The debut of this year's Edison Intermediate/Middle School bands was a success -- although a modicum of terror was involved.
The bands held their first concert of the school year Wednesday, Nov. 14.
The evening was split into halves, with the fifth and sixth grades performing first, followed by the seventh and eighth grades.
For some of the fifth-graders, the evening may have been particularly nerve-wracking, Edison music teacher and band director Scott Heath said.
"It's their first time being on stage playing before an audience," he said. "For some it can be terrifying -- but they did a really great job."
The musical pieces the younger students play "are mainly teaching songs" with basic rhythms and melodies to help them get comfortable with their instruments, Heath said.
"Fifth-grade band is very much a time for them to explore music," he said.
Participating in the band provides many benefits to students besides learning the joys of playing music, he said.
"Working with your instrument helps with hand-to-eye coordination and being in the band is really good for teaching kids discipline," Heath said. "They have to bring their instruments to class, practice at home, take care of their instruments and work together to play a selection."
Edison students are eager to participate in the band, he said.
"Part of it is the history and tradition of the high school band in Grandview," Heath said. "A lot of them see the high school band when they're younger and they want to someday be a part of it.
"But this is one of the few places I've taught where it's cool to be in the band," he said. "I have a class after recess and I have kids running in excited about playing music. I don't have to go looking for students."
Participation in the school bands is high at both Edison and the high school, Heath said.
About 380 students are participating in a band this year, "which is quite a large number" considering Grandview's enrollment stands at about 1,300, he said.
By seventh and eighth grades, students are becoming much more proficient on their instruments, Heath said.
"One of the nice things about splitting our concerts is that parents can see the progress the students make from year to year," he said.
Community members will be able to see -- and hear -- how Edison students have improved through this year at concerts planned for March and May.