For the past couple of weeks, a sound has been resonating from the southwest corner of the RVMS/HS building one might say only a music director can appreciate.
That sound is the first attempts by the 56 fifth-grade musicians who are playing their band instruments for the very first time.
Each year, the novice band members start their experience in instrumental music, with each group beginning their steps toward actually making music with lots of squeaks, bleats and wrong notes.
What makes this year’s fifth grade band different is a new middle school philosophy which requires all students in the grade to take either band or choir (or both) during the school year.
After all, statistics continue to demonstrate youth who are involved in music in some form demonstrate greater successes academically in the other classes they participate in as students.
Colby Schroeder, a trumpet player, said he decided to be in band, because he doesn’t think he is a very good singer.
For Presley Schmidt, who is in both band and choir, playing the trombone seemed like a lot of fun, because she can move the slide back and forth to make different sounds as she plays.
Both said they had older relatives who talked about their band experience, and they said it sounded like a lot of fun.
So far, they agreed, it is.
According to Paul Berggren, who directs the fifth grade band, the idea with these new members is to teach them the basics – to get them playing the right notes the right way.
Berggren said the music requirement is a great thing for the students and for the music department, and he said this year’s fifth grade band is the biggest he has had since starting in the local district.
In addition to practicing on a regular schedule each week, all of the students are required to take part in a 15-minute band lesson once a week. Berggren said they are also supposed to practice for 75 minutes each week outside of rehearsals.
During the first weeks of band, the students are learning the first five notes, and through the next several months they are going to be perfecting their play of those notes and applying them to the musical elements they are also going to learn.
As the students continue to develop their skills as musicians, Berggren said their ability to play is all going to depend on them.
“It all comes down to their work ethic,” he said.
The ones who play and practice the most are going to be the ones who improve the most.
Berggren said the students have a high level of energy right now, and it is his job to make sure they have fun and learn to play well.
Page 2 of 2 - The group is set to demonstrate its level of accomplishment Nov. 15 when it plays on the PAC stage for the very first time.