Audience members tapped their feet, clapped, and sang along as bands performed “Happy,” “Wagon Wheel,” “Blame it on the Boogie,” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” during the winter Pop Band concert last Friday. Students from 5th grade up showcased their talents as vocalists, drummers, keyboardists, saxophonists, and more. But Pop Band is much more than simply learning an instrument. “It is about bringing all that previous learning and putting it to a practical and fun use,” says Music Teacher Mike Woods.
Participating in Pop Band is a big step in a musician's independence and growth. It takes coordination, teamwork, and communication from students. Members have to learn to negotiate challenges and make decisions on the fly. “There is nothing else quite like playing in a band,” Mike says. Equating playing in a band to sports, he explains, “it is a stream of critical thinking decisions informed by practice.”
What you might not know is that students perform critical roles behind the scenes as well. Students take on lighting, sound, and production roles collaborating with the bands to maximize the audience’s experience with each set. They make it feel more like an arena concert than a school performance. They choose which graphics to display on the screen, where to direct spotlights, and how to shoot and display live action during the performances. These roles are partly guided by music teachers but also offer leadership opportunities for the more experienced students.
“It is a mélange of technical, musical, and artistic skills that come together and leaves an indelible mark on the kids,” says Mike.
Mark your calendars for May 19 to see the magic of our six pop bands come alive!
Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.