I moved to Sterling more than 15 years ago to teach band at Challand. I soon realized that I was joining a program with a long tradition of excellence. I am proud of my small contributions to the history of middle school music in this community, and proud that my daughter is now also part of that tradition.
However, the legacy started by Cloyd Meyers more than 70 years ago is about to end. If we allow sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade band, choir and orchestra to be moved outside the school day, it will be the beginning of the end.
Right now, almost half of all students at Challand participate in music, for which they receive full credit. I doubt that percentage would continue if rehearsals are at 7 a.m. Transportation issues would make it difficult for many families to consistently get to rehearsal on time.
Right now, seventh- and eighth-graders are in music class 5 days a week during the school day. One of the possible schedules would cut rehearsal time to 2 days a week before school.
This move suggests that music is an extra-curricular activity. Scientific research shows otherwise.
A 10-year UCLA study, tracking more than 25,000 students, shows that music making improves test scores. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.
For the results of more studies showing the benefits of music education for all our children, go to www.vh1savethemusic.com. Then, let the administrators at Challand know that music belongs in the school day.
Do not let this be the end of a proud music tradition in Sterling.