By Dania Herrera ‘19
This year, Pritzker College Prep decided to add an honor programs for some of the electives including band. The honors band program became a program for any student who currently has band as an elective.
Honors band was created by Benjamin Das, band instructor and honors band teacher, because he was nominated to present his teaching structure at a musical conference called the Midwest Clinic. “[…] it allows students like me who are invested in music meet new bands from around the world and talk to other directors and even composers of music.” Loribeth Godinez, sophomore and also member of the honors band program The honors band program has much more practice than regular students who are in band. They practice at least twice a week after school for two hours, and they sometimes meet on Saturdays for two or three hours of practice. These students work so hard and they practice more during the week than they usually do when in regular band class.
America Hernandez, a sophomore and member of the honors band program, said that joining the program really helped her alot and she improved with her instrument. She stated, “I do think honors band is beneficial for me. I get to practice my instrument more, which I really need.” Godinez said, “ I learned a lot in this program. I learned new set of instruments that expand my knowledge in music and I also learned new theories and ways to use music.”
Some students struggle with the instrument they are playing and so they ask for help if needed. Being involved in honors band is also a great opportunity to ask for help if someone is having trouble learning a song and/or playing their instrument in class.
Currently, the students involved in the program are practicing for a midwest concert and they are also rehearsing two songs as well as breathing exercises. Das taught them balanced training which is an exercise for them to sound like a whole.
Hernandez has learned many things and it definitely has helped her when she is in her regular band class. “I have learned many things from honors band. Mr. Das really focuses on sounds and overtones […]” She also stated that some specific things she has learned is how the whole group has to play perfect notes because any error will greatly affect them. “We play as a group, not individually” she claims. Hernandez believes that all of the things she is learning and barely discovering in honors band will give her a huge advantage when she is in her regular band class. This is also another reason why this program is so beneficial for students that are also struggling in the band elective.
Many students decide to enter the honors band program for many different reasons and some mainly because they just love music. For Hernandez, she joined this program because “ [I] really love music […]” She also believed that this was an opportunity to join a class that she ultimately enjoys, and she knew she had to accept it. Godinez also claimed, “ I decided to join honors band because it will give me more exposure to music and new opportunities to grow as a musician. “
The honors band program is very beneficial in so many ways and it also requires a lot of responsibility and commitment since the amount of practice might be a lot to handle. This program looks great on college applications and without a doubt people will be impressed.