LPS students enjoy sound of music at Pound band camp

Lincoln Public Schools students reached noteworthy destinations this summer during a weeklong journey on musical trails.
Dozens of LPS musicians made comforting chords come to life during a five-day band camp at Pound Middle School. Students who were in fifth and sixth grades this year practiced their instruments together for several hours each morning. They ended their final day with a public concert in front of more than 100 people.
Laurel, Emmett and Dax said they were happy to be at the camp. Laurel and Emmett will both be sixth graders at Lux Middle School this fall, and Dax will be starting seventh grade at Pound. Laurel was in the trumpet section, Emmett played songs on the saxophone and Dax sat in the baritone section.
“I did it last year when I was going into sixth grade, and I liked it a lot,” Dax said. “We played a lot of pieces and the concert was fun. It was a good chance to practice and just get better.”
“I didn’t want to go back to sixth grade not remembering anything about playing my instrument,” Emmett said. “Being able to play during the summer is good.”
Laurel said on the camp’s final day that she had learned a lot from the experience. Each instrumental section – flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, percussion, trumpet/French horn and trombone/baritone/tenor saxophone – played their own feature song at the concert. Students also secured knowledge about time measures, volume levels and more complicated song arrangements.
“Sometimes when you’re playing in multiple parts, you have to make sure that you’re staying on your part, and if you get off, you have to make sure you get back on track,” Laurel said.
LPS teachers Wade Howles, Amy Gammel and Gary Shuda guided students on their musical expeditions in Pound’s auditorium. Howles said all three directors wanted to encourage the younger players each time they picked up their instruments.
“I think it’s essential for us to provide opportunities for students like what we’re doing at Pound,” Howles said. “There’s a place for every single one of those kids in our instrumental music programs throughout LPS. Giving them a positive experience and deepening their enjoyment of music is incredibly important.”

Pound’s camp also gave older students a chance to pass along their expertise. Camp counselors Madeline and Adam will both be sophomores at Southeast High School this fall. Madeline worked with clarinet students and Adam helped trumpet players play polished notes.
“I just love helping out with band stuff,” Madeline said. “I’ve loved helping with the fifth and sixth graders, because they’re still really new to it. It’s fun to see how they react to more complicated stuff.”
Madeline and Adam both said they were impressed with the progress students like Laurel, Emmett and Dax made at camp.
“It’s nice to see these kids develop over the span of a week,” Adam said. “From Monday to today is wildly different. You can really see how these kids are reacting to different musical concepts.”
“In the beginning, they had no sense of loud and quiet, so it was just ear-shattering the entire time they were playing,” Madeline said with a smile. “It’s a lot better now. You can hear the difference between forte and piano.”
Howles felt the camp also provided a place for students to begin fine-tuning their leadership talents.
“I really enjoy working with the fifth graders and seeing that initial spark when everything is still so new for them,” Howles said. “With the sixth graders, it’s fun to see them show off their skills and be leaders for the younger students. Hopefully, they’ll go back to their schools in the fall ready to continue being a leader for their classmates.”
Madeline and Adam said they had learned just as much as the younger students. Madeline will be a section leader in Southeast’s marching band this fall and would like to go to veterinary school after graduation. Adam’s goal is to one day have the same career as Howles, Gammel and Shuda.
“I want to be a band director when I grow up, so I’m telling him (Howles) that I’m trying to learn everything I can from you, pretty much,” Adam said. “He’s been doing this for a large part of his life, so it’s been really great to try and pick things up from him like teaching strategies and how he deals with certain situations. I’m still trying to learn myself while helping these kids too.”
Dax said his camp experience gave him a glimpse of the fun musical paths he could follow the rest of his LPS career.
“It’s really fun to be here with a lot of kids,” Dax said. “Getting to meet new kids is good.”

Learn more about our music curriculum on our website at https://home.lps.org/music/.

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Published: July 10, 2024, Updated: July 10, 2024

Lincoln Public Schools students practice their music on the final day of a weeklong band camp at Pound Middle School. Dozens of students in fifth and sixth grades learned more about music during their time at the summer camp. They performed a public concert in front of more than 100 people on the last day.