A few months ago, a teacher sent me a copy of a note she had received from one of her students. The teacher shared with me that the student was often on the verge of quitting school, was in trouble much of the time, had an unimaginably sad home situation, had few friends, and was seemingly unhappy most of the time. That is, except when he was in band. He never missed rehearsals, was attentive, asked questions, helped other students, participated with excitement, and always offered to lend a hand. In short, during band, he was a model student. Why? There are probably more factors than could fit in a large book, but I think much of it could be summed up in a sentence from that student’s note: “Band is the only place I feel safe and can escape everything else in my life.” How often has each of us experienced or heard that same story where a student finds peace, success, joy, pride, happiness, safety, and comfort in a rehearsal room? Where the band, orchestra, or choir is their family, and where that room makes them feel at home. I think we would all do well to remember his words and the depth of what our ensembles mean to so many.

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.” Dr. Boonshaft was selected for the Center for Scholarly Research and Academic Excellence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, where he is Professor Emeritus of Music.