We - the past, future, current, parents, friends, and family of the members of Keansburg’s Bolger Middle School Music program are against your planning of changing the music program from a curricular activity into a extracurricular activity.
The fact that at this moment the band classes are not being seen as a justified course for students is devastating. We understand that the music program is not being taken away but is in jeopardy of losing its integrity. This is why we have started this petition to put a stop to this change.
Changing the music program into an extracurricular activity will have many detriments in our community that we fear will be the end of the music program all together.
It is our understanding that at this time it is your plan to not “cut” the program but to change the times of learning and practicing of band to only be available to students before or after school. This is unacceptable for the following reasons;
Keansburg being a small community as it is, many of the students who participate in band also participate in other after school activities. Having band as an educational class during the day allowed a student to do more than just sports, chess club, debate club, etc… For our school we believe that the music program brings students together who normally would never even talk to each other. Band was one of those organizations where there were no stereotypes. One of the reasons for this was band class was during the day, part of the curriculum, which gave students with the same interests the opportunity to work together, while still leaving them the option to enjoy other activities after school. By changing music into an extracurricular activity our students will now have to choose between band, sports, school club organizations, or after school tutoring. We understand that it is your intention to have the other programs start after 3:00pm, but are other schools willing to wait for us? If a baseball or softball game is to begin at 3:15pm and it is an away game, how will the student who is involved in band make it in time? Let’s not forget the fact that our Middle school does not even have a softball or baseball field on Middle school grounds. So again I ask, how is the timing going to effectively work?
As our community knows we have a horrible stigma about our town. Concert Band has won plenty of awards over the years, something that has given our community something to be PROUD of. You are depriving us the chance to show that our community can achieve such great awards.
Music when taught academically rather than just a hobby is said to help students with math and science. Many studies have been done to support this theory. Students learn to count, keep rhythm, multiply, divide, work together as a group (which is a huge skill needed in the workplace), concentration, and responsibility. Music education broadens students horizons, and makes them think about complex patterns (where does their part fit into the piece of music), and makes them self aware (how can they make their part sound better, and how does the whole bands part sound in tone and intonation). Music enlightens us of different cultures and different techniques that are used. Music is an outlet for stress, anger, sadness, happiness even. Children need an outlet to express emotion and music is a healthy and educational outlet for that.
Music does all of these things, which is why we ask, why are you trying to take that part of our education away?
As “we” the community can see music is very important in our lives. Music education is frequently underestimated and considered “play time” but it is not that, not even in the least bit. And yes it appears that we are having fun, mainly because we are, but we are having fun doing something that is challenging us mentally and physically.
"We've all seen the "Save the Music" Programs and TV specials, but I don't think we've ever realized how it can hit so close to home even though our program is not being taken away; it is being changed for the worse. Music is a part everyone’s life every day. Music is how people express themselves. How they find who they are. Music touches us. Moves us. Whitney Houston. Michael Jackson. Donna Summers. Biggy Smalls. Tupac. Ray Charles. Clarence Clemons. All legends, changed history and from doing what? MUSIC. Whether you sing, play an instrument, compose symphonies, rap, throw beats down. Music is the one thing that is constant in life. It is a release. There's not one person that can say truthfully that they do not like music. Music is there when all else fails., but if they do change this music program, most feel as though the program will then face extinction in a few short years or even months. Future generations will never be as blessed as every single one of us who have had the experience of learning to play an instrument. Being in band was something that made us all proud, made us feel a part of something good, of something powerful. Knowing that there are students that may never feel the way we felt when we walked away from a competition with 1st Place / Superior rating. To see those other school cringe at the "Blueberries" getting off that bus in Dorney park, is disheartening. We need to take a stand. We've always been the underdogs, looked down upon but if there's one thing music and Ms. Grimaldi has taught us, it's that we may be small, and few, but we will ALWAYS prevail. Save the music."
-Amy Ann Kelly
Again, we are against your decision on changing the band program into an after or before school program. Please reconsider your decision.
Members of the Past, Future, Current, Friends, and Family of Joseph R. Bolger's Middle School Concert Band.
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