By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Teacher Rosemary Baschal, band teacher, Lodi Education Association.
The district: The Lodi Unified school board recommended cutting a significant number of teaching positions in the district to cope with a projected $16 million budget shortfall. There has been a strong effort by the community to save the instrumental music program for middle school students, but nothing is definite yet. At press time, no budget had been adopted.
Student Johnny Morales, 13
When I was first put into band, I wasn't thrilled about it. I thought band was geeky and for nerds. But after I started playing, I really liked it. So if people tell us we're geeks, well, we're geeks. We ignore them.
When I grow up, I want to be an architect, and I want to play the trumpet. When I retire, I'll probably play the trumpet. I like the trumpet!
Being in the band has taught me responsibility. You can't leave your instrument at home, and you have to take good care of it. It's very expensive. When I practice at home it's not just to get a good grade. I do it because I like it. I practice one or two hours a day.
When I started practicing, my grades went up. My math grade went from a B minus to an A minus. I think that playing the trumpet is helping me with math.
What I like best is all the performances. We go places and perform. I get nervous at first, but after we're done playing we always hear applause.
When I heard they might cancel band, I was really upset. I am looking forward to taking it next year in eighth grade and in high school. I am going to buy my own trumpet. My family has been saving money to buy one.
I don't think they should cut money from music. I think there are other things they can cut. But not music. They shouldn't cut music.
Teacher Rosemary Baschal, band teacher, Lodi Middle School, Lodi Education Association
I have seen students totally changed when they find they can play an instrument. It changes how they view academics. They do better.
You have to provide a lot of opportunities for students to experiment in middle school. How else will they know what they are good at? Half the kids who never thought they'd be good at band are now enjoying it. What makes a person smart is the ability to make choices. And if kids have no choices, it's sad.