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Mustang High School's Nightrider Band Puts Music Education First

By Elisha Neubauer

Despite the constant funding battle music education faces in schools these days, it is common knowledge that it is an important factor in the growth of many, many children. Music is said to increase awareness and interpersonal skills, self confidence, and the ability to process information. It is a method of self expression and allows children to blossom in their own way.

At Mustang High School in Mustang, Oklahoma, music education is supported to the fullest. In fact, the MHS Marching Band is a 16-time OSSAA Sweepstakes award winner. The band currently serves over 1,200 students on a daily basis, through several different groups such as the MHS Jazz Ensemble, several Concert Bands, and the Nightrider Band. The MHS Jazz Ensembles have been ranked among the top performers in Oklahoma, continually placing in the top three slots each year.

The Mustang Winterguard came home as a 2015 WGI Regional Finalist, while the Mustang HS Marching Band continues to take a consistent Top 6 finalist position in the State rankings annually. In 2015, the MHS Marching Band was a finalist at the Bands of America Super Regional and the Wind Ensemble was featured this year at the 2016 Music for All National Festival. It is clear that at Mustang High School, music education is a priority.

"Our band program teaches much more than 'instrumental music,'" states Ryan Edgmon, Director of Bands and Instrumental Music Coordinator. "As a philosophy, we teach students first and music second." What does Edgmon mean by this?

As he explains it, the music education program at MHS works tirelessly to focus on certain key behaviors, traits, and skills prior to focusing on the music aspect. Concepts they focus on include accountability, responsibility, character, inter and intrapersonal skills. "This is all in addition to teaching students an artform that allows them a creative outlet for self-expression," he adds.

During the course of the year, the MHS Band Program seeks to teach students to practice, problem solve, and perfect their art. But, while this may be utilized in their music, Edgmon likes to ensure that they are skills the students can practice in other areas of their daily lives. "Personally, I think the most active kids in school are the best kids in school in terms of achievement and attitude," he explains. "I strongly believe that the arts (like band) programs develop good students and even better citizens."

Keeping the students active and busy while enrolled in the MHS Band Program is not a difficult task. The band itself participates in both local and national competitions. They have been invited to travel to places such as Indianapolis, IN and St. Louis, MO by Bands of America to participate in large scale events.

Locally, the band performs at all Mustang High School home football games as well as several contests in both OKC and Tulsa. Concert Bands, of which there are 15, perform at seasonal concerts. All bands in the program participate in a pre-contest concert twice annually, in February and April. "Our Jazz Ensembles also perform at local events as well as our annual concerts," Edgmon affirms.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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