Garfield Heights seeking used instruments for fifth-grade band program

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - Garfield Heights City Schools has launched a musical instrument drive to help supply instruments to fifth-grade students showing an interest in the band.

"It's really challenging for the songs, but when you finally get a song you feel accomplished and really good," said Journey Smith, who's learning how to play the saxophone.

Smith is one of the 40 fifth graders taking advantage of the band program.

At the fifth-grade level it's optional. Lessons and practices take place before school at 7:15 a.m.

Last year, all lessons took place at Maple Leaf Elementary.

This year, fifth graders can do the work at their home school.

The change has resulted in more boys and girls showing an interest.

"We're trying to eliminate obstacles in their way of getting to start the band program," said Stormi Fletcher, an elementary music teacher with the district. "Owning an instrument is expensive. It's not practical for every student, no matter what district you're in, to have an instrument."

The district is seeking used and unwanted trumpets, trombones, saxophones, clarinets and flutes.

Smith is thrilled with his district's effort to help. He has friends who want to join the band.

"It's fun to play an instrument, and I think they should too," Smith said. "I don't think it's good that they can't just because they don't have the money."

Fletcher said students who play in the band helps students in other areas of their education.

"Most of all it teaches work ethic. They have to interpret, play and read all at the same time. So, they're building their ability to multi-task," Fletcher said. "They have to learn note values for math. So, music really touches a lot of the core subjects."

Kyra King is learning how to play the trumpet. She's looking forward to building her skills. She said Amazing Grace is her dream song to play one day.

Just like the donation drive, there's work to be done, but the students and teachers are up for the challenge.

"They (students) have some something to work toward. They have their focus," Fletcher said. "They have their vision (and) they know exactly what they want to do.

Donations may be taken to the Garfield Heights Board of Education offices located at 5640 Briarcliff Drive.

The office phone number is 216-475-8100.

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