Band Mentor Program at UMS

Francesca Testen, In-Focus Editor

The Urbana High School band is not just about performing in stadiums and concerts. Band students also use their music skills to benefit others and gain teaching experience for themselves. Urbana Middle School is a feeder school of UHS; many band students from the middle school will one day be a part of our band department.

Several members of the UHS band spend two to three Mondays a month mentoring UMS band students. “This program builds good relations and encourages continuation among the middle schoolers. It also gives the kids the opportunity to learn from someone else besides a teacher; someone who is an older peer,” Urbana Middle band teacher Emily Hill said.

The mentoring program pairs up children in small groups of similar instruments to be led by a mentor. Occasionally children are able to do one on one sessions with a high school mentor. The thirty-five middle school band students come from all skill levels, mentored by about ten high school students. “The mentors work to develop tone and range,” Hill said. Tone is the quality of the notes, while range is the amount of notes able to be played by a student. For students playing woodwind and brass instruments, mouth position is another thing being taught, while percussion students work with mentors to improve stick and mallet techniques…(To read the rest of this story, pick up a copy of The Hawkeye from the newsstand near the front office or the media center)