Music doesn’t stop in summer

While many classrooms at Lenihan Intermediate School remain quiet during summer break, music can be heard bellowing from the band room three days a week this month.

It is part of the summer lessons program in the school district with hundreds of students participating district wide.

At Lenihan, band director Paul Sibbel said they have more than 100 signed up for summer lessons, which are key to keeping students on the right track in their craft.

“This keeps the students playing longer, so they don’t put the instrument in their case all summer,” Sibbel said.

Sibbel said he really notices at the start of the school year in the fall which students took part in lessons that summer.

“We definitely see that students with the summer program have that head start and they are the leaders when we come back in the fall,” Sibbel said.

Students in fifth through seventh grades receive four 30-minute lessons this month, while the higher grades do more with marching band and some one-on-one lessons.

In the past, there was a fee to participate in summer lessons, but that was waived for younger students last year and for all students this summer.

Sibbel said waiving the fee has helped the numbers rise in the summer program.

“I think it’s really exciting that the district values what we do,” Sibbel said.

The district has continued to add more summer learning programs to curb summer learning loss, but the band program has offered summer lessons for decades.

Sibbel said the students not excited about summer lessons tend to stay away, so he usually has some smiling faces in the band room during the summer.

“A lot of the kids leave and say ‘that was a lot of fun,'” Sibbel said.

One student happy to be in lessons Wednesday was 11-year-old Emily Manis, who was receiving instruction on the alto saxophone. She said it keeps her from being lazy with her music during the summer.

“I feel like I’m not very motivated when I’m doing these,” Manis said. “I like to do them to keep me going.”