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Presentation developed by Adrian Bourgeois -Vice President of the Saskatchewan Band Association. Why Band? IT’S IMPORTANT!. Presentation Overview.

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why band it s important

Presentation developed


Adrian Bourgeois-Vice President of the Saskatchewan Band Association


presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • This presentation is built on facts and testimonial from musicians, prominent people, and former band students about band, music, and their personal experiences.
  • It also includes statistics relating to students involved in band and music as children.
  • The statistics presented show an important building from the beginning to the end of a student’s formal education.
  • The information shows the importance of music in a person’s life when developing a career and life goals.
table of contents
Table of Contents
  • In the Beginning
    • The historical importance of band
  • Importance of Performance at an Early Age
  • Language Skills Improve With Band And Music
  • Band and Music Teachers Favorite Role Models for Minority Students
  • Band and Its Importance for College and University Achievements
  • Interesting and Important Information
table of contents continued
Table of Contents(continued)
  • Band is the Ultimate Opportunity for Students to Learn Multi-tasking
  • Band and Music Nourish the Soul
  • Final Thoughts
  • Credits
in the beginning

In the Beginning

The Historical Importance of Band and Music

cultural history
Cultural History



Professor and Senior Associate Dean, School of Music

The University of Michigan

Past President, Music Educator National Conference

Information from Why Music is Basic: The Value of Music Education

Compiled and Edited by Bruce Pearson


Music is an important part of every culture’s history. Band is a way of communicating the musical side of any culture. Band is an experience which should be available for every student in the province. It is one of the few programs where every student who wants to participate, is able to participate.

Music is a connecting block for different people around the world. Music is a part of every culture. In the First Nations culture, the drum is the centre of life. The drum is the heartbeat and the focus of life.

Band is one of the few classes where students are able to incorporate many different cultural histories on a daily basis. The students are able to immerse themselves in the history by a personal and/or group interpretation of the music being performed. A composer’s music is a reflection of a time in history. A culture’s music is a reflection of their beliefs and values. The performance of music is a way of developing an understanding and knowledge of multiple cultures in society.

Adrian Bourgeois

importance of performance at an early age
Importance of Performance at an Early Age

Pictures from the American Music conference website

Picture from the SBA Band Camps


“Pelletier(1965) found that teaching students to play string instruments in third grade increased their reading achievement. He divided 110 third graders into control and experimental groups. The two groups were equated on I.Q., gender, reading achievement, and spelling achievement. The experimental group received 25 weeks of instrumental instruction during the school day. On the following slide is a chart outlining the conclusion of the study.”

Information and following charts from Why Music is Basic: The Value of Music Education

Compiled and Edited by Bruce Pearson


Improvement in Student Reading Levels After 25 Weeks of Music Instruction

The diagram to the right shows the experimental groups’ reading gain was 1.9 months higher than the control group.

Improvement Among “Low Readers” After 25 Weeks of Music Instruction

When the low readers of each group were compared it was found that the experimental group students were 3.5 months ahead of the same students in the control group.

music and band helps improve student s language skills
Music and band helps improve student’s language skills

Many studies have been done over the years in regards to the influence of music on language skills The following study reflects the importance of band in a person’s life.

Study relating to Music/Band and American SAT scores

High school students who participate in music performance classes receive higher verbal SAT scores than the national average or students who take no music course work. This was the finding of the College Entrance Examination Board in their 1987 to 1993 profiles of students who took the SAT test.

The verbal scores of close to ninety-five percent of the over three million students who took the SAT during the 1987 through 1993 were compared. The high school groups profiled on the following chart are as follows;1) students who participated in music performance, 2) students who participated in no arts education, 3) the average of al students nationally.

Information from Why Music is Basic: The Value of Music Education

Compiled and Edited by Bruce Pearson

chart relating to sat verbal mean scores for students involved in band courses
Chart Relating to SAT Verbal Mean Scores for Students Involved in Band Courses

Series 1-Music Performance

Series 2-No Arts

Series 3-National Average (American)

Notice how the band students stay at the top of the graph on a yearly basis.


Because band offers the opportunity for students to communicate using an instrument, their overall communication skills become stronger. Band offers another language for the students to pursue. Music is a language because it is a form of communication. It communicates the composers thoughts and ideas. It communicates the performers interpretation of the written music. It communicates thoughts and beliefs at of the time of the composition.

Having music as another language, opens doors for students in their future. The University of Saskatchewan Education Department sees a 30 level(grade 12) Fine Arts credit as an important part of their entrance requirement. Band is a wonderful opportunity for a student to fulfill this requirement. Looking at the chart on the previous page, a person realizes the magnitude of a musical and band background for future growth.

Adrian Bourgeois

Band and Music Teachers Favorite Role Models for Minority Students(Model relates to an American Study)
minority students role model teacher
Minority Students Role Model Teacher

Recognizing that minority students with “positive” role models tended to stay in school, Donald L. Hamann and Linda M. Walker (1993) wanted to determine what proportion of African American high school students identified music teachers as their role models. As can be seen in the following chart, Hamann and Walker found the proportion of students with a music teacher role model was significantly larger than any other single discipline with the next largest non-music teacher role model subject areas being English.

Subjects for the study were 811 African American high school students who were enrolled in music classes such as band, choir, orchestra, or music appreciation. All students completed the Demographic/Information Sheet in which, in addition to several other questions, students were asked if they had a teacher role model.

minority students role model teacher continued
Minority Students Role Model Teacher (continued)

Hamann and Walker concluded that the results of their study tended to highlight the role that music teachers play as both role models and as individuals who can help influence student decisions. It can be hypothesized that many students remain in school solely because of the influence of a music teacher. The implications of this study are that music teachers can influence student decisions, including decisions to remain in school, and that music teachers are crucial to the public school setting as they become the critically needed teacher role models for a significantly large proportion of the student population.

Information and chart from Why Music is Basic: The Value of Music Education-Compiled and Edited by Bruce Pearson

does participation in music and band help students be admitted into colleges
Does participation in music and band help students be admitted into colleges?

The Rockefeller Foundation Study states that music majors have the highest rate of admittance to medical schools, a whopping 66.7%. Biochemistry, the subject area closest to medicine has a rate of 59.2%.

Information from Why Music is Basic: The Value of Music Education

Compiled and Edited by Bruce Pearson

band and music in relation to reading
Band and Music in Relation to Reading

“Perhaps one of the most convincing studies which shows a correlation between music study and reading skills was conducted by Wood in 1990. He examined the scores on the Nelson Denny Reading Test of approximately 7,500 students who enrolled in a medium sized university between 1983 and 1988. His comparison of student reading scores from different majors revealed that music and music education students had the highest reading scores of any major on campus. The chart on the next slide shows the graph comparison from one major to the next.

Note: Colleges A, B, C, and D cannot be specifically identified in print due to the agreement made by the researcher for obtaining the information. Each letter refers to one of the following colleges: Health and Human Services, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, and Technology.”

Information and charts from Why Music is Basic: The Value of Music Education-Compiled and Edited by Bruce Pearson


The implication of this study is that the years of studying music notation transferred to traditional language reading in these students.

band is all inclusive
Band is All-inclusive

Band is a class where every student, when given the opportunity to play, is able to participate. If a school has a band program, the students have the opportunity to be a part of a group. It does not matter who sits side by side, everyone is considered to be a musician.

Adrian Bourgeois


"I was part of both the band and choral programs.  Like music can, these programs built relationships between groups of students across grades and cliques of friends…In fact, the piano player started dating the alto singer - and now we're married, not to mention still singing and playing!"

Adam Bourassa

Ph.D. Student in Atmoshperic Physics

University of Saskatchewan


“Being in band was the chance I had of being normal. It was the opportunity for me to fit in and be equal to the other students.”

Nicole Watt-Canadian National Silver Medalist-Figure Skating


"Being a part of the high school band program in Melfort was a very memorable experience in my high school life.  The creativity, fun andchallenges that I was able to experience both inside and outside the classroom through the band program was refreshing and different compared to other classes…The band program cemented music in my life and I continue to enjoy the benefits of my music education; playing in a jazz combo and helping with music at church.  I have no doubt that had I not had the opportunity to take part in the band program my life would be very different.  Thanks."

Marc BourassaJunior Structural Design EngineerB. Eng. 2005Cochrane Engineering Ltd.


When a student is involved in a band program, they have to learn how to multi-task. Examples of a student having to mult-task are as follows: 1) They have to work with others to create a product. This is the ensemble setting of a band classroom. 2) They have to learn math skills. Music is made up of symbols representing fractions. 3) They have to learn the physics of sound. When tuning an instrument, the students have to listen to the sound waves. If the waves are not equal, they are out of tune.

The examples above occur on a daily basis in a band class. The students have to learn how to work with the many different aspects of performance. They learn how to focus on many things at one time to create one product. If one of the above tasks is not in line, the performance would not be as strong.

The skill of multi-tasking is an important part of everyday life. To be able to multi-task efficiently is a great asset for any job. The more efficient a person is, the better employee they are.

Adrian Bourgeois


“Music is exciting. It is thrilling to be sitting in a group of musicians playing (more or less) the same piece of music. You are part of a great, powerful, vibrant entity. And nothing beats the feeling you get when you've practiced a difficult section over and over and finally get it right, (yes even on the wood block.) Music is important. It says things your heart can't say any other way, and in a language everyone speaks. Music crosses borders, turns smiles into frowns, and vice versa. These observations are shared with a hope: that, when schools cut back on music classes, they really think about what they're doing - and don't take music for granted."- Dan Rather - CBS News

Quote from-Versatile, Concise Music Advocacy Facts Provided by the Selmer Company


"It is our job, as parents, educators, and friends, to see that our young people have the opportunity to attain the thorough education that will prepare them for the future. Much of that education takes place in the classroom. We must encourage our youngsters in such pursuits as music education. In addition to learning the valuable lesson that it takes hard work to achieve success, no matter what the arena, music education can provide students with a strong sense of determination, improved communication skills, and a host of other qualities essential for successful living."

- Edward H. Rensi - President and Chief Operation Officer, U.S.A. McDonald's Corporation.


"The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils."

William Shakespeare  The Merchant of Venice

"Music is an essential part of everything we do. Like puppetry, music has an abstract quality which speaks to a worldwide audience in a wonderful way that nourishes the soul.”Jim Henson - television producer and puppeteer


“As an amateur musician myself, I am well aware of the comfort and joy that music brings to a person’s life. The practice of music in any form encourages creativity, individuality, and self expression, and also helps our young people develop their teamwork and leadership skills, all of which combine to give them the abilities and confidence they will need in the adult world.”

Lorne Calvert-Premier of Saskatchewan


"During the Gulf War, the few opportunities I had for relaxation I always listened to music, and it brought me great peace of mind. I have shared my love of music with people throughout this world, while listening to the drums and special instruments of the Far East, Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Far North, and all of this started with the music appreciation course that I was taught in a third-grade elementary class in Princeton, New Jersey. What a tragedy it would be if we lived in a world where music was not taught to children."- General H. Norman Schwarzkopf - United States Army


"Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it's essential to being human."Jewel - singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist

Music can give you your dreams. It will teach you hard work, it will break your heart and make you so happy, you can't stand it. . . .I don't think I'd have been president if it hadn't been for music.

Bill ClintonFormer U.S. President

final thoughts
Final Thoughts

As stated, band is an important part of the a student’s life. It offers many opportunities, makes a person think in many different ways, improves reading skills, improves math skills, and many other skills in life. Having band in the school setting is a vital part of a student’s whole learning experience.

Band should not be considered an “elitist” class, but an “inclusive” class. Everyone who has the opportunity to be in a band, should be in a band. Band should be available for every student in the province. The benefits out-weigh the costs of a program. Programs could thrive on a budget less than the budget of a football team. The difference between a football budget and a band budget is, the football experience is for a matter of months, where the band experience is for a life time. Supporting band in the schools is supporting the future of the students.

Adrian Bourgeois


We are one of the few nations that has successfully integrated music education as a choice in the daily school curriculum; music is not just for the “chosen few,” but we can embrace all students availing them to the intrinsic value of music. Music for the sake of music; there is no substitute, and without the understanding of the immeasurable benefits of music learning, music listening, and music making, many people simply will never tap that creative part of their artistic potential. We must educate to perpetuate the theme: music for all.

Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser


Why We Teach Music

Music is a science: it is exact, specific, and it demands exact acoustics. Aconductor's full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies,intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with themost exact control of time.Music is a foreign language: most of the terms are in Italian, German, orFrench; and the notation is certainly not English-but a highly developedkind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics ofmusic is the most complete and universal language.Music is mathematical: it is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of timeinto fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.


Music is history: music usually reflects the environment and times of itscreation, often even the country and/or racial feeling.Music is physical education: it requires fantastic coordination of fingers,hands, arms, lips, cheek and facial muscles, in addition to extraordinarycontrol of the diaphragm, back, stomach and chest muscles, which respondinstantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.Music is all of these things, but most of all music is art: it allows ahuman being to take all these dry, technically boring (but difficult)techniques and use them to create emotion. That is one thing science cannotduplicate: feelings, emotion. . . call it what you will.That is why we teach music! Not because we expect you to major in music. Notbecause we expect you to play or sing all of your life. Not so you canrelax. Not so you can have fun. BUT- so you will be human - so you willrecognize beauty - so you will be sensitive - so you will be closer to andinfinite beyond this world - so you will have something to cling to - so youwill have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more goodness inshort - more life. Of what value will it be to make a prosperous livingunless you know how to live?That is why we teach music!

keep band strong in the province
Keep Band Strong in the Province

Share the love and language of music. Give qualified teachers the opportunity to share their love, knowledge, and understanding of music with the students. Music is a universal language and band is the means of communicating the language.


Information from:

  • Why Music is Basic: The Value of Music Education Compiled and Edited by Bruce Pearson-compliments of the Neil A. KJOS Music Company
    • Multiple References within the above resource (refer to the document for remaining references
  • Versatile, Concise Music Advocacy Facts Provided by the Selmer Company
  • Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser-”Setting the Stage for the Future of Music”
  • I would personally like to thank the following people:
    • Bruce Pearson for giving permission to use the document he compiled as a reference for advocacy
    • The Saskatchewan Band Association for bringing forth this project
    • Lorne Calvert for supporting this project with a personal quote
    • Everyone else involved for their support and help
  • I hope the information presented is useful. If you have any concerns, questions, or ideas for the presentation, feel free to contact me at:
    • adrianbourgeois@yahoo.ca