Music Education
Grambling Marching Band Big on Music Education
By Lance Davis
Sep 9, 2005, 15:04

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The clock counts down–five four three two one. Instead of leaving for the concession stands, you wait. Suddenly, you stand to your feet with everyone else as the band marches, seizing the field like an army of ants at a picnic. At that moment, you don’t care what the score board says, but only what’s about to happen on the field. If you have ever experienced this before, you probably witnessed a halftime performance from the Grambling State University “World Famed Tiger Marching Band”.

When it comes to music education, this university band has gone beyond the classroom. Internationally known for its breathtaking performances, the Grambling Band has traveled all over the world including Japan, Africa, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean.
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In addition, the band has made numerous achievements, such as performing in Super Bowl I, IX, and XXXII; becoming the first band inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame; and making a recent performance in the blockbuster hit, "Drumline."

Located in Grambling, Louisiana, the GSU band consists of musicians from across the country. Freshmen arrive annually on August 1 for band camp, which will prepare them for the season.

With all this in mind, the Grambling band should be viewed as an excellent example of the value of music education. Several of its current and alumni members have had unforgettable experiences via music education and the GSU band.

“I enjoyed my four years of traveling across the United States serving as an ambassador for GSU," said recent graduate Monica McNeely. "The band and music helped me to learn the value of hard work, discipline, dedication, and time management.”

Current members like Kimilie Reed have gained personal growth from being involved in music.

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“Since I’ve been exposed to music, I’ve met people who have left unique imprints on my mind and in my heart. Furthermore, I am confident that I will be successful because my instructors in the Grambling band have instilled values in me that will allow me to leave college better than I came.”

On the college level, there are band and music organizations that have made a commitment to serving the needs of music education. Reed stated, “Tau Beta Sigma shares the knowledge of music with others. We set examples of how music elevates our lives, with hopes of inspiring others to allow it to do the same. In addition, we work with local high school and elementary students.”

“Kappa Kappa Psi assists the band directors in developing leadership, discipline, and enthusiasm amongst students in band and it honors outstanding musicians,” explained Ramon Washington, a music education major.

Students involved with the band have been inspired to pursue careers in the very field that has touched their lives.

When it comes to education, music is viewed as less of a priority as evidenced by the hasty cuts of programs across the country. On the contrary, GSU band members plead to differ.

“Music is a universal language. You can express your feelings, culture, and passions without words. It keeps kids out of trouble. If it weren't for music education, many students would not go to college,” insisted Washington.

Music education major, Joseph Bellamy added, “If there is no music, there is no creativity.”

Consequently, these various testimonies suggest the significant role music has played on many lives. Therefore, more efforts to enhance and sustain music education programs should be made. The GSU band, one of music’s finest, seems to think so.

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