Meaning in music education

Sep 27, 2019

Travel Notes

If you’ve been reading our Travel Notes Blog for any length of time, you know that we’re passionate about supporting the arts, music education in particular. The important work that music educators (our heroes!) do is the very heartbeat of our business and the reason we do what we do.

In past posts, we’ve shared why music education is so important, how an arts education can impact other subjects and encourage students to pursue higher education. Today, we’re going to focus on some of the more intangible benefits of music education and how it can help prepare students for life beyond the classroom. Our friends at Lincoln-Way High School in Illinois were honored to be chosen for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade – in this post, they share their insights into the values that performing inspires in students.


In our instant gratification culture, students don’t have many opportunities to learn what it takes to work towards a lofty goal. Music performance, whether concert band, choir, marching band or orchestra, allows students to experience the process of learning something new and working hard to perfect it. That process always includes perseverance, since no one’s an expert on day one.

“The things I have the most fun doing in my life, are the things that I’m really good at. Trying to get the students to understand that the better you are at something, the more you’re going to enjoy it. Trying to get the students to experience that feeling is really important because that’s the feeling that makes the long hours worth it. Knowing that you’ve been a part of something that’s incredible that no one else in the world could do. To me, that’s what’s really special.”

– Cary Ruklic, Band Director

“What drives me in marching band is from my own experience in marching band. It is uniquely the one activity that draws physicalness, emotion, and performance. Marching band has a unique way of bringing the meaning you can get from doing something.

– Dr. Bert Johnson, Department Chair


Students thrive with support – we all do, actually. When students understand that they’re valued, cheered for, believed in and loved, they build the confidence to pursue their goals. For student performers, that support comes from parents, teachers, boosters and their peers.

One of the things I always ended our competitions with was “We love you.”

– Justin Barnish, Band Director

We have to support our young adults, they’re our future leaders. If they see the support and they see that we’re there for them that we always have their back, they’ll succeed.

– Gerald Freeny, President, 2019 Tournament of Roses

Earned Pride

There’s a difference between pride and earned pride. When your group achieves a common goal, whether that’s a simple as learning a new song or as tremendous as winning a state championship, that sense of earned pride has a lasting impact.

They have that feeling of ‘we just did something extraordinary.’ And that’s what’s exciting – you feel like you’re going to give them something that gives them infinite opportunity.

– Dr. Bert Johnson, Department Chair

You can see it in them. You can see the students change just by the way people perceive them. They stand up a little straighter. They take pride in what they do. This is definitely an experience that brings that out of them

– Cary Ruklic, Band Director

We count it a privilege to support music educators like the directors at Lincoln-Way. And to work with so many veteran music educators on our team here at BRT. If we can support your group through performance travel planning, we’d be honored. We’d love to speak with you!

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