I was disheartened to learn that in an effort to address revenue shortfalls because of a decrease in state funding, MSAD 11 is looking to cut the fifth- grade instrumental program. I was further saddened that despite the strength of the music program in the district and the tremendous importance of music in the lives of young students, it was identified as a Tier 1 cut (“least impactful to students”).

As an MSAD 11 alumnus, I can say with no exaggeration that the Gardiner music program was the single most important piece of my student life. Under the leadership of David Walker and with the support of the Gardiner Music Boosters, I had the opportunity to make creative and meaningful expression a part of my academic experience.

The impact of the program goes well beyond the mere learning of scales; the program fosters both an individual work ethic and a group cohesion that demonstrates the importance of working in tandem with others.

Far from being a distraction to fifth-graders, the instrument program forms the basis for continued involvement in music and the development of well-rounded students. This is in addition to overwhelming evidence that musical education improves results in all other subject areas.

Since I’ve completed my MSAD 11 education, music has continued to play a vital role in my life. It has given me something to share with other people and cultures in the United States and abroad, throughout college, international service and graduate school. In retrospect, as a young student in this district, nothing had more impact on me than early involvement with music.

I strongly urge administrators to reconsider their Tier 1 designation of the fifth-grade instrumental program and to maintain its inclusion in the district budget.

Aaron Grant, GAHS 2001

Milwaukee, Wis.

(formerly South Gardiner)

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