Friday 26 June 2015

Band DVD

Band DVD's are now ready for pick-up!  Reportcards are ready early, so you can get them both today!

Have a great Summer!

Sr. Jazz 2015-2016

Sr. Jazz 2015-16
Brianna Wiebe Alto I * Asst' Captain
Sahmara Frick Alto II
Brooke Flanagan Alto II
Michelle Jang Tenor I

Kyla Smorang Tenor II 
Davis Peters Tenor II 
Piper McKinnon Bari

Brendan Odowda Tbone I* Asst' Capitan
Nic Stroud Tbone II
Jadsia Suzuki-Smith Tbone III
Ben Ulmer Tbone III

David Loewen Bass Bone

Jesse Olynik Trumpet I* Team Capitan 
Ben Schmidt Trumpet I
Brandt Jesson Trumpet II
Michael Chryplywy Trumpet III

Jami Cameron Trumpet IV

Evan Maslanka Drums* Asst' Capitan 
Carter LaFleche Bass
Kjersten Gaminek Piano
Paul Carruthers Aux

Thursday 25 June 2015

Ever wonder WHY you do what you do?

Recently this article came across my desk and I found it a very powerful affirmation of why I do what I do and why I believe it so passionately.  As you head off to summer break, I encourage you to take a minute and read what Mr. Barnes summed up so eloquently below.  Check out the links provided as well as they are the powerful backing for his 13 tenets.  His brief biography appears at the end of the article.

Have a fantastic summer.

Mr. E.

Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You
by Tom Barnes • February 17, 2015

Read Tom Barnes’ wonderful article  about how your parents decision to have you learn music produced some incredible effects on your mind.

If your parents ever submitted you to regular music lessons as a kid, you probably got in a fight with them once or twice about it. Maybe you didn’t want to go; maybe you didn’t like practicing. But we have some bad news: They were right. It turns out that all those endless major scale exercises and repetitions of “Chopsticks” had some incredible effects on our minds.Psychological studies continue to uncover more and more benefits that music lessons provide to developing minds. One incredibly comprehensive longitudinal study, produced by the German Socio-Economic Panel in 2013, stated the power of music lessons as plain as could be: “Music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance.” The study found that kids who take music lessons “have better cognitive skills and school grades and are more conscientious, open and ambitious.” And that’s just the beginning.The following list is a sampling of the vast amount of neurological benefits that music lessons can provide. Considering this vast diversity, it’s baffling that there are still kids in this country who are not receiving high-quality music education in their schools. Every kid should have this same shot at success.
1. It improved your reading and verbal skills.
Several studies have found strong links between pitch processing and language processing abilities. Researchers out of Northwestern University found that five skills underlie language acquisition: “phonological awareness, speech-in-noise perception, rhythm perception, auditory working memory and the ability to learn sound patterns.” Through reviewing a series of longitudinal studies, they discovered that each these skills is exercised and strengthened by music lessons. Children randomly assigned to music training alongside reading training performed much better than those who received other forms of non-musical stimulation, such as painting or other visual arts. You’ve got to kind of feel bad for those kids randomly assigned into art classes.
2. It improved your mathematical and spatial-temporal reasoning
Music is deeply mathematical in nature. Mathematical relationships determine intervals in scales, the arrangement of keys and the subdivisions of rhythm. It makes sense then that children who receive high-quality music training also tend to score higher in math. This is because of the improved abstract spatial-temporal skills young musicians gain. According to a feature written for PBS Education, these skills are vital for solving the multistep problems thatoccur in “architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming and especially working with computers.” With these gains, and those in verbal and reading abilities, young musicians can pretty much help themselves succeed in any field they decide to pursue.
3. It helped your grades.
In a 2007 study, Christopher Johnson, a professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, found that “elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22% higher in English and 20% higher in math scores on standardized tests compared to schools with low-quality music programs.” A 2013 study out of Canada found the same. Every year that scores were measured, the mean grades of the students who chose music were higher than those who chose other extracurriculars. While neither of these studies can necessarily prove causality, both do point out a strong correlative connection.
4. It raised your IQ.
Surprisingly, though music is primarily an emotional art form, music training actually provides bigger gains in academic IQ than emotional IQ. Numerous studies have found that musicians generally boast higher IQs than non-musicians. And while these lessons don’t necessarily guarantee you’ll be smarter than the schlub who didn’t learn music, they definitely made you smarter than you would have been without them.
5. It helped you learn languages more quickly.
Children who start studying music early in life develop stronger linguistic abilities. They develop more complex vocabularies, a more nuanced understanding of grammar and higher verbal IQs. These benefits don’t just impact children’s learning of their first language, but also their ability to learn every language they attempt to learn in the future. The Guardian reports: “Music training plays a key role in the development of a foreign language in its grammar, colloquialisms and vocabulary.” These heightened language acquisition abilities will follow students their whole lives and will aid them when they need to pick up new tongues late in adulthood.
6. It made you a better listener, which will help a lot when you’re older.
Musical training makes people far more sensitive listeners, which can help tremendously as people age. Musicians who keep up with their instrument enjoy a much slower decline in “peripheral hearing.” They can avoid what scientists refer to as the “cocktail party problem” in which older people have trouble isolating specific voices (or musical tones) from a noisy background.
7. It will slow the effects of aging.
But beyond just auditory processing, musical training can also help delay cognitive decline associated with aging. Some of the most promising research positions music as an effective way to stave off dementia. Studies out of Emory University find that even if musicians stop playing as they age, the neurological restructuring that occurred when they were kids helps them perform better on “object-naming, visuospatial memory and rapid mental processing and flexibility” tests than others who never played. The study authors add, though, that musicians had to play for at least 10 years to enjoy these effects. Hopefully you stuck with it long enough.
8. It strengthened your motor cortex.
All musical instruments require high levels of finger dexterity and accuracy. The training works out the motor cortex to an incredible extent, and the benefits can apply to a wide range of non-musical skills. Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2013 found that kids who start learning to play before the age of 7 perform far better on non-musical movement tasks. Exposure at a young age builds connectivity in the corpus callosum, which provides a strong foundation upon which later movement training can build.
9. It improved your working memory.
Playing music puts a high level of demand on one’s working memory (or short-term memory). And it seems the more one practices their instrument, the stronger their working memory becomes. A 2013 study found that musical practice has a positive association with participants’ working memory capacity, their processing speed and their reasoning abilities. Writing for Psychology Today, William R. Klemm claims that musicians’ memory abilities should spread into all non-musical verbal realms, helping them remember more content from speeches, lectures or soundtracks.
10. It improved your long-term memory for visual stimuli.
Music training can also affect long-term memory, especially in the visual realm. Scientists at the University of Texas at Arlington reported last year that classically trained musicians who have been playing more than 15 years score higher on pictorial long-term memory tests. This heightened visual sensitivity likely comes from parsing complex musical scores. The study makes no claims for musicians who learn to play without reading music.
11. It made you better at managing anxiety.
Analyzing brain scans of musicians ages 6 through 18, researchers out of the University of Vermont College of Medicine have found tremendous thickening of the cortex in areas responsible for depression, aggression and attention problems. According to the study’s authors, musical training “accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.” That’s why you’re so emotionally grounded all the time, right? Right.
12. It enhanced your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Several studies have shown how music can enhance children’s self-confidence and self-esteem. A 2004 study split a sample of 117 fourth graders from a Montreal public school. One group received weekly piano instruction for three years while the control received no formal instructions. Those who played weekly scored significantly higheron self-esteem tests than those who did not. As most of us know, high levels of self-esteem can help childrengrow and develop in a vast number of academic and non-academic realms.
13. It made you more creative.
Creativity is notoriously difficult to measure scientifically. All measures generally leave something to be desired. But most sources hold that music training enhances creativity “particularly when the musical activity itself is creative (for instance, improvisation).” According to Education Week, Ana Pinho, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, found that musicians with “longer experience in improvising music had better and more targeted activity in the regions of the brain associated with creativity.” Music training also enhances communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. And studies show musicians perform far better on divergent thinking tests, coming up with greater numbers of novel, unexpected ways to combine new information.

Tom Barnes
Tom Barnes is a Staff Writer for’s music section. A graduate of NYU, he’s worked brief stints with Columbia Records and Miracle Music. He believes the mind needs music like the body needs food and water, and he always feels the thirst.

Friday 19 June 2015

Taking the Leap into Summer

1.  I care for you all dearly and would look after you stuff if asked.  That said, could you please come and pick up non-school owned instruments.

2.  DVD's will be ready for report card pick up.

3.   Sr. Jazz auditions have been awesome this year and some unexpected performances have gone down.  I will posting the final list on the 26th.  I will post on Instagram, Twitter and in the Band Room.

4.  Reminder to Grad Band that you have to be at the Concert Hall at 7:00AM on the 24th.  Final Rehearsal is on Monday at 12:00.

5.  Self assessments will be finished today (June 19th)  I will be filing them on Monday.  Gr. 12's are welcome to stop by and grab theirs to complete their portfolio.

6.  Did you notice the new drop-down menu on the website "Student Praise for Band Class."  I started this, as you say such wonderful and interesting things in your Self-assessments, I thought it might be fun to share them with the web-i-verse.  IF you have some thoughts, send me an email and share.

7.  As with all things at the end of the year, I will be out of the office from July 1 to September 8.  Just as a heads up, I will not be checking my work email during this time.

8.  Have a fantastic summer!

Monday 15 June 2015


HELP!!!!!  I leant my orange 32Gig flash drive to one of my students and I did not write down who it was.  They needed the Sr. Jazz Mp3's for their computer, I believe so I put the songs on my flash drive and they promised to bring it back.  My panic, is that all of the photos from the winter concert are on it and I am putting the band DVD together as we speak.  Please spread this email around and see if we can track it down.

On another note (band pun) DVDs will be ready for pick up by report card day.

Monday 8 June 2015

Final Self Assessments

For some odd reason quite a few students missed the Self-Assessment #4 due date of this past Friday (June 5).  I have put the names of all students who have not handed in their assignment on the board in the band room.  Also, by the end of the day I will be putting marks in Power School.  If you have a "0" for your final Self Assessment it was not handed in or there was a problem with the file that you emailed me.... if this is the case, I sent you an email back explaining the problem.  As always, late assignments will be assessed a late penalty of %5 per day to a max of %25 as per school policy.  After 5 days it is at the teachers discretion to award a mark.  Please contact Mr. Edwards if you have any questions.

Thursday 4 June 2015

Year End Band Stuff

1. Final Self-Assessment for the year is due this Friday - June 5th.

2. All instruments must be returned to Mr. Edwards by - June 9th.

3.  All music must be erased and handed in by - June 9th.

4.  All folders must be returned to their slots  - June 9th.

5.  Sr. Jazz Audition sign-up has been posted.  Audition dates and times run from Monday June 8th to Friday June 19th.  Students ARE NOT permitted to miss classes to audition.

6.  Band DVD orders have been submitted and DVD's will be ready to be picked up with report cards at the end of June.

7. The band room is open every day from 8:00 - 4:00 for audition practice and grad band rehearsal.  Students are also welcome to use the room for study and quiet activities.

8.  The members of this year's Grad Band have been selected and first rehearsal is Monday the 8th at 12:00. Bring your lunch.

9.  Sr. Jazz breakfasts June 5th (KJ, BK, NS, MC) and June 9th. (CC)

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Jazz Concert (June 2nd)

Hope to see everyone at the Final Jazz concert in the theatre this evening at 7:00PM. However, if you cannot make it, don't forget that you can catch the concert live over the web.  You can either watch it on the embedded window below or simply open the link on any of your devices.

Please do not forget that we now webcast all of our concerts so loved-ones from around the world can watch and listen to our concerts.  Please feel free to share this information with everyone from out of town who may want to tune in.

We apologize in advance for the ads.  We are considering upgrading to the pro version and that will get rid of them.  It is our intent to use this year's DVD revenue to purchase cameras and work towards a more professional feed.

So you can watch in two ways.  You can watch by clicking on this link (or copying it): Westwood Live
and you can watch on any device anywhere in the world.  If that does not float your boat, you can watch live in the embedded window below.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Playing a musical instrument good for brain health

  The study found playing keyboard instruments was particularly beneficial for brain health Playing a musical instrument or singing could he...