Achieving consecutive class 1A high school marching band state championships has increased participation in Michael Bowles's music program at Cedaredge High School and Cedaredge Middle School.
In 2012, he took 17 musicians to the state finals where the band notched its second consecutive state title.
This year for the state semi-finals and finals at Grand Junction on Monday his band numbered 28 musicians strong.
Has the band's success on the playing field increased participation in the classroom? "Definitely," Bowles told the DCI during an interview conducted prior to the 2013 state marching band finals in Grand Junction on Monday.
"I think every student from sixth to twelfth grade should take music," Bowles said. The study of music produces "new cognitive connections" in students' nervous systems. "Music brings together math, reading, writing, and even social studies."
In addition to the academic advantages of music study, music class offers important social benefits to some students. "A kid who may not have found an academic niche in traditional subject areas can find it in band," he said. In band, students also learn to be a key element of a larger group, and that is an important developmental experience for young students. The self esteem that comes from being part of a state championship organization is a benefit that lasts a lifetime.
Prior to the finals on Monday, Bowles said that this year's CHS marching band's bigger size will create a bigger sound. "This will be the first time I've taken a band that has more than one clarinet," he said.
The school's success in 2011 and 2012 has inspired other small bands in the 1A class to step up their programs. "The smaller bands in the state have learned from our success that you can win without being big. You can win by being good," he said.
The Cedaredge success has established "a whole new standard" for the 1A class and has inspired their competition. "Everyone has raised their game with the championship in their sights," he said.
But the CHS marching unit isn't resting on past success. Bowles is expecting more from his musicians this year, too. Along with the bigger band and bigger sound, this year's six-minute-long performance will be "the most difficult routine yet with more difficult music and marching," he said.blog comments powered by Disqus