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 life.

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.

Career?

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 success.

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 acquired.

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 age.

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.

Parent Responsibility

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 practice. 

3) Select a suitable place to store his instrument in the home and show that you also think it is important. 

4) Make sure that he is on time at rehearsals and lessons from the very first day. 

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 might occur. 

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.