Why you NEED to keep music in Wall Intermediate School.

"Saying that cutting music classes is the best option is a very blatant failure for the decision makers in this process"

I didn't want to have anything to do with Intermediate School Band.

... As a matter of fact, I remember coming in the first day of 8th grade and asking myself how I had even got band put into my schedule. I always loved music and I played a little piano, but I had never found the class too appealing to me. My friends weren't in band, I didn't play any band instruments and it was during the "Morning Show" class that I had so desperately wanted to be a part of. 

I remember meeting Mr. Bryant, the band teacher. I told him I had no idea what instrument I should to play, and when he suggested trombone, I shrugged my shoulders and decided, "sure." (Six years later, Mr. Bryant is one of my close friends and collaborators.)

It's funny, because band obviously teaches music. It teaches you how to read, how to play, how to take care of your instrument and all of the other basics of the craft. Well, let me tell you - If you handed me a trombone today (or even a month after I graduated middle school), I couldn't play you a scale, read a note, or even remember how to put it together. I really was horrible. I think that's why I laugh at the fact that I now consider band the most useful class I took in that school. 

Band is not an elective you take to relax or doodle in your notebook. Students are never be able to cram in that extra time to do last-minute homework or study for tests. It's because you have to work hard for band. You learn commitment, critical thinking and communication.

Math and Language Arts teach commitment, critical thinking and communication, right? Yes... but band made me want to learn. I found a challenge that I wanted to invest time in. I'd stare into space during math, but always found myself wanting to do the same type of critical thinking in band because it was something I became interested in and they were lessons that presented themselves in much more realistic and subtle situations.

If band was an hour before school when I was in there, I would have never joined. I wouldn't have realized my creative passions, or fully understood the commitment of teamwork. I definitely wouldn't have scored as well as I did on my standardized tests. That's for sure. You hear over and over and over again, how important it is to keep music in schools, and here you are, about to cave in to the flawed black & white education requirements of our society. I understand that there are obligations to bow to, but saying that cutting music classes is the best option is a very blatant failure for the decision makers in this process. You will be doing more harm than good, and you'll never know, because you'll never see what could have come. School is about providing opportunies, not sacrificing them.

Oh, the irony of cutting music classes to fulfill requirements for a law titled "No Child Left Behind"

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Eric May 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Well said Ryan.
Maureen Fitzgerald June 01, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Very well said.
JD June 04, 2012 at 06:08 PM
The interim super is smoke and mirrors regarding Wall test scores... They aren't that bad... and I know NJ has a goal of 100% proficient.. guess what...it's not a reasonable goal... so using No Child left behind or potential loss of funds is BS... because Wall is in the same boat as 95% of the other school districts in NJ....
Keith Cherry June 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM
All the state and government procedures are not going to solve the testing problem in wall, Parents need to step up and raise there kids, I bet if a survey was done Coaches and Nannies spend more time with wall kids then there parents. And we wonder why our nickname is Heroin High!
Anon June 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I speculate that if the MAPS test scores were categorized the band/orchestra students are likely in the top 25 %. The scores should be categorized by what activities the students are involved with to see if there is common denominator and targeted/root cause remediation can be implemented. Further; 14% of the WIS students have IEP's. What would the scores look like if these students' were parsed? This could be a tool to judge if IEP's are actually working. In my opinion this idea punishes the band kids for the sake of poor performance by the educators. My son is an eighth grader. His last exam was Tuesday. School ends next week. It's a waste of time. He said they watched movies in almost every class yesterday (Wednesday the 13th). Mr Bryant is one of the best teachers at WIS and the inspiration and encouragement he provides to the students in his care is boundless. It would be a terrible shame if this plan causes him to seek new employment. I thank my lucky stars our kids got accepted into county academy schools. Neither of them wanted to go to Wall High due to the drugs and jock bullies.


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