Student Praise For Band Class

"I am so excited for years to come in band at Westwood. I am also very grateful for the chance to make music in such a welcoming, fun learning environment."  D.M.

"...the most fun I have had in band throughout all my years in band." K.B.

"... band was a great way to meet people in my grade and I've made some close relationships with people because of concert band." C.Y.

" much fun." A.B.

"I definitely understand that it was a lot of my own perseverance, determination and effort that got me to where I am in band, but many people would have let me quit when I wanted to.  I don't know what you saw in me that made you believe in me as much as you did and do... you've taught me many  valuable lessons about perseverance, quitting, change, growth [and] passion"  V.W.

"...  thank you... for pushing the band and, and for bringing out a musical passion that makes me want to play... I cannot wait until next year."  K.F.

"I have lived, laughed and loved every minute of working together with the awesome people who make up the Westwood Band Department.  Whether its the students or the teacher. It's always been an amazing time."  H.J.

"I appreciate... how you make the band room feel like a second home to so many people."  C.Z.

"In middle-school I felt like I played an instrument, but coming out of high-school, I feel like I've become a musician."  R.D-V.

"...the amount of passion and commitment... is unbelievable."  D.R.

"Band was so much more than a class for me.  It really was an escape... It helped me let go of the stresses of everyday life and it gave me a creative outlet that I probably would not have had...  You found a way to take this class that I dreaded going to at one point and turn it into something so beautiful for me. "  O.M.

"I've found that I had to learn a lot of people skills and how to work in a team.  I had to learn how to collaborate and that people had as much to teach me as I had to teach them... I also learned that I only get as much out of things as I put into them."  C.C.

"Being in band throughout high-school has taught me so many life lessons that I never thought would be taught in a band class.  It was one of my favourite classes and it was one of those ones that got me though the day.  I loved making music with my friends and dressing up for the concerts and that feeling of pride after accomplishing hard pieces of music..."  L.V.

"I learned so many new skills in relation to music and my horn, but not only that, I also learned a lot about myself and also developed new traits.  Through band I became a more confident person... This is huge for me because for my whole life I have not been confident at all.  Band really changed how I approach obstacles and how I overcome fears."  S.S.

"I learned that teamwork starts with individual work first."  S.S.

"I almost didn’t join band. In that summer before high school I picked up band a few weeks before class because my mother thought I should at least try it out. It had been fun in middle school so I believed her. Boy am I glad that I ended up doing it. Grade nine was an especially fun year, mainly because we did Zooveniers. I’m pretty sure I still have that stupid song on my iPod to this day. That song helped me to realize as a young student that music is more about just playing notes on a page. It’s about making people feel emotion; whether it be happy or sad, and to also have fun doing it. Because of Zooveniers I can be a pretty convincing seal when I want to."  A.D.

"In Grade 9 I was so close to giving up trombone in the belief that I had nothing to offer a band, or myself, or my instrument.  I thought that band was an awful experience.  Then, I came to Westwood.  My musical life... changed dramatically.  I've learned so much... I believe I've become a stronger and more skilled trombone player with your teaching and careful guidance. " J.S-S.

"These have definitely been the most difficult songs I have ever had to learn, but I 'm really glad with how mush we have accomplished and improved."  A.N.

"[We were] always treated with respect and as equals, which subsequently made a better band.  The band class was nothing like any other classI took at Westwood, it just never felt like we were doing work, we were creating something."  B.v.A.

" 'Attitude is everything' and Failure is a Choice' now continuously comes out of my mouth in the midst of a motivating conversation, all thanks to [the band program]." J.K.

"I really don't know how you could make a perfect class better. Band was always the highlight of my day... it will definitely be the most missed class from high school..."  M.C.

"In all the years of band, the band room has become our sanctuary; where we come together to accept each other's strengths and weaknesses and accept them for who they are, regardless of there walk of life.  It's a home where kinship and fun are the foundation of great music (along with technique). It's a place of cooperation and good memories, both humorous and serious." C.T.

"One of my best moments was wearing a suit for the first time with all my peers at the concert.  I thought it wad really cool and the grade 9 concert was the first time I has experienced a standing ovation.  Then we all went to the after party in suits." R.A.

"'s hard to imagine high school without it." J.K.

"I wish some of my other friends had stayed in band. They missed a lot." R.A.

"I love everything about this program.  All of the like lessons we learned, how to appreciate music and what we have, like and dislike, and I guess we even became pretty good at our instruments.  No, you know what, we became [darn] good musicians." A.A.

"...the tightest program in the province and possibly the country..." E.M.

"Developing my ability[ies] in such a challenging environment has been a wonderful experience..." D.L.

"... probably one of the most professional and well run programs that are out there right now..." J.K.

"In grade nin I almost did not join jazz, but now looking back on all the fond memories, I am I have in the program I am very glad I decided to join..." O.M.

""[Band@westwood] has taught me that people are really just people.  Adults are really just big kids. Musicians, no matter how talented, are really just big kids.  I'm only able to lead a band, network with other musicians , do well in my workplace, and form more friendships faster because of [Band@westwood]."  C.C.

"I am so proud of the progress I've made as a player and as a person.  The amount of obstacles  I overcame throughout my experiences in jazz is honestly unbelievable."  B.K.

"Thank you for teaching me never to take success for granted, and never to be arrogant about that success, but still allow for celebration."  S.S.

"I really don't know what my life would be like today if I hadn't of made that step inside the band room at lunch and picked up my trombone.  I almost certainly would not have been the trombone player I am now, and maybe not even the person I am today.  Jazz has taught me to live a bit more each day and that every little detail counts. I won't miss the early starts, but I will miss the memories.  Memories one day I might tell my own children." A.D.

"When I started in Jazz back in grade nine, I remember how nervous I was.  I had never played first trumpet before, and playing with a high school jazz band seemed a bit intimidating.  But what fun it turned out to be!! Right away I began learning, setting goals, and working hard mentally and physically to play my trumpet.  I had goals to lift my bell, to play above the band and to play like a leader.  (As a side note, I have now played an octave and a half higher than what I had played in middle school.) I had no idea making music could be so much work, and SO much fun." A.U.

"Not going into jazz band would have been the biggest mistake I ever made in high school."  K.S.

"[Band] has allowed me to overcome my anxiety when playing in public because I have noticed, especially this year, that at each concert we have played at I felt more excitement than I did nerves.  This is unusual for someone like me, but it is because I really enjoyed what I was apart of and I knew that there was nothing to be afraid of due to the amazing group of people I was performing with." M.H.

"My highlight of my high school career has definitely been the band program." A.C.

"Being in band has improved my confidence level with being in front of people or making mistakes in front of people.  I was always too timid to play loud enough for other people to actually hear my sounds well, due to the fear of letting other people down. Now, especially in sectionals, I will play loud or by myself where people can hear me and it sped not faze me because I know I am not perfect, but only working towards perfection, and people should respect that." L.K.

"Although I may not play my clarinet much after high school, I will leave the Westwood Collegiate Band Program with a new sense of the world around me and a better understanding of the joy and happiness that music can bring to one's life." J.T.

"As most students, I hadn't realized the life benefits of Westwood's band program till the very end.  When I started in 2008, band and music were an escape from the other boring classes throughout the day, something fun to do as a break.  But after all this time I began to use the lessons from band to connect to my life.... Throughout all the struggles of high school, this program has been the only one where I felt understood, where you could express how you felt through music in a group and know that everyone else around you is feeling it too.  That is the difference between it being an escape in grade nine, it becomes a way of life in grade twelve, a place where you can be yourself." K.S.

"... your kids simply impressed me... amazing groups with 'big futures.' ...and your jazz bands have impressed me for years by playing such developed music in such a high level and 'delicious' way.  Certainly might be recorded and shared ss examples of the right way of playing.  Very high level." E.G. [substitute teacher]

"I have honestly never learnt so much, so fast..."  G.B.

"Band is basically the highlight of my day."  B.M.

"I find sectionals are a great way to learn from my peers and fellow trombone players because they help me if I struggle and we all teach each other how to  play our instrument better."  A. J.

"The teamwork environment makes making mistakes a lot easier to deal with, I've felt like everyone in my section is a teacher and are willing to help everyone improve."  C. R.

"I feel music is a part of me, and if I didn't have music in my life I wouldn't be able to be me.  Music helps me in ways I cannot explain.  If I was having a rough day I could walk into the band room, and it would just get lifted off my shoulders and I feel so much better."  A. G-V.

"I'm quite proud of how much I've grown musically, and I never would have guessed how many life lessons I'd get out of being in band - even i I never play again after grad, these classes have probably taught me the most things that I will continue to remember an use everyday, such as 'Let your performance do the talking' and so many things about being a team player and leader."  B.W.

"It's so exciting to be in the room with like 80 other friends that are so talented and passionate about the new year and music to come, never mind all the jokes and laughs along the way."  M.F.

"One thing I am super excited to say is that I finally feel like a musician... This feels great as I know now that I do have some talent when it comes to playing the clarinet, and I don't have to fool myself into thinking so.  I just want to say thanks for this because you showed us that we shouldn't be afraid of mistakes, but that we should be more scared of mot pushing ourselves hard enough to be somewhere, doing something challenging enough where mistakes are inevitable."  W.A.

"Everything the Mr. Edwards told us such as you will be treated like equals, you will pay more than ever and the Westwood concerts are so amazing and people come that don't even come here.  I thought that that was complete rubbish.  But now that I've experienced it all, I know that he was so right."  R.O.

"I went into the concert feeling something I've never felt before. Excitement."   R.L.

"... our band is a strong, fierce and proud band." K.G.

"I am still often over whelmed by the level of music that our band plays.  I always feel like I am in a movie when we are playing...  The joy that it brings me when we play those pieces is not measurable.."  J.L.

"Sr. Jazz is hands down one of the things I'll miss most about high school.  Honestly, it was the biggest reason I came to Westwood in the first place and one of main reasons I'm still here." B.W.

"I am better because I had Band.[It] taught me stuff, stuff I find valuable enough to put it on my resume.  You made me love something I swore I couldn't stand and now the only standing I do is for the ovations." S.H.

"Band has taught me how important it is to have fun, that even if you're having a bad day or are feeling miserable, there's (almost) always something that can cheer you up (even if it's only a little).  Something to make you laugh or someone to make you smile.  An that no matter how old you are, everyone gets really happy when they receive a sticker." A.S.

"I am very proud to have been a part of the Westwood Band Program over these past 4 years.  Not only have I learned to be a better musician and play better music, but I have also learned how to be a better person and have learned many life lessons that I will take with me wherever I go."  S.B.

"You've shown me that it is possible to find a passion, something that you love, and make it your everyday job." K.C.

"So much fun and it never seemed like an ounce of work."  B.O.

"Grade 9 was the first year that I actually started enjoying band... [and by] Grade 11... I started falling in love with music." N.S.

"I never really understood how much music could have an emotional impact on you before I went to Westwood.  The songs we have played are memories to me of each year in this band program.  I am so grateful that I could be a part of this [ensemble].  This band program was one of my favourite classes throughout high school, and I don't think I will ever find anything that compares to it." A.N.

"My favourite part of the Westwood Band program is the sense of community.  You get a total mix of social groups, interests, and ideas all in the same room for four year straight.  Everyone's unique background has something different to offer and this collective combination is what allows us to complete and conquer such challenging and difficult music.  I've met so many people in band that I probably would've never talked to if I had;t of taken this class in gr.9." E.G.M.

"My other favourite aspect to band is the teamwork.  In most classes it's every man for himself.  Everyone has independent grades and it doesn't really affect others if you score poorly. Band is different.  It's like a huge team of 80 people all working together for a common goal.  Each member is important and has a massive affect on the success of the whole. I've played competitive sports all my life and I have never experienced such a strong team atmosphere.  Everyone's accepted and welcome and each member helps each other whenever they can.  It truly is something you can't experience anywhere else."  E.G.M.

"I won't remember the little things, the specific bar numbers that I struggled with, or that one section of that one song that one time.  But I will remember that I loved something so much that I would do anything to make sure that I could continue to be a part of it.  That all my hard work was worth it and all of the hours I spent in the band room went towards making something amazing.  I won't forget the hard work because it's important, to me at least, to recognize that Band isn't easy.  It never was. It probably never will be.  But despite how much work needs to go into it, it's worth it in the end because it's such an amazing experience for us to bring our individual parts together as a whole and then to play as one.  I wouldn't give it up for the world." J.S-S.

"This program is truly a unique and amazing opportunity for students." O.D.

"I really love listening to music, but most of all I am always the most happy when I'm a part of it... When we play smooth , graceful harmonies together as a band, I feel thatI have a place. It's something that I used to identify as an individual feeling, but it's something that I've come to realize is a feeling I get of community."  B.J.

"I have learned so much and taken risks.  I achieved so much and many of those achievements I never thought I would have done. Band has been an awesome experience." S.F.

"I think the most important thing I learned from being in jazz band for 5 years [4 at Westwood and 1 at Lincoln], and from school in general, was figuring out what I loved doing... Jazz band changed my life in a personal way in that for a class like math I wouldn’t find myself researching polynomials during my spare time. However I would find myself researching Hank Levy and Art Blakey. It shaped my own personal tastes in music into what they are today. I can still remember going record shopping one day while in grade 10 and buying John Coltrane’s Blue Train simply because I recognized the cover from the poster you have hanging in the percussion room. No other class has ever affected me the way that jazz band has, and I’m kind of glad that they haven’t...  These memories, along with all the others I’ve made so far through learning music, genuinely are some of the fondest memories I have, and I surely will not forget all the ones I have made in the Westwood band room at 7:30 am." E.M.

" has made these past 4 years the happiest in my entire life."  B.J.

"I have never seen  teacher so happy with what they are doing.."  P.M.

"... that's one thing I'll remember... is how respectful you are to us and how you have faith in us that we will always do the right thing, whether it be sectionals or on trips." B.O.

"My time in the band program will definitely help me in the future more so than any other course in my opinion. It has taught me teamwork skills, how to deal with struggle, how to deal with people, and how to come together for one common goal of creating great music. That’s what I’ll remember most about the band program; how much it has taught me to be a team player rather than an individual and how important that is to be successful in any walk of life. " B.O.

"I didn't always look forward to going to school, but simply knowing I had band/jazz band had always made me look forwad to going.... Can I fail on purpose so that I can stay?"  J.O.

"I don't think grade 9 me could even comprehend ever being in Sr. Jazz, never mind being in it for two year... needless to say that Grade 12 me is very thankful that grade 10 me took your advice to audition..." K.S.

"Jazz band has helped me relax from the stress of IB..." M.J.

"If I could go back and change anything, I would have joined jazz band in my first year at Westwood, and told myself not to be so scared about auditioning.  Jazz Band made me more comfortable in playing in-front of people... It helped shape me into a better player and gave me more confidence, in and out of the band room. It became one of the only breaks from the craziness that is the I.B. program and it gave me a reason to get up [at 5Am] in the morning."  J.S-S.

"...the most fun I have had in band throughout all my years in band." K.B.

"I have very much enjoyed my year so far and I just have to say you are the best teacher I have ever had or ever will have.  I have learned so much about my instrument and I have also learned how to play it way better." E.D.

"When I first came to Westwood I was almost certain that I was going to drop band all together but decided to stick it out and give it a chance.  I am very thankful that I did, as I have learned more than I had ever imagined, and not just with music, but also in life."  - M.W.

"There are some moments where I just sit back and listen to everything going on and the fact that seventy of the sportiest, nerdiest, and genuinely nicest people in Westwood get together to play something so beautiful." - K.B.

"Many kids have a fear in [soloing in jazz] and I want to show them that it's a way of expression and can really boost one's confidence when playing."  K.G.

"You have taught me so much and I don't know what I would do without you! Thank you for being the perfect mix of coach and friend, so the students feel like we can come to you with anything. It has really helped me in my time at Westwood. I can't thank you enough!"  C.D.

"This year has been amazing for my playing, but also as a human, you teach us far more than making music.  You teach how to communicate and always be able to find the meaning in something whether that be humour or grief or just respect for the subject.  Thank you for helping see what I can really do with my skills and for making me better each day and a better person overall."  C.T.

"This is only my first year of Sr. Jazz, and I can honestly say that I've never had as much fun with any ensemble!  The group (and director alike) are so full of passion for what they do, and it inspires me to become a better musician every day."  T.B.

"No class has such a positive impact on my life as much as jazz band."  E.C.

"Having a band teacher that understands my troubles with my instrument and just high school in general as well as pays attention to our section has helped and is still helping me tremendously." N.V.

"Grade 9 concert band is definitely my #1 favourite class of the day."  M.C.

"I know how passionate  you are about band and it amazes me how much you love your job. The way you teach and help us understand everything so well makes me feel like band is more than just band.  Knowing I have band makes my day so much better. I just love walking into the room and feeling the positive energy everyone brings off."  T.B.

"I can't stress this enough, but thank you for keeping us engaged and inspiring us to find out passion is music." N.G.

"The most fun I ever had in band!"  S.C.

"I fully appreciate having a class that teaches me life lessons as well as the actual material in such a passionate way."  R.A.

"I really like your teaching style and how you inspire us to love music the way you do."  Z.D.

"I am so proud to be a part of this program and make music with such amazing people." L.I.

"It's pretty cool that in this band program that people practice not because we have to, because we just have so much pride for our program and our playing.  We want to share our music the best we can so everyone pits in the effort.  There is also so much encouragement throughout the band.  Everyone is accepting of all skill levels.  It's a pretty amazing thing."  D.M.

"... I have not only learnt about how to make the music I play better, but I have also learnt how to make myself as a person better."  R.C.

"on my last self assessment you said, 'I am very proud and pleased with your progress,' and there is no way I could have done it without your constant encouragement and life lessons that always seem to change someone's perspective on life in a way.  Which is crazy because no teacher has ever done that to me.  Your funny analogies and unique teaching just have kids like me always curious about what new thing we'll learn today in band.  You may not know it, but band kids are always quoting the things you say around other classes and that's pretty amazing because, unlike other classes, we actually take what you say and use it day to day.  Your words actually have an impact on our performance and overall outcome which is why our band has improved so much.  Being an athlete in the band program feels like a privilege because the amount of people on my teams that say they wish they stayed in band is astounding.  I feel bad for those kids because they get to miss out on an amazing high school experience.  The band program really makes you feel like you have a purpose and Westwood's bands are the definition of the word "team.""  L.M.

"The rumours were true about Westwood's band and a I am very glad I continued and can't wait to see what the next season has in store."  L.M.

"Class is really fun and I always look forward to coming to band."  S.M.

"... class makes me laugh and to be totally honest I try so hard not to smile when we're music because we sound so good."  J.K.

"... I'm excited for what shenanigans occur next." R.W.

"... thank you for making my grade 9 year  amazingly fun and for giving me an hour to forget all my troubles and stresses in everything.  Band this year was an escape for me, it was a way for me to escape reality and travel to a different world for an hour."  N.V.

"I have learned a lot... that I will probably remember for the rest of my life and I am very grateful for that. I am so excited to see what the next few years will be like.. and how much more I will learn."  A.B.

"To be honest, I never expected that I'd be playing in a band full of talent and passion - that I'd be able to play well enough to keep up with them.  The difficulty of the pieces you gave us made me really think about the music I was playing that, 'it's not what you say; it's how you say it.'  I've never thought about music in this way before... being in band kind of gave me a reason to value music again - to look at it as a gift and not as an obligation."  N.G.

"One thing that was my favourite part about this class was the atmosphere of the band room.  There are some days where I am just [not having a great day], but when I walk into the band room, and hear the music blasting and everyone singing and what-not, I remember why I took this course."  R.W.

"The Westwood band program is amazing!'  S.C.

"Band is one of my favourite classes, I always look forward to it.  Coming into the band program at the beginning of this year, I had a completely different attitude towards band.  To me it was just another class I had to take.  I have been playing music for almost my entire life.  For me, it wasn't new and it wasn't all that exciting anymore.  I decided to give high school band a chance and did it ever change my mind!   Stepping into your classroom with an atmosphere of energy and excitement was a special little touch.  It helped make my experience more than just another class.  You gave me a whole new perspective of what music really is and what it's all about.  It's like my excitement and passion for music has been renewed."  C.H.

"I absolutely love the music you play at the beginning of class.  The second I walk into class, the music pretty much instantly puts me in a good mood, and I automatically start dancing in the room."  M.C.

"Rock and Heavy metal, maybe a little punk.  That's all I used to play.Jazz music never ran through my mind.. I always thought it would be boring and slow and just not what I'm into.  Well, Edwards, you changed all of that for me!  I'm in love with jazz." K.G.

"...when we hit the stage, all of the memories end with a feeling of accomplishment, pride, and self satisfaction. I think those three words are what keep this band programme going, and they are what keep it at such a high level.  You show us what it feels like to be truly proud of what we have done, knowing all of the struggles behind the finished product. Not only do you teach us to find these words in our music, you teach us to find them in everyday life, and to find them in every task we undertake."  J.L.

"You have shown me what true passion is and I continue to admire the passion you have, and to channel that type of tangible passion into the things I love. Not only do you have enough passion to keep yourself going, your passion rubs off on everyone on the band to keep us going in the tough time. Again this is something you have taught me, and i believe the little bit that I am now able to do this has helped immensely in football especially. Before I came to band and learnt how to instil passion in others, football was more of a individual sport. I worked well with everyone, but didn't really interact more than i needed to, but now I am able to encourage and push some of the guys further because I am able to display my passion for the game."  J.L.

"Reading back on all my previous self-assessments is honestly kind of embarrassing.  In grade 9 you told us that you read every single one and wrote us comments back, my first reaction was "yeah right" along with it's just going to be some generic 'report card' comment like keep up the good work.  Man was I wrong." J.W.

"Words cannot express how blessed I am to have had this experience in my life."  K.W.

"... it's been an absolutely incredible experience!" J.L.

"I count myself beyond lucky and thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of a course that gave me the chance to get to know all the people that I did, because they are honestly some of the most amazing, talented, and inspirational people I have ever met. Through this course I got to learn what it means to be part of a team, and learn what it means to know every part of your team, and to respect them as well, and I have the greatest respect for our team."  M.W.

"I honestly don't know who I would be if I didn't join the Westwood Band Program." J.H.

"In grade 9 I was thatchy kid who didn't really do much... As I moved through the grades in Westwood and the more I was in band the more confident I felt in  myself as a person and how I could have my own identity and be my own person and without band I don't know if I would have ever been able to become who I am today." N.E.

"I may forget how to play my instrument one day but Ill never forget band class because of all the stories, laughs and life-lessonsI'm going to keep with me."  T.F.

"My favourite part of high school was being a part of westwood's bands."  E.C.

"The life lessons posted on the TV and painted on the walls of the band room will help me to leave the school a better person, and I have made it a personal goal to try and keep at least some of those principles in my life." L.R.

"I know you say that all the band students got us here, but without you we would be nowhere.  You have such a strong passion for band and I really admire that because it makes me even want to work harder, and I truly believe that you inspire so many of your students." R.H.

"Band is still my escape from history and science... math is easy but history can be stressful sometimes so getting to hit things hard really helps to keep me sane... you always know how to pick the right songs for us."  N.V.

"Going in... I had a pretty good idea of what to expect out of [the] band program, but you continue to surprise me every day."  J.T.

"Band has really been an an amazing experience and it has changed my life."  S.C.

"We are a band program to be reckoned with!" A.E.

"Band makes the Impossible, possible!" T.M.

"Throughout jazz band I had the best experience ever with the amazing Mr. Edwards.  I would recommend to my friends to join jazz band because it is really fun."  J.D.

"I am happy I joined jazz band last minute at the beginning of the year, although I had originally had it removed from my schedule.  It is now one of my favourite classes.." E.R.

"...the ways of teaching band made this class fun and the terrible dad jokes always puts me in a better mood, and just in general has changed my mentality to a more positive one and I've realized it's really helpful when we are worried about festival.  I absolutely love the chillness in the band room.  Playing an instrument back a few years ago was just something I did and didn't really care for that much but I'm so glad that I continued band in Westwood, because I've grown to love to play not just my flute, but I've picked up the guitar too."  M.A.

"I have really grown to love this group of musicians, everyone is just really passionate about playing (and playing well) and there is a nice atmosphere about that when everyone is in the band room, it is very inviting.  I am not sure how an atmosphere like that is created but whatever creates it is absolute genius. I feel the most comfortable with this group, which is good form me, because it allows me to make mistakes without feeling terrible.  In fact in this band class I almost feel encouraged to make mistakes and fix them.  Everything is awesome when you're part of a team (I think that is from the Lego movie...)"  J.A.

"I remember a time... where I thought I would never be a part of another concert band, or even playing the clarinet at all.  Now that I look back and thing about the past four years, I can't imagine my time at Westwood without band."  M.S.

"I never thought I would learn so much about the world in general, in band class! I've grown a lot form the band program and have become a much better player of my instrument.  I've played notes that I could never hit before, played songs that I thought were way too fast for me and I have had a great time doing it!" H.C.

"... band has been a great experience and I'm very grateful to have been a part of such an amazing program.  I've accomplished so much more than I could have ever have imagined and all the friends I have made during my time in band has been amazing." A.B.

" Some people say that band is an easy credit, and I strongly disagree with that.  If I have learned one thing form being in band , it's that it isn't easy.  It is difficult, but that's why I like it.  When we play a piece of music we struggled on, but overcame, and it's well received, it's so worth it."  R.W.

"... you gave us the opportunity to figure out what each piece was trying to say.  I t helped us to improve how we played by finding the right feelings and emotions.  Letting us figure it out helped us to really put the pieces into a different perspective, and achieve sounds that would not have been possible without thinking this way."  N.G.

"I have learned that HARD WORK CAN BE FUN!" C.D.

" We are a group of 80+ kids who probably would've never talked to each other, come together every other day in the morning to take part in something that we all love and cherish." T.M.

"Wow!  Whaat a truly incredible year in Jazz.  I wished it would never end, alas, life goes on.  I have never laughed so much in my life as I have in Jazz this year.  My section just fit so well together that we could make each other laugh with just a look."  C.D.

"Band is a team sport! You cannot be uninvested in our shared success and failure."  C.B.

"Even if I have to leave playing behind me, I will always be close and personal with music, and I'll always remember how it felt to be a part of something bigger, to feel true pride, confidence and passion. I am incredibly grateful for to you for your guidance, passion and expertise.  Thank you again for everything you've left with me for the tough road ahead, I have a feeling it'll be staying with me for a while."  C.B.

"I think band class is really hidden metaphor for life; if you don't listen to others and work together, you'll never get to where you want to go."  J.A.

"... you have gotten me to see that every single person deserves to be heard, and that I was important in a massive group of people."  A.B.

"Here, I learnt to recognize other' strengths, and celebrate them for them, instead of harbouring jealousy.  I acknowledged their weaknesses, as well as my own, and found solutions in lieu of  looking down upon them.  I learnt responsibility, the motivation to required to fuel my own learning.  I learnt to respect the space, and the equipment that would enable me to do so."  T.B.

"...a place of humour and inclusivity." R.A.

"One of the best parts about being in jazz is the people you meet and how close you become.  I started jazz in Gr. 9 all alone without any of my [middle school] friends and now those same people I met back then are my best friends today in Gr. 12."  B.D.

"Band has given me (or at the very least unlocked within me) a confidence that my grade 9 self could not have imagined."  B.U.

"I remember starting the year being so terrified by [the music] and I had already accepted that we weren't going to touch it.  Boy was I wrong!  Not only did we look at it, we annihilated it, something I thought that was impossible.  Although, that seems to be what we do here, the impossible."  A.E.

"I used to find the flute very hard and I am happily and truthfully glad I stuck to band during the struggles because now that I know how to play it, it is incredibly fun!" J.C.

"... Band is full of some very fun and energetic people, but once they come into class, they all feed of of [Mr. Edwards'] energy and leaves in a brighter mood, and personally in the mornings I am very tired and emotionless but [Mr. E.] really wakes me up and makes the rest of my day."  C.W.

" Band is really just one beg metaphor for life.  You work really hard to perfect a piece or small section and, in the end, there is always something you could have done better; always something to perfect. The struggle for excellence ever ends." A.E.

"I can't express how much I love Jazz Band!" T. L.-G.

"... we have learned so much and grown so much as a band and as a person we have all grown into those adults we aspire to be one day.  We learn from our mistakes in band and that is how we get better if we failed at something once you just can't roll over and never try it again we gotta keep working till we achieve every challenge that is award of us." E.D.

"Band at Westwood has changed my life in an extremely positive way and has taught me that no matter what is going on I have my music. I want to teach music.  I want to help people though the frustration of learning and see the excitement when they improve."  A.C.

"I really like how you always tell us the backstory behind every song because it really enables me to connect to the music and the composer in a more personal level and know what emotions came with it when it was first written." S.J.

"This past year band has been a lot more fun that I expected it to be, I came into Westwood no knowing what to expect from the band program... it quickly became a class I was always excited to go to and never wanted to leave." L.McM.

"... such a fun class in which you still learn things.  I cannot wait until next year." N.H.

"Comparing us from when we first started until now, it's apparent to me, and probably everyone else in our ensemble, that there has been a drastic improvement in our capabilities, and that's something that I take great pride in.  Knowing that our growth together as a whole will only keep going as the years pass by, makes me want to be involved in it that much more." L.N.

"Words can't describe how happy I am that I decided to continue band in high school." J.C.

"This band is so frickin' awesome and I am so glad I joined!" N.McD.

"I'm really going to miss starting off my day with having fun and making music... band was never like my other classes." A.E.

"If I didn't go into the band program I think I would honestly be missing something that would have helped get me through life.  Thanks to the band program, I won't be like the kids that say that they hated high school.  I'll be able to look back and think about all the times I was happy... because let's face it half my classes were band classes." B.E.

"... band has been such a big part of my high school career that it is difficult to picture my high school experience without it. And for that I'm so thankful for all the fun experiences that we had together as a band, and for the many amazing memories." E.P.

"I will be taking away with me the urge to surround myself with other dedicated people... band is filled with people who actually want to be there, but specifically jazz is filed with people who really want to play.  When everyone actually chooses to be a part of something, everything becomes more enjoyable - even if that class starts at 7:00AM." A.O.

"I learned more than any other class could teach me.  My other classes my help me get into university, but jazz is what pushed me to do better in everything and to keep going no matter how difficult it may get."  R.O.

"I guess the best thing that I learned from this 4 year adventure of music is that it only takes one person to make and entire group sound or look bad, that it's not what I say it's how I say it and make people clap because they want to not because they have to.  Know that I just repeated all of the things you've been telling me since I got here, but I am being serious when I say that I will carry those things with me for the rest of my life.  All those common phrases really just translate into; Always work as a team, always be respectful and have a proper attitude, and always do things to the best of your abilities."  M.R.

"I really owe a lot of things to this band program, it's really made me grow as a person and I really would not be the person I am today without this class and Mr. Edwards."  E.S.

"If I wasn't in band I probably wouldn't have ended up finding the good friends I have now, o reconnecting with old friends.  I even got to become friends with people in younger grades than me and probably would have never would have if it had not been our connection through band."  E.P.

"... the best four years of my life!"  S.D.

"Before coming to Westwood, I was always so timid; I would sit in class and listen I never talked during class discussion and I continually hid from the gaze of my teachers when the called upon.  I could barely present in front of a room of people.  But through playing my instrument, I learned how to deal with the anxiety that came along with each of those situations. I'm now able to give presentations and knock it out-of-the-park.  I don't hide away when I am called upon in class and I participate in class discussions. It's safe to say that band has helped me." Z.D.

"Before entering into high school, I knew I enjoyed band, but I never loved it.  Entering the Westwood band program and constantly playing challenging music allowed me to love playing [my instrument] all of the time.  I always had something to work on which made class interesting."  L.K.

"You said this would all be over in a blink of an eye, I think it went faster." L. McL.

"I can confidently say that [band] class has shaped my views the most throughout high school." E.W.

"I have [unexpectedly] become quite the band nerd (if I do say so myself)." G.B.

"There's nothing that makes your brain hurt like Red Book season."  E.L.

"What I really like about this band class is that we do't just play, we have fun, which I really like, I feel if you don't have fun in a class there is no point in doing it." A.G.

"I never really cared much for band until grade 9, and that's no lie."  J.N.

"I now understand the team mentality of band.  It takes all the different kinds of instruments to make something greater than myself."  J.S.

"Thank you for making the band program a family!"  P.H.

"I have attended many, many sectionals, and they always feel productive, I always leave them feeling like I know more about what to do in class."  K.D.

"The level of the pieces we are playing, the combined skill of everyone in the band and just the sheer semi-professional feel everyone holds in this band honestly wows me."  W.F.

"I am for sure taking band for the rest of my time at Westwood. I know that it's my favourite class of the day and I couldn't imagine the school day without it." J.D.

"I have never loved playing in band as much as I do now." A.V.

"This will still remain my favourite class in all of high school.  It has also been one of the most challenging at some points. Some pieces we would receive would make me unsure if I was even able to play them, but that was my favourite part about the class.  I love when my abilities are challenged, especially when it comes to music."  M.C.

"Jazz Band has become one of my favourite subjects, and is well worth missing my lunch for.  There's a sense of family in jazz and I love that feeling."  N.S.

"I think that Jazz Band is the best thing that ever happened to my playing."  J.S.

"My Gr.9 self would have never believed I would be able to play the music I can today..." D.L.

"Mr. Edwards is always uber encouraging and believed in us even when we didn't believe in ourselves." D.L. 

"My playing has skyrocketed since I started coming to Westwood.  I have gotten better a lot faster then I expected" B. McD.

"Mr. Edwards provides so much resources to help his students." A.L.

"Honestly, this is the best band I have ever been a part of because of the fun environment." D.N.

"The positivity in this classroom is insane!"  A.S.

"In my time at Westwood I can say for sure that band has taught me the most."  A.C.

"I regret not joining sooner!"  S.S.

"When I earned 1st position in both jazz and concert band that was something I was super proud of.  I had never been 1st at anything... I felt special; band has always made me feel special." K.K.

"Mr. Edwards passion for band burns brighter than any star." J.S.

"I have struggled with a lot in the past couple of years and I have found it very difficult to keep going  or even reach out for help.  Although no matter how tired, stressed, or just feeling down, walking into bacn class has had the most positive atmosphere with upbeat music blaring, people playing music, and Mr. Edwards' always there with a smile."  K.K. 

"I. NEED. MORE.  Jazz is like Pringles. Just like the ads say.  "Once you pop, you just can't stop!" J.S.

"In grade 9, I was hesitant to join the program because I didn't enjoy it in middle school and I thought it would be the same in high school, but it became very clear to me in September that of grade 9 that it would be completely different.  It would be a family.  A community.  A safe space."  K.Y.

"... the sheer electric energy and passion he has for music has made it impossible for me to not enjoy myself in his class or in his presence in general." A.O.

"Honestly if I could break the scale of awesomeness and fun memories... I would smash the scale at 100 out of 10.  This class [concert band] has been a blast and I know it's only going to get better from here." M.V.

"If I had to do this all again, I would.  These [band] classes have been some of the best of my life, and I know that I will never forget the memories that were made in this class, the joy I felt and the things I learned." N. McD.

"[Band] is one of the reasons I got up in the morning." N. McD.

"Thank you for making me love band again!"  B.B.

"This is my first year of Jazz Band and all I can say is... Why on earth did I not join sooner!"  E.L.

"Band at Westwood... feeds my soul and makes me the most happy!"  T.D.

"I am so glad you convinced me to join Jazz in grade 10, because now it feels like it's a part of me.  Then, you or making it so much fun... class didn't even feel like a class."  R.G.

"He's [Edwards] is a goofy teacher that knows what he's doing!" G.B.

"The band room.... such and amazing safe space." A.H.

"I feel happy walking through the band room doors, and feel welcomed as I am greeted by many people.  Band has helped me form many valued relationships and I really like the people in band."  J.S.

"I wouldn't trade this band program for any class in the whole school.  I find myself looking forward to every band class and I find myself thinking about how good band is on a regular basis. I couldn't imagine my school life without band." V.B.

"...The people around me playing... I can't help but feel happy whenever I'm in class."  V.H.

Playing a musical instrument good for brain health

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