UNT Program Gives Students a Musical Head Start

Start up the Band program teaches kids music for free

By Sara Story
|  Monday, Dec 5, 2011  |  Updated 3:58 PM CDT
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Sara Story, Denton Reporter

The "Start up the Band" program gives elementary kids a head start in the music world.

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The University of North Texas is home to some very accomplished musicians, and some of them are passing their passion for music to the next generation. The "Start up the Band" program gives elementary kids a head start in the music world.

Denton fifth-graders involved in the program learn the basics of music for free.

"We will learn about the notes for our instrument, and we learn about the body parts and how to put it together," music student Luke Hill said.

Each Saturday, UNT music education majors volunteer to teach the elementary students. The program targets Denton elementary schools in need.

"This is a volunteer opportunity that really hits home for me because music is my passion. That's what I love doing," UNT music education student Andrew Ballettie said. "All kids should have the same opportunity like this, and being able to extend that opportunity to kids who otherwise wouldn't really makes you feel like you are making a difference."

Dr. Darhyl Ramsey started the program in 2000.

"These kids become the role models because they do know how to sit, how to breath. They know the right positions. They become the ones the other kids looked to as the demonstrator," Ramsey said.  "At times, it is very expensive to obtain an instrument and to do all of the things involved in playing an instrument, to do all the things that are involved with playing an instrument."

At "Start up the Band," the instruments are checked out to the kids at no cost, allowing them to take a step ahead.

"It will teach me some things that other kids won't know yet," music student Madeline Haskell said.

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