• Be Part of the Band!

    Music does more than just make sounds. It changes the way we think and act. The skills we learn in music will help you be successful on the stage and in the classroom for the rest of your life.

    Read what the Hellgate Wind Ensemble students say about being in high school band. October 11, 2023

    “While listening to music engages the brain in some pretty interesting activities, playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout. The neuroscientists saw multiple areas of the brain light up simultaneously processing different information in intricate, interrelated, and astonishingly fast sequences. Playing a musical instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. As with any other workout, disciplined structured practice in playing music strengthens those brain functions allowing us to apply that strength to other activities.”

    --Anita Collins, How Playing An Instrument Benefits Your Brain

    Why should you sign up for high school band?

    1. The program is crankin!  Hellgate’s bands consistently earn top honors at all festivals they attend. We have a lot of fun doing it and we take our musical studies seriously.  I guarantee you will have a great time while learning and growing as a human being and as a musician.

    2. Band is fun and you get to travel!  In 2015 the Wind Ensemble performed and earned a Gold (top rating)  at the New York Wind Band Festival in the famed Carnegie Hall.  In 2016, the Hellgate Bands performed in the 75th commemoration of Pearl Harbor - performing with the US Pacific Fleets Marine Band at the official ceremonies and at the USS Missouri.  In 2019 the band traveled and performed at the Pacific Basin Music Festival in Honolulu, HI.  Next year, the bands have been invited to return to Hawaii in 2023!

    3. The Hellgate Band is truly a family with a culture of excellence!  You will have an immediate group of friends from all grade levels within the school right when the school year begins.  Some of the kindest, most dedicated people in our school are in the band program.  We all work together for the common good of helping each other make great music.  When you are in band, you are choosing to surround yourself with great people!

    4. Bonus!  Students who are in a successful music program all 4 years in high school score 10-12% higher on the SATs.  *College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001.

    5. Band is the ultimate collaboration. We practice listening, adjusting, and being creative on a daily basis. Study after study tells us that employers look for people who are great collaborators.  Students in band do this in everything they do. Remember, there is no “bench” in a band.  Everyone is a “starter” with important contributions to make, together.

    6. According to US college admissions offices, being involved in a group like band all four years in conjunction with taking upper level classes in high school looks great on college applications and scholarship applications.  Many current and past band students earn college scholarships as well as acceptance into their first choice of school (including Harvard, Northwestern, Cornell, and Yale just to name a few recents).

    7. Victor Wooten said it best for University of Vermont:  "What the world needs is good people."

    8. 16 Benefits of Playing an Instrument 


    College/Trade School Admissions

    Colleges and schools are looking for sustained, well-rounded activities that enrich your life and contributes to the community. Being in a music class for four years speaks volumes about a person's character, skills, attitudes, and work ethic. 70% of admissions officers at major universities say high school credit and achievement in the arts are significant considerations for admission. 

    Deeper Reasons

    This is the most essential element of what makes music ensembles unique; in a band (or any ensemble), we practice listening, tuning, awareness of others, and the alignment--physically and mentally--with a group of collaborators. On a daily basis, we focus and refine our skills of LISTENING TO OTHERS and changing ourselves for the benefit of the music and the group, and yet we express ourselves in a unique, abstract, and individual manner. This is a phenomenal set of life skills, right? Just ask the most successful employees at Google.

    Advocate For Yourself and Your Art!

    If you also feel strongly about involvement in music, please advocate and support through actions and attitudes. Encourage your friends to continue with band, encourage our teachers and administrators to support your band program, and highlight all of the exciting activities, rewards, and joyful moments that music has provided you. This is your community, after all. Your leadership will go a long way to sustain the quality of programs at Big Sky.

  • Advocate for Music

    Music for Music Sake

    In the article Why study music?, music education professor Donald Hodges explains 10 understandings/experiences unique to music. He writes:

    1. Feelings – central to any discussion of music as a knowledge system must be the idea of feelings. From one end of the continuum dealing with vague, unspecified moods to the other end dealing with crystallized emotions such as grief or joy, music is intrinsically connected with feelings.
    2. Aesthetic experiences – all human beings have a need forbeauty and to activate their innate responsiveness to the organized expressive sounds that we call music.

    3. The ineffable – precisely because music is a nonverbal form of expression, it is a powerful means to express or to know that which is difficult or impossible to put into words. Two of the most common human experiences that are frequently known through music are love and spiritual awareness.

    4. Thoughts – musical thought is just as viable as linguistic, mathematical, or visual thought. It can be a potent means of expressing ideas and of knowing truth.

    5. Structure – closely allied to the idea of thinking is structure. The human mind seeks patterns, structure, order, and logic. Music provides a unique way of structuring sounds across time, as well as providing a means of structuring thoughts, feelings, and human experiences.

    6. Time and space – time and space are the ‘stuff’ of the universe. All human knowledge systems provide ways of dealing with time and space. As indicated in ‘Structure’ above, music is a means of organizing sounds across time. Although music occurs in ‘real’ time, it deals more with ‘felt’ time. Music, especially in connection with dance (bodily-kinesthetic knowledge system), is a primary means of experiencing space in time.

    7. Self knowledge – music’s role in intrinsic, and especially peak (transcendent, life-changing), learning experiences provides for powerful insights into our private, inner worlds.

    8. Self identity- many gain their sense of self through a variety of musical activities and experiences.

    9. Group identity- group identity through music is both inclusive and exclusive in that (a) music helps cement the bonding of those members of a group who share common ideas, beliefs, and behaviors, and (b) music helps isolate and separate one group from another.

    10. Healing and wholeness- from more specific applications of music in therapy and medicine to more general interactions, music has profound effects on human beings. Music provides a vehicle for the integration of body, mind, and spirit.