Particularly in BAND ROOMS...! It's a great thing!

Train Your Brain - Forget Apps - Learn an Instrument

LCMS Alum William Welter, performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Principal Oboe, 2018 (third from center left)

Welter CSO


BAND INSTRUMENT DISPLAY NIGHT MONDAY, 8/27/18 from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
LCMS Cafeteria

Dear Parents,


It is with great excitement that we welcome your family to our instrumental music program!


Learning to play a musical instrument and acquiring the unique habits of mind that come with it is one of the most incredible opportunities that our school can offer your child. The instrument that will be placed in your child’s hands has the power to transform their lives in ways that no other endeavor can. In addition to musical accomplishments, this year your child will learn to:


•Be patient and persistent with difficult tasks;

•Delay gratification by working in order to sound better;

•Develop curiosity, problem-solve, and cultivate grit.

You play a vital role in the musical education of your child, and you can be successful at this even if you don’t believe yourself to be musical! Supporting your child at home is easy and fun — if you can teach them to wash dishes, you can help them develop a healthy practice routine at home, and I will assist you along the way. In the meantime, there are only a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure that your child enjoys music as part of their life for years to come:


1. Treat music as a long-term commitment right from the start. Students who identify that they will play their instrument for longer than one year outperform students who only commit to one year of playing by up to 400% — practicing the same amount of time if not less! The ideas and mindsets students bring to their musical instrument study have a direct effect on their success, and it’s the parents’ role to set the tone on the first day by not giving their child an “easy out” to quit. Make the decision to invest in your child’s music education for at least a few years of their schooling and you will see incredible results this year.


2. Treasure the escape from “high-stakes” studies. It seems that everywhere we turn, academic expectations run higher and panic begins to set in: about acing the exam, not marring the transcript, or keeping up with “high-achieving” peers. Playing a musical instrument helps parents pull their children off this fast track, if even for a moment, and not worry that other children will wind up “ahead." Instrumental music gives children the room to find their genuine passions, the freedom to discover true independence, and the space to fail and bounce back. They will become better people as a result this year through their musical studies.


3. Embrace the “offline” time. Your child’s ability to become a deep and complex person relies so much upon their ability to build their attention span. In our lightning-fast digital world, children do not have enough opportunity to build understanding and intelligence through mindful, solitary activities. Musical instrument instruction facilitates this offline, “slow-world” learning and brings children together in a unique, “unplugged” ensemble when they have band class.

4. Understand that your child’s instrumental music experience is just as (if not more) crucial to their growth as human beings than any other subject. Music is much more than a “special” or a “frill” subject — it is a core subject, and it should be approached that way by all of us. When taught with healthy rigor, it is often the most enjoyable subject during the school day, and the home practice should be treated as an essential part of the homework routine. When taught well and minimally supported at home, the craft of learning a musical instrument develops fortitude, willpower, and metacognitive skills that parents stay up at night hoping their children have when they grow up.


5. Don’t let your child quit too soon. All children are capable of enjoying a successful K-12 music experience with a little support. By not letting your child quit, you are sending a clear message to everyone in our school system that you believe playing a musical instrument cultivates crucial “non-cognitive” skills that matter so much in the grown-up world. Spend 5-10 minutes a night helping your child create a practice routine and they will be far less likely to become frustrated and quit too early in their studies.


At the beginning of every school year I am not only passionate about growing a new generation of musician, music lover, and future patron of the arts — I am determined to arm our children with the tools to become great thinkers, citizens, and lifelong lovers of learning. I will take care of the musical instruction on my end, but the actions of parents assisting their children’s practice at home, accompanied with a long-term commitment to their children staying in our school music program, will ensure that they receive the best education our schools have to offer.


We hope to see you at our band instrument display night, on Monday, August 27, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. You can drop in at anytime during this window of time to visit with representatives from both Rieman Music (Des Moines/Creston, IA, business phone number: 1-800-947-9139 Rieman Music Website) and Schmitt Music (Minneapolis/Omaha, NE, business phone number: 402-391-5588 Schmitt Music Website.) There, you will be able to compare both stores' rent-to-own instrument plans and obtain your student's equipment. This is a drop-in and say "hello" event to the band directors: Dr. Kurt will be in the cafeteria at the band display and Mr. Aldrich will be in the band room during the middle school open house hours. 

Of course, you are free to consider other options for your instrument and equipment needs for your child. This event is provided to the parents of our community as a convenient opportunity through the contracted services of the aforementioned vendors.

Please join us in what I know will be a transformative experience for your child this year.




Dr. Kurt


Check out this outstanding LCMS alum stepping into a big role in Chicago at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! We are so proud of you! Don't forget to come visit!

CSO hires new principal oboe, William Welter, one of its youngest first chairs everChicago Symphony Orchestra Hires William Welter as Principal Oboe.


Academic Achievement isn't the Only Mission

See this 2017 Phi Delta Kappa Poll which finds that, of those polled...

"82% say that it is highly important for schools to help students develop interpersonal skills, such as being cooperative, respectful of others, and persistent at solving problems.  

These interests complement rather than supplant an interest in academics: 76% of respondents see advanced academic classes as highly important indicators of school quality. Notably, nearly as many say it’s also extremely or very important that schools offer extracurricular activities (70%) and art and music classes (71%)."

Three Ways Music Instruction in Schools Teaches Grit (and Why Children Need it So Badly Now)
from The Music Parents Guide
‚ÄčRead at External Website

Value and Importance of School Music Programs
(from The Iowa Bandmaster Magazine, Fall 2015, Vol. 74, No. 2)
We talk a lot about the value and importance of extracurricular activities for kids. Want to know a really good one? Marching band. Or orchestra. Or just regular old band. The point being, music is like spinach or broccoli or apples - really good for your child's growth (mental, mostly, though there's evidence music also helps with the physical stuff). Consider these little nuggets from a Harris poll showing how more musically inclined kids tend to also go farther in education:

65% of those with a high school education participated in a music program.
That figure climbs to 86% for college graduates.
It reaches nearly 90% for post-graduates.

And if income matters to you, note that 83% of people earning $150,000 or more per year participated in school music programs. 

So why or is music such an important predictor of achievement? Herewith are five reasons your child should join band:

1. The music itself. Turns out human brains are wired for music and numerous studies have demonstrated that kids who learn music - sing, play an instrument, etc. - also are more adept at language, mathematics, and demonstrate higher verbal IQ scores. Music also is a great stress beater, reducing levels of depression and anxiety, which is especially important for teens. (And it's not just for kids. Music is known to slow the brain's aging process, help with sleep, and give the immune system a boost.)

2. The band. Like any team activity, perhaps even more so - band members must learn to play within and as part of the larger group. This commitment to teamwork, the discipline and dedication, the memorization and mastery of an instrument - all combine to develop life skills that will help your child as he or she moves into adulthood and forms lasting relationships (with a mate, kids, colleagues, etc.). Those skills also help us overcome professional and personal obstacles and hurdles, and to recognize the importance of working as part of a team.

3. Now add in the marching part. Anyone who has ever played an instrument knows that adding an extra task to the mix - merging with other instruments, singing, reading sheet music, etc. - amps up (pun intended) the complexities involved. Not surprisingly, band members who must march and play to different tempos and cadences develop multitasking neural connections that benefit them for a lifetime.

4. The friendships and networks. Fraternities are always celebrated for the networking connections they foster, but they don't hold a candle to a band. Kids who play together for years in an orchestra or band will enjoy lifelong friendships that, coupled with their potential for higher achievement, make them ideal networks for professional advancement (remember, most people still get jobs through personal connections).

5. Grit and determination. Every parent from time to time reminds their child that life is hard. Fortunately, participation in extracurricular activities like band - with their constant requirement for kids to fail and try again until they at last succeed - teaches grit and determination. And these two qualities better than most are predictors of how well kids will do in life. The bottom line: Kids who participate in orchestra, band, and marching band will enjoy numerous benefits that, as with any extracurricular activity, outweigh the hassles and headaches associated with practice.

The facts about the importance of music education don’t lie. Here are a few we think are important:

  1. Students in high-quality school music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district.
  2. Schools that have music programs have significantly higher attendance rates than do those without programs (93.3 percent as compared to 84.9 percent).
  3. Schools that have music programs have significantly higher graduation rates than do those without music programs (90.2 percent as compared to 72.9 percent). In addition, those that rate their programs as "excellent or very good" have an even higher graduation rate (90.9 percent).
  4. The combined results of 30 studies indicate that music instruction is linked to significantly improved reading skills.

Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts:
1. Creativity
2. Confidence
3. Problem Solving
4. Perseverance
5. Focus
6. Non-Verbal Communication
7. Receiving Constructive Feedback
8. Collaboration
9. Dedication
10. Accountability
Source: "The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World," by Lisa Phillips

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