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Why Band?
Written by Jason Whang | Published. 2018.04.12 18:46 | Count : 567

On the 13th of March 2018, members of the Seoul Foreign High School Wind Ensemble travelled down to Daejeon to attend the KIMEA(Korea International Music Educators Association) National Large Group Band Festival, hosted by the Taejeon Christian International School (TCIS).

The KIMEA Large Group Band Festival evaluates middle and high school bands from international schools across the nation on a four-category rating: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze with Platinum being the highest rating. Three adjudicators, all with prestigious musical backgrounds, judge bands on a variety of music indicators, including accuracy, dynamics, articulation, tone, and more. Based on these categories, bands are awarded an overall rating of either Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze. The Seoul Foreign High School Wind Ensemble was honored with three Platinum ratings from three judges, finishing overall with a ‘Platinum’ rating. 

[Platinum Award]
So, what is it like to play in a Platinum-rating band? It’s first and foremost an honorable experience. I have been playing the Trombone for nearly five years, and it was the first time an ensemble that I have been a part was recognized as a top-notch, exemplary band. It is rewarding to see my contributions and efforts combined with the work of others led to an auspicious result. 
“I am honored and proud for being part of a Platinum-level band” explains Seungwon Choi, a clarinetist of the High School Wind Ensemble, also a writer for the Herald Insight and Tomorrow. “Although unexpected, it is the paradigm of how hours of rehearsal and the unity of the band produce striking outcomes.”  
Playing in an ensemble provides me with some respite from the intense, academic rigor of our  high school curriculum. At the end of every other school day, 65 minutes of rehearsal time is something I look forward to and relieves some stress.  The opportunity to rehearse music, built into students’ schedules, is very valuable as it guarantees students who need a break from the academic environment to pursue an interest in the fine arts.
[Seoul Foreign High School Wind Ensemble]
Having interviewed twenty students from different ensembles, eighteen of them agreed that having an ensemble built into the schedule is beneficial to students’ well-being. Of the ten sophomores that responded, nine of them expressed interest in pursuing Wind Ensemble next year in the midst of the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program. This example reiterates how performing in an ensemble allows for students to attain a healthy balance in their lifestyle.
“Not only does performing in an ensemble give you some time away from the desk, it allows for players to co-operate with one another and perform their role as fellow musicians” explains a saxophonist of the Wind Ensemble. “Everyone player is equally important in the ensemble and in my opinion the extent of co-operation and unity is far greater than of a sports team. That is why I play in a band.”
There are students, however, that shy away from playing in an ensemble because they fear it would adversely affect their studies. In a different interview conducted on twenty students that currently do not play in an ensemble, but have musical experience and expertise, seventeen of the students admitted that they feared that committing would interfere with their studying routines. Mr. Andrew Goldie, the director of the Seoul Foreign High School Wind Ensemble, explains otherwise:  “Band students tend to be the best students in the school. In my opinion, it’s because by being in band, they learn to manage their time efficiently and stay on top of things in midst of all the extra-curriculars they do.” 
To vacillating band students, I highly suggest that you join and ensemble if the opportunity arises. Joining band not only provides respite from the academic rigor, but provides valuable life skills such as cooperation. The opportunity to play in an ensemble also provides you great opportunities like the KIMEA Large Group Band Festival to present your abilities.


Jason Whang
Seoul Foreign School

Jason Whang  student_reporter@dherald.com

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  • Vicky 2018-04-15 00:23:25

    Really enjoyed reading this!! As a band member myself, I completely agree with your words that band provides valuable life skills. :)   삭제

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