Imagine attending a new school and not knowing anything about where to go, or who to talk to. The transition from middle school to high school is easier for band students because you will have over 150 friends to help you through this process. Incoming band freshmen have immediate contact with upperclassmen, in a big brother/big sister kind of way. High school band is very healthy for students in a multitude of ways.


The Facts

  • We know that high school band students represent the top of the academic scale in our schools. We know that band students are averaging 62 points higher on SAT tests, which would indicate that they are stronger in verbal and math scores than other members of the student body. We also know band students are students who enjoy a successful high school career, go on to college and become the leaders in our society. There is a definite link between the top achiever academically and the band student. They are one and the same.
  • In The Arts: An Essential Ingredient in Education, J. Buchen Milley states that "research shows that when arts are included in the student’s curriculum, reading, writing and math scores improve. Like all arts, music has a profound effect on the academic success of the student. Band is a group effort. Members are required to shift from an I/Me reasoning to a We/Us concept. This means extending oneself beyond the normal considerations of much of our day-to-day living. Instead of the logic being, what’s in it for me, it becomes, what’s in it for us. The values of cooperation, communication, concentration, correlation and completion come into play each rehearsal and performance."
  • Music is one of the few academic disciplines that require the student to master skills and apply them in performance. In other words, music involves multiple forms of learning.
  • Band builds positive self-worth. Although we share many similarities with our athletic counterparts, band is a place for everyone.
  • Studies by the College Entrance Examination Board show that:
    1. "New research on intelligence and brain function point in exciting future directions that tie directly to music, while the continuing use of music as part of the curriculum is clearly associated with both academic skills and personal characteristics that are highly desirable for school progress and for developing the kind of well-educated young people we need for the nation’s well-being."
    2. Students (1999) with experience in music performance scored measurably higher in both verbal and math sections of the Standardized Achievement Test.
    3. There continues to be a significant, and growing, spread between the scores obtained by musicians and those of their non-musical counterparts.
    4. The correlation between cognitive learning and musical understanding continues to prove they are linked, and improving one will develop the other. In fact, music is suspected to be the key for unlocking the scientific mind.
    5. The theory of "multiple intelligences" tags music as one of the separate minds, and being exposed to music strengthens all other learning forms.
    6. Scores rise proportionately higher with the length of time spent studying music in school.


Why should you consider joining the high school band? Because high school band is unlike anything you have done before. It can greatly enhance your high school career, and it is, very simply, the best experience.


McLean High School’s band program has become well known, not only for its high standards of performance, but also for the quality of experience given to its members. Our band program is a model for programs across the state. As you participate in the program and continue to grow, this will become more and more clear to you, as it has to literally hundreds of students before you. The pride and sense of camaraderie will profoundly impact your future. Most students who come to McLean High School are aware of our reputation, but how we reach such high levels is at least a mystery, and often the source of great fear. Incoming freshmen often assume that the only way to get so good is to do nothing else. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, one of the facets of the band that we are most proud of is that we accomplish these very high goals while maintaining a balance with the total school experience. We have top scholars, athletes, honor society members, student government leader, etc. among our ranks.


Additional Facts

Will Band fit in an aggressive academic schedule? Yes! We have students who are planning to enter all fields in college. The class schedule at McLean High School is made to allow these students to take a full schedule of classes (including A.P.) and play in one of the bands during all four years.


How good do I have to be? All students are admitted into the band program. Yes, even beginners!


Will band and time commitment adversely affect my grades? Whether you are in activities, or not, at McLean High School, good grades are dependent upon being a good worker. If you are conscientious and organized, band, or any other activity, will not adversely affect your grades. The bands’ schedules have been carefully developed to work with the school’s academic demands. In fact, many of the school’s top scholars are in band. We average two to three times our statistical allotment of members in the top of their graduation class and National Honor Society.