ASHTON — Ashton Elementary’s school year includes beginning band instruments purchased by a grant awarded to the school from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation.
The instruments are for students who wish to join the band program but lack funding to rent or purchase instruments. The idea behind the program is, students can use the instruments until they can either rent or purchase one of their own or until they graduate from Hannan, or leave the band program.
Beginner band instruments enable students to experience the benefits which come from playing an instrument. Benefits like being able to represent their school and Mason County by traveling and performing at places they might not ever have have a chance to experience otherwise. These experiences are like becoming part of a group of people that bond as friends and support people for life; like training their brains to be more of a critical thinker which actually creates a better student across all content areas – so many benefits.
Instruments have already arrived at Ashton and were available for use beginning this year.
As for why the program is beneficial, staff report students who participate in music programs historically perform academically better across all content areas. They also have a lower discipline rate and higher attendance rates. Creating music requires use of many parts of the brain simultaneously – the benefits are staggering for any age group and particularly beneficial for young brains. Belonging to a group like the band builds a sense of community which allows students to share and build relationships with people across all possible kinds of divisions.
The new band director, Timothy Huffman, is hoping to have enough students to field a marching band. He is well on his way with an estimated 45 students in the combined fifth and sixth grade bands this year at Ashton.
Maria Eshenaur is an educator with Mason County Schools.