Blues News

KTBA Gets Lively with New Music Library in Austin, TX!

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Thanks to your donations, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation donated exciting new literature for the band program at Lively Middle School in Austin, TX!

“The band program at my school has a diverse group of students, from within the downtown Austin area, as well as surrounding suburbs,” says Mr. Ryan Thomas, Band Director at Lively Middle School.  

“Our magnet program attracts students from all over the district and from different family and cultural backgrounds. I enjoy seeing people from diverse backgrounds work together towards a common goal of creating a great performance or improving on an instrument.”

It is this passion and dedication that resonates with the KTBA mission for our grant recipients. 

“I love seeing our students’ outlook on their future change in a positive direction because of music.
We are a Title 1 school, so many of our students need assistance with instruments, uniforms, and even essentials like backpacks or a good breakfast in the morning. However, once they get an instrument in their hands, they are all on equal footing. Our students start on an instrument for the first time in 6th grade, and we continue to push their development through 7th and 8th grade. Studying music has a huge impact on my students and their whole family,” Mr. Thomas explains.

“Music provides a lot more to young learners than entertainment. It teaches discipline, self confidence, problem solving, collaboration, and gives them an emotional outlet stronger than any words. Students at the middle school need all of the above in vast quantity. Teaching music to young band musicians is rewarding because it can fill in whatever is missing from each student’s life, whether they knew they needed it or not.”

Selecting music for a group of young musicians is an exercise in differentiation-each piece has to fit the strengths of that year’s group, but also provide an achievable challenge. 

“Having a strong music library gives us the options to tailor each year’s curriculum to that group of students and they’re needs. Not just for the year, but within a six weeks. Imagine if you had text books that could change through the year to fit the students. That’s what a band director does by selecting music for their group. The bigger the options in your library, the better experience for everyone.

We were looking for funds to help expand our music library and add to it. Individual scores and sheet music are not expensive, but having enough to outfit multiple level groups adds up quickly.”

With music budgets being cut around the country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the expense of expanding repertoire for the band program.  Even if teachers could afford a classroom copy of the music, many cannot afford the paper to re-print the music for an entire band program.  As a result of the lack of variety, students become bored with the drills and proficiency lessons. In their defense, the goal of proficiency is to execute it in literature – literature that is expensive and hard to come by, especially for Title I schools with little or no music budget.

Thanks to the generosity of Joe Bonamassa fans and music lovers like yourselves, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation was able to procure the music needed for Mr. Thomas’s band program. Now, he can focus on delegating parts and even using them as audition material for future band students.

Keeping the Blues Alive is a 501c3 organization that makes a donation to a school in need of music instruments, supplies, sheet music, and more every week! Your donations help us keep music in schools, while preserving blues heritage.

In order to keep the ball rolling, we appreciate your donations to keep music education funding alive in schools across the country. If you would like to help us to continue to make an impact on music education in America, click here to make a donation! All donations are fully tax-deductible and go to a GREAT cause!

Thank you for supporting music education for the next generation!

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HELPING YOU STAY INFORMED

KTBA is committed to sharing high-quality educational resources with music teachers and schools affected by the COVID-19 Crisis. As school districts adapt to virtual/distance-learning platforms, we have updated our Music Education Resources page.