Local band director Blair Barrett hopes to keep the music alive with a new band program for kids in elementary and junior high school levels in Newark after cut band in its elementary and junior high schools.
While the program is independent from the school district, school facilities will be paid for to use for class time.
All funding will primarily be spent on use of the classrooms and it will come from tuition and payments.
Student tuition is $12 per class hour and classes will run 26 weeks long. The full tuition for one student amounts to $320.
According to Barrett, there are numerous benefits to joining the program.
“Music helps kids with their hand-eye coordination. It helps them develop listening and concentration skills,” Barrett said. “Kids relate to music often better than they do verbally. They can learn a song or tune much easier than they can learn how to read or speak or take an English course. It’s not as dry to them.”
Barrett also discussed how scientific studies show how learning music helps wire the brain for better problem-solving skills.
Barrett is confident that his previous experiences will help him go forward with this new endeavor.
He is a 1983 graduate of the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia and had directed numerous community bands and orchestras in Florida and California.
He has also served as a musical director for more than a dozen musical productions, including for shows with the Stage 1 Community Theatre and Newark Memorial High School Drama’s upcoming production of “.”
He said his experiences have prepared him to take on the new program head on. It has also taught him about patience and how imperfection can be acceptable.
The method that Barrett has selected to use to teach his classes is called the Yamaha Advantage. He chose this one over others because it incorporates several aspects older methods don’t have.
The Yamaha Advantage teaches students about music from different cultures and backgrounds, and Barrett said children will be able to relate to this, especially because they live in such a diverse community.
Yamaha Advantage also includes a multimedia aspect, since students can visit the Yamaha Advantage website and get more practice material that is not provided in the book.
Barrett hopes to hold concerts, but those dates have yet to be deterined. He has been working closely with the Newark Memorial band/choir teacher Joanne Hong.
Barrett highly believes that his new band program will get a positive response from the community.
“I’m very optimistic. I think we should get a lot of response,” he said. “Many of the principals whom I have spoken to at the elementary schools have been very positive and are glad that this program is beginning. I’m hoping for and expecting a good turnout for classes.”
Class sign-ups will take place over a course of three days. Sign-ups will take place:
- Nov. 15 and 17 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. inside the former band room at
- Nov. 16 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 14 of .
For more information, visit the program’s website at www.bandcourse.bcbservices.com.