Keeping the Blues Alive / Blues News  / KTBA Weekly Donation  / KTBA Donates New 3-Octave Xylophone to Music Program

KTBA Donates New 3-Octave Xylophone to Music Program

School Name – Simpson Central School

Teacher Name: Mr. John Wesley, Music Teacher

PINOLA, MS – Thanks to your donations, KTBA donated a brand new 3-octave xylophone to
the music program at Simpson Central School. The gift package includes an instrument
stand and a travel bag!

“My students are all part of a performing middle school band program. Students showcase
their musical abilities and skills at pep rallies for multiple sports, community band concerts,
and adjudicated contests and festivals. Many of my students excel outside of group
performance on an individual level as well! They practice for auditions, take private lessons,
and continually bug me for deeper, more advanced music.”

“To whom much is given, much is required” – the old saying goes. For exceptional teachers
like Mr. Wesley, his talent and passion for educating and providing appropriate learning
tools has landed him with the difficult task of fulfilling the instrumental voids of the
classroom with a meager budget.

“[My] students’ individual learning as well as the band program’s growth is being stifled
from a lack of quality equipment.”

While several areas of the program do not have the necessary materials, the greatest area of
need is the percussion section.

“If you’ve ever been a part of a musical group, you know that the percussion section is the
“heartbeat” of a group. Without the proper equipment, it is almost impossible to properly
play advanced music. The lack of even the most standard equipment in our percussion
section has severely limited the progression of the student’s growth and maturity as
musicians.

I take my students’ music education very seriously. The amount of time and effort I require
of my students produces great results. However, we have reached a plateau. The lack of
basic mallet percussion equipment is severely impeding the progression of my percussion
students. Because my percussion students cannot progress, neither can the other musicians
in the band program. My band director was fond of saying this:

‘A band program is, like a chain, only as strong as its weakest point.’

The learning of a small group of students is stifled, but it is affecting the entire program.

With a 3-octave xylophone, a whole new range of techniques can be taught to these
students: dampening, multiple mallets, and solo percussion literature to name just a few. As
the percussion section learns to properly play the xylophone, all the students will positively
be affected. A different level of music will be opened up to the entire band program that
wasn’t available before because of the lack of proper instruments. The more difficult and
challenging music I am able to put in front of my students, the more they grow as
musicians.

I am a firm believer that music education changes lives. As my students learn more music,
the more they will be able to contribute to a well-rounded society.”

Keeping the Blues Alive stands in unity with Mr. Wesley and his ambitions. That is why,
thanks to the generosity of Joe Bonamassa fans and music lovers like you, KTBA was able to
donate the 3-octave xylophone for Mr. Wesley’s music program. By incorporating the music
theory behind pitched percussion and the rhythmic virtuosity of a drummer, this band
program will be able to attempt better musical selections and widen their music search
through instrumentation. The percussion section can break out into smaller groups, or
ensembles, to perform chamber literature as well as accompany the larger group as a whole.

Mr. Wesley expresses his gratitude:

Dear Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation, Inc.,

Thank all of you so much for your very generous contributions to my middle school band! The
percussion students are very grateful and incredibly excited to finally have a true mallet
instrument in their classroom. It will make a huge impact on our ability to learn and play
music properly.

With gratitude,
Mr. Wesley

Every week, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation makes a donation to a school in need of
music instruments, supplies, sheet music, and more! Your donation helps us to keep music
in schools, while preserving blues heritage.

If you would like to help us fund next week’s project, click here to make a donation! All
donations are fully tax-deductible!

Thank you for keeping music education in schools!

Shawn Hagood for Keeping the Blues Alive