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Urbandale Musicians Ascending The Staircase To Transformation

Posted January 22, 2013 in Community Web Exclusives, Urbandale

URBANDALE, Iowa – January 22, 2013 – The Urbandale J-Hawk Instrumental Music Program is redesigning music instruction and education as we know it. Everything from changing how lessons are scheduled, to revamping how rehearsals are structured, to shifting the focus from teaching to learning, are all key strategies being implemented to more fully align with the mission of the Urbandale J-Hawk Band of “performing to inspire.”

The traditional structure for scheduling individual lessons based on time being rigid and learning being flexible does not apply in Urbandale. Showing up for a music lesson to fulfill a time requirement is a thing of the past. Now, students receive well-defined learning objectives that can be tackled in the order of their choosing over the course of a semester. Students self-schedule their lessons based on when they are ready to either demonstrate how they have learned the objective (prove), or request instruction on how to enrich their knowledge of the objective (improve). By doing so, success becomes the only option as students must either “prove or improve” their skillset.

“I share with our students all the time that there is no elevator to the top; you have to take the stairs in order to achieve results,” said Myron Peterson, Director of Urbandale Bands. “Providing a learning environment that develops a lifelong appreciation for music, motivates students to take ownership of their achievements, and enables students to contribute to something larger than themselves, are fundamental tenets for the success of our students and our music program.”

Another notable change is how rehearsal time is structured. Traditionally, most band rehearsals consist of teacher-led instruction which accounts for the majority of rehearsal time. Urbandale allocates time differently by decreasing time for the traditional teacher-led strategy and increasing time for individual practice and small group sectionals. Through allocating more time for independent, cooperative, and collaborative learning strategies, students feel more connected and engaged with each other and their learning.

The Urbandale J-Hawk Instrumental Music Program offers a breadth of opportunities for students looking to grow their musical talents. Students may participate in the marching band, wind ensemble, symphonic band, jazz bands, solo, and honor bands. Musicians in these bands have been continually awarded for outstanding performances. This past fall, the UHS Marching Band earned its 29thconsecutive Division I rating at the Iowa High School Music Association’s statewide marching contest; demonstrating once again the power of performing to inspire. To view the full list of upcoming Urbandale J-Hawk Band events, visit:

About Urbandale Community School District

The Urbandale Community School District includes portions of Des Moines and Urbandale, Iowa. The district serves over 3,900 students in six elementary schools, one middle school and one comprehensive high school. The Urbandale district supports an increasingly diverse student population where 42 different languages are spoken. Building on the existing foundation of excellence in education, Urbandale is transforming education throughout the district.  By implementing innovative Quality/Continual Improvement tools and tactics that create learning environments that more fully engage, challenge, and motivate students, Urbandale is taking transformation from theory into practice. Urbandale prepares students for becoming life-long learners and is a school district that brings learning to life for everyone. For more information, visit:

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