jobs will become available.
Each decade sees more and more leisure time available for the
average person, and there are many valid reasons why music is
considered the best use of that time.
Why School Music?
Let's forget about what music might do in the future of your
youngster and consider the situation at hand. Perhaps you are
asking yourself if music is as important as some of the other
subjects available to your student and whether it will be too
much effort on your part as well as your child's, to make it
worthwhile. Please consider this . . . perhaps the most important
quality it is possible to impart to your child is
SELF-CONFIDENCE. Music makes it easy to do, and, if for no other
reason, will justify it's efforts and it's cost. Music offers an
enticing challenge to the student to take on responsibility. He
soon learns that if he does not play his part well, the entire
band suffers as a consequence. All the things that precede that
day when he welcomes the challenge and confidently plays an
exposed solo, are important contributions to that child's future
Mental and Physical Discipline
Educators know that there are few subjects that require the
mental discipline that is displayed in the playing of an
instrument. One must train himself to produce the tone, listen to
the tuning, read the music, watch the conductor, blend his sound
with the other instruments at one moment and sing out his part at
another. At the same time he must make certain that he is alerted
for any emergency changes that might occur. Physically he learns
correct posture in sitting, standing and marching positions and
he will likely develop sufficient endurance to play and march
several miles without undue stress or fatigue. The real physical
challenges come in the playing of his instrument since wind
instruments require a most unusual development of muscular
control in the lip and facial areas. As he progresses, he will
learn to breathe properly and be able to sustain tones for long
periods of time without problems. Finger dexterity, whether it is
fingering a musical instrument or playing a drum, is essential
and develops naturally with practice until unbelievable skill is
Thus, it is obvious that both physical and mental coordination
is developed to such a high degree that it is inconceivable that
any other subjects would approach this type of training at this
Music Is A Wholesome Study
Can you think of anything more wholesome than the study of
music? Any better use of leisure time? In a discussion of
juvenile crime organizations, John Steinbeck stated "Man is
a double animal . . . he is at the same time a group animal and
an individual, but he cannot become the latter until he has
successfully experienced the former." You already know how
terribly important it has been for your youngster to be
"accepted" with his friends and to be "one of
them". We submit to you that surely music offers the best
opportunity for group participation since it welds together as
many as 90 or 100 students into an organization that plays as one
without losing the importance of each individual. Unless your
child is assured of a position on one of the athletic teams, or
one of the drama or debate groups, where is he to find this
caliber of group participation? We know of no evidence where
music participation has hampered a student scholastically, but
the evidence where it has helped a student scholastically is so
dramatic as to be unbelievable.
There is nothing that will assure your child's success in the
study of music or speed his progress as your sincere interest in
his music participation. Here are some of the things you can do
that will help---
1) Set aside a regular time and a suitable place
for him to practice.
2) Help him keep a daily record of his
3) Select a suitable place to store his instrument in
the home and show that you also think it is important.
sure that he is on time at rehearsals and lessons from the very
5) See the child's teacher at regular intervals to
keep yourself informed so that you will understand and know your
child's progress and be able to help him with any problems that
6) Attend all concerts and band parent meetings and
never make fun of any strange sounds he or his friends may make.
7) Help him understand that the more he practices now, the more
fun and enjoyment he will have later. He may not particularly
like to practice once the "newness" has worn off, but
experience proves that with proper encouragement this cycle is
short lived and he soon becomes deeply interested and may
practice more than the agreed time.
Should there ever be any doubt in your mind about any phase of
your child's participation in the school music program, there are
two people who are most anxious to be of help to you . . . your
child's teacher and your music dealer. Both are experienced and
you will find that their interest is genuine.
One last word . . . if you have decided in favor of
letting your child join the school music program, select the best
instrument you can afford. The many advantages this program
affords your youngster are so important that you should not
jeopardize them by taking a chance on inferior equipment. Again,
your teacher and your dealer are best equipped to help you make
the right decision.