By Linnea Anderson ’12
I am bringing up the lifelong debate in which we’ve always disagreed, the debate that every music student experiences – band or choir? The feud between band and choir students starts at an early age, when you chose to sign up for either band or choir in elementary school. The battle rages on through high school and college, where the competition gets more intense.
I’ve been a band student for 12 years and I believe band geeks overpower choir nerds in every aspect. In high school band was my favorite class. I also participated in pep band and performed at football and basketball games. I proudly wore my “Band Geek” shirt to every performance, I am a band geek through and through.
According to the University Interscholastic League (UIL), about half a million students participated in UIL music activities in the 2009-2010 school year. Of the 6,800 entries for the UIL, 850 were marching bands; 3,200 were concert bands; and 2,750 were choirs, illustrating that there are more band than choir students.
A study conducted by Roger Maxwell on music participation found that in a high school of 500 students, 330 participated in music classes, 40 percent of which participated in band versus 20 percent in choir. The remaining students participated in orchestra, or a combination of all three. This supports the idea that more students are interested in band than choir.
Students would rather be in band because you get to play an awesome instrument instead of just singing. In band there are three sections: woodwind, brass and percussion. In each section there are a multitude of instruments to choose from, which allows for more opportunities than in choir.
In choir, there are only four distinctive parts and a singer can only sing what is in their range. The range of a singer is limited to how high and low their voice can go, and they can’t change this. For an instrumentalist, range is not a problem; for example, the saxophone family there is about ten different saxophones ranging from bass to sopranino.
When walking into a band room for the first time, one becomes slightly overwhelmed by all the different instruments available to play. Then, the excitement and anticipation of being able to use one of those instruments takes over. As more students enter the room, the energy increases. The band room suddenly becomes a fun and inviting place to be, a place where everyone wants to keep coming back. The acceptance and the attitude of band students are what make the band room such a wonderful place to be.
Band students are laid back and relaxed people. As a band student myself I find this very true – I am very chill and relaxed as are most of my friends who are band students. There is little competition in a band because of the many different instruments available.
In contrast, the choir room’s atmosphere is very competitive and anxious. When entering the choir room there is an immediate tension. The limited parts available for choirs adds to the pressure of always being perfect, which leads to competition for parts and an uncomfortable environment.
I believe overall that music education is important. When it comes down to it, if you are in a band or a choir then you understand the importance of music education. Not only do statistics show that students who were in band or choir received higher scores on standardized tests, but they also excelled in math.
According to Roger Maxwell’s study, “A grasp of proportional math and fractions is a prerequisite to math at higher levels. Music involves ratios, fractions, and proportions and thinking space and time.”
Though I do acknowledge the work that singers put into their music and their accomplishments, I will always believe that band is superior to choir. Band geeks are simply fun, laid back, intelligent and awesome musicians.
Categories: Art & Music