Students Reflect on Music Careers


Photo by: Colin Coon

A view of the choir from behind Wendi Bogard.

It’s no big secret that the music department at Basehor-Linwood has exceptional teachers. Many members of Basehor’s community, and those surrounding it, have praised the high school and middle school musicians for years. But the choir, band, and orchestra teachers aren’t just teaching their students to make music- they’re also teaching them life lessons that they [the students] will carry with them for the rest of their lives.    

Annie Cygan, a junior, is a member of both orchestra and choir. “They’ve [Mrs. Bogard and Mr. Wilburn] done so much for me,” Cygan said. “I’ve had very few teachers that have made such a big impact on my life.”

Each program is like a tight-knit family; they stick together like velcro. “We’re like sisters,” Cygan said about Women’s Chorus. “Even though we may not get along all the time, we stick together. We’re a unit.”

Chandreah Hime is a member of band and colorguard. “Band is the one class that I don’t have to study for,” Hime said. “I can just enjoy the music.”

With schedules filled with core and college classes, it’s very important that students have a way to relieve their class-related stress. For many students, music is the way they choose to do so.

“When I’m in orchestra or choir, it’s kind of like the stress of everything else melts away.” Cygan said. “When I’m playing or singing, it’s like nothing else matters.”

Some people will argue that the Fine Arts department has no place in a school environment, where most of the focus is on learning Math, Science, History, and English. “What some people don’t realize is that it’s so important for kids to have a creative outlet, no matter what it is,” Cygan shared. “If kids are given these options from the very start, they’re more likely to know what they want to do in the future.”

Programs such as music education, that provide a creative outlet for children, have consistently ranked higher in the “favorite subject” polls than core classes, such as math and social studies. Not only do these classes make students happy, they also teach them how to think “outside of the box” and in “new and unique ways”.

Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, said, “We have to expand our notion of what productivity means. Right now we are grooming our kids to think in a very particular way, which assumes that the right way to be thinking is to be attentive, to stare straight ahead.”

Fine Arts classes also teach students how to persevere. “The first time you get a piece of music, a mound of clay, or a monologue script, you’re not going to have it down in two minutes, and that’s okay,” Cygan said. “It doesn’t matter if you can’t get it right all the time. What matters is that you have determination to keep trying, no matter what.”

“I think that determination is the single most valuable thing a person can learn from music. It doesn’t matter what you wear, what you look like, or where you come from. What matters is that, when you fall, you have the ability to brush yourself off, and stand back up again.”