URBANDALE, Iowa – February 10, 2014 – Urbandale High School recently hosted its fifth-annual Urbandale Band Summit designed to provide aspiring student musicians with mentorship, leadership and relationship-building skills. The morning opened with the high school bands collaborating in master classes facilitated by professional musicians. In the afternoon, the high school band students served as the master class leaders for the seventh and eighth-grade band students. Throughout the day, Urbandale Band Instructors rehearsed combined groups of seventh through twelfth-grade band students in order to conclude the Summit with an impressive, blended evening performance.
“The Urbandale Band Summit is an exciting event that combines a great musical experience with getting to know the high school band directors and band students,” said Daphne Monson, Seventh and Eighth-Grade Instrumental Music Instructor at Urbandale Middle School. “It empowers high school students to embrace leadership roles and provides strong examples for middle school students to emulate. It also helps ease the transition for middle school students as they prepare to enter high school, and gives them a vision of where they’re going as they move forward in their musical career.”
Over 300 high school and middle school band students attended the Summit. Professional musicians worked with students on every instrument and encouraged students to more fully connect with their music.
“As a retired United States Air Force Master Sergeant that played horn for over 20 years, my goal is to impart knowledge and experience, and help students to be more open to taking different approaches in their music,” said Dan Peichl. “Students can play the notes on the page but there’s so much more than just notes on the page. I strive to help students express themselves through their music and tell their story through their instrument.”
Urbandale High School senior, Kim Moothart, shared how she learned the importance of colors in music and the notion of really listening. “I play the flute and would always listen to the other sections to hear if they sounded good, but now I really key in and listen to them in a much more profound way,” said Moothart. “I took what I learned in my morning master class and applied it as I facilitated an afternoon session with middle school band students. My goal was to make sure the middle school students had a fun time, felt comfortable at the high school and enjoyed interacting together.”
“Research shows the process of learning an instrument strengthens and magnifies students’ growth in other academic areas and nurtures 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, creative and critical thinking, and social responsibility. While those are good reasons to study a musical instrument, they are not the best reason,” said Myron Peterson, Director of Urbandale Bands. “The best reason to study music is because it has the unique ability to create a real and emotional connection between different people across space and time. It can connect performers to each other in real time, and it allows a living audience to hear a story told by a 17th century composer. This type of connection defines what it means to be part of all humanity. We hope this event helps students discover that connection. Once they do, it is lifelong.”
The Urbandale J-Hawk Instrumental Music Program offers a breadth of opportunities for students looking to grow their musical talents. High school students may participate in the marching band, wind ensemble, symphonic band, jazz bands, solo and honor bands. Middle school students may participate in general music and instrumental bands. No matter what path students choose to take, all programs align with the mission of the Urbandale J-Hawk Band of “performing to inspire.”
“It’s a joy to have the opportunity to work with Urbandale students as they have such a strong drive for learning and improving,” said Paul Brizzi, Adjunct Professor of Instrumental Education classes at Drake University and former Director of Bands at Ankeny High School. “We discuss the fundamentals but we move beyond them in order to create musical moments where we understand that music is an emotion. It’s simple really—I just want music to change their lives.”
Upcoming Urbandale J-Hawk Band performances include an Instrumental Solo Contest on February 17, 2014 followed by the Tallcorn Festival at the University of Northern Iowa on February 20–21, 2014. To learn more about how Urbandale is transforming education in order to increase engagement, improve achievement, encourage collaboration and ignite a renewed passion for learning, download the district brochure and visit http://showcase.urbandaleschools.com/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 50 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 strategies 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 lifelong learners and is a school district that brings learning to life for everyone. To learn more, visit: www.urbandaleschools.com