Please save George Bonner’s band program

Cowichan Bay – I am disappointed to hear that George Bonner Elementary School’s band program will be discontinued after this school year.

I could tell you why music education is so important (benefits language development, increases IQ and neural activity, improves spatial-temporal skills and test scores in English and Math), but I thought I might share my son’s story instead.

My son, who has a diagnosis of autism and selective mutism, joined the Bonner band’s percussion section in Grade 6. With his disabilities, communicating with others is a real

challenge.

Playing in the band allowed him to interact with others while creating music.

He was learning how all the different sections in the band are equally important and how they need to work together to achieve success.

I watched his self-confidence grow dramatically during his three years in Bonner’s band. My son had found a place at school where he was just one of the kids, but where he felt a new sense of belonging and pride.

He enjoyed band so much that we signed him up for after-school drum lessons.

His success at Bonner led him to sign up for the concert and jazz bands at Frances Kelsey.

What an easy transition when he saw the familiar faces of former Bonner band members in his new band classes! Band has continued to be a huge success for him. In fact, this year he is the senior jazz band’s drummer! This shy young man can get up on stage and proudly represent his school with a real sense of confidence – an incredible accomplishment! I truly hope that there is still a chance to save the band program at George Bonner Elementary. I’m sure my son’s success story is only one of a great many to come out of its band room.

Claire Spencer

Cowichan Bay