August 24, 2008

Young Band Members Sought

By Miranda C.R. White

REDLANDS - Redlands Unified School District elementary band director Jeff Apmadoc hosted an assembly at Kimberly Elementary School Friday to introduce fourth- and fifth-graders to the idea of playing musical instruments in a band.

"Generally music is its own magic, and I have the pleasure of introducing them to music," Apmadoc said. "Music isn't for everyone, but you never know unless you try it."

He opened his show playing Disney and American songs, among others, on his trombone.

"Music is good for all levels, and we have them all," Apmadoc said. "Sometimes music is the first thing a child may be successful at and is special to them."

The district's band program asks kids to commit for a year, and they usually have about 550 kids sign up each year.

"One of my main goals is to feed the kids to the middle and high school programs," Apmadoc said. "Without a feeder program, the middle and high school band wouldn't flourish."

Apmadoc said his favorite part is watching kids change throughout the year.

"Music prepares them for academics, social skills, leadership and teamwork," Apmadoc said. "A child remembers the lessons in practicing, commitment and perseverance. The band concept is what makes kids want to play."

He said all the kids are brought together after school at Mariposa Elementary School four days a week for lessons. He said it was like a mini field trip.

"This is the ninth year where I have two assistants who are music education members at the University of Redlands and go once a week to 15 schools in the school district," Apmadoc said. "Our biggie at the end of the year is the all-district music festival."

Students have to provide their own instruments, but they do not have to pay for lessons.

"We provide the music lessons so you don't have to pay," Apmadoc said.

He went over the instrument families to show the kids what they could play.

"It was good and enjoyable," said student Melissa Peikani, 9. "My parents want me to do music and I thought it would be cool. Thinking about what instrument to play was helpful."

Elementary saxophone player Troy Fields said his favorite part of band last year was going to the Redlands East Valley High School festival and having a good time playing with his friends.

"It's really fun and you get to learn a lot of stuff," Troy said. "I think I just thought it would be more fun than trumpet because I couldn't do that buzzing thing."

The motto for the district band is "Got music? Music makes your life better."

E-mail Staff Writer Miranda C.R. White at [email protected]

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