The Importance of Music in Manville


Kayla Knape

We all know that courses such as English, Math, History, and Science are important in high school, but what about the music program? Music education is important to young students because it can relieve stress, lead to better brain development, and increase human connection. Most students who are involved in a form of music such as choir, concert band, marching band, etc., tend to achieve higher academic excellence. Mr. Thomas Fett, a past choir teacher at Manville High School, and a current-day general music, choir, and guitar lab teacher at Alexander Batcho Intermediate School and Mr. Daniel Hemberger, the principal of MHS, shared their thoughts on the importance of the music program in Manville.

So how important is the music program in Manville? “It’s the most important program in school…” Mr. Fett answered. “It helps in a lot of ways that people don’t realize it does.” Mr. Fett believes that music should be a priority in the Manville school district because it can help students improve in other academic programs, challenges students intellectually, which they may not get from other classroom environments, and teaches discipline. To agree, Mr. Hemberger said “Music is great; it’s definitely a priority.”

A huge concern, or reason, why students in Manville may not be involved in the music program is simply because, “Kids may not know what it is.” Guidance counselors, teacher, or other superiors may not understand what all classes available to students are about, and “Students get stuck in classes they don’t like because it isn’t explained to them.” Music and band rooms are also often put in random corners or hallways of the schools that students aren’t frequently exposed to. Mr. Fett also added the idea, “…kids might not even know who the music teachers are.” 

Mr. Fett explained, “Any sort of fundraising helps.”  Last school year, Mr. Fett and his second period choir sold Vocal Valentines to students at Manville high school. Around the time of Valentine’s Day, students would be able to purchase a Vocal Valentine. For the minimal price of $2.00, any student could choose a song and write a nice message to a friend of their choice. On Valentines Day, the choir would go around the school, sing to the person, and give them the message. Because it “…involves a showcasing of skills,” Mr. Fett said, many people in MHS contributed and the student body and teachers reacted well. The money was added to the music program budget, and was used to purchase new music which allowed the students to perform a wonderful show for the spring concert. This school year, Mr. Fett plans to pass this idea on to Ms. Lucchesse, the new choir teacher at MHS. 

Similarly, Mr. Hemberger agreed that fundraising by, “showcasing those courses and having more performances,” is a great way to promote the music program. 

Due to being involved in a music program, students tend to achieve higher academic excellence, gain confidence, better social skills, and attain an increase in happiness. Mr. Hemberger expressed, “If it helps kids get to that point, it’s a no-brainer.” He is trying to encourage students to implement music into their lives through school because, “If you’re developing those skills, and enjoying it too, that’s the [best] thing you can get.” 

Mr. Fett brought forth the idea, “It’s much more difficult to give standardized tests,” dealing with music, whereas a performance can show the level the student is at. In other subjects, you can’t look at a person and say that they are, for example, a good reader; standardized tests demonstrate that. Mr. Hemberger said that while he’s able to look at student test scores, music “…makes learning very visible. That, to me, is very rewarding.” 

Music enables students to show their skills in non-traditional academic ways, which makes it important for students to get involved in a music program at MHS.