Adult Participation in Community Bands
The number of community bands in the United States is rising, and
adults in community bands cite two main reasons for their
1) social environment
2) pursuit of happiness and excellence
The overwhelming majority of participants in community bands
performed in school bands, and statistically, very few have taken
private lessons on their instrument (generally less than 10% in
most community bands.)
The trend toward community bands makes us believe that school
music directors are doing something right. The sense of
community, aesthetics, and perseverance instilled in school band
members remains throughout life. Adults who play in community
bands come from different occupations and backgrounds.
However, they are all taxpayers, they can vote, and through their
actions they are advocates for music education.
Here are some quotes from members of a Japanese community
band about the reasons they are musicians:
"I feel it gives me a rich life." (Nurse)
"It helps to keep good communication between my husband and
myself. I feel good when we get applause from the audience when
we are on stage." (Housewife)
"The music I play helps me to express myself. Music is part
of my life." (Office worker)
"I like to continue to pursue the joy of learning." (Government
"This is the only thing I can do." (Operator)
"I get frustrated if I just listen to music." (Junior high school
"I can't forget the emotion [happy moments] when we perform the
concert." (University student)
"I can forget about myself." (Salesman)
"I never forget the impression of beautiful harmony." (Graphic
"I can see the communication among the city people."
"Since I started to play music when I was little, if I continue, I
feel I can keep my childhood feeling and memory." (Electrical
"Music is the oasis of my heart. Through music I can express
myself." (Doctor)
"Being a musician is, I think, the order from God. As long as
music exists in the universe, I will continue." (Computer hardware
"For my life." (Bookstore clerk)
Encourage your students to keep playing and singing after they
leave school. It will lead to more music supporters in your
community and an enriched life for your former students.
Source: "Participation in Community and Company Bands in
Japan" by Deborah A. Sheldon. Published in "Update:
Applications of Research in Music Education." Vol.17 No.1,
Fall-Winter 1998.
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