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Nederland band director using music to battle quarantine blues

NEDERLAND — Nederland High School Band Director Greg Rose said the upside to the art of music is that it can be taken advantage of anywhere at anytime.

“The first thing that stands out [about music] is the creative part,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to create on the spot. There is work that goes into that, to get fundamentals in place, but it is something that can be a release and therapeutic.”

The American Music Therapy Association reports music therapy as a “second-wave” relief that helps others cope with events surrounding a crisis and its aftermath.

Justin Collazo, assistant band director at C.O. Wilson Middle School, wears a mask and gloves to hand students their instruments during pickup this week.

The directed use of music and music therapy is highly effective in developing coping strategies, including understanding and expressing feelings of anxiety, helplessness and providing a neutral environment for relaxation.

Rose said it is the routine of practicing that keeps kids in a rhythm.

“Right now, students are surrounded by so much technology, whether it’s watching TV, playing video games or on social media, that it’s refreshing for them to have a chance to do individual music,” he said. “A lot of kids have that feeling of being cooped up, and this a chance for them to play and express themselves in a unique way.”

Middle school band members were allowed to pick up their instruments curbside at C.O. Wilson Middle School on Monday. High school students picked theirs up on Tuesday.

Rose said he is appreciative to the district and school board for the opportunity to lend out instruments for a prolonged period of time.

Brandon Laird, head band director at C.O. Wilson Middle School, loads an instrument into the trunk of a car during instrument pickup. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

“Nobody expected, or knew, that this was going to happen,” he said. “There were a lot of kids who went to see family or went on vacation to do things where they couldn’t bring their instruments. Once this thing hit, we had a lot of students ask to bring their instruments home. We’re glad we could help out in our own way.”

Rose said the music department is working on ways to transition lessons to an online platform by developing opportunities for students to play for directors and give feedback.

All NISD middle school and high school UIL band contests scheduled for the month of April have been postponed until further notice.