Making a Difference: Woodard Summer Music Camp

YUMA, Ariz. – Summer is in full swing, as students from all over Yuma County are participating in the yearly Summer Band Program at Woodard Jr. High School.

“When I first came into Yuma in 1978, there was already a summer music camp going but it was very small. They only had about four classes. Through the years its grown, we now have four classes every hour, sometimes five,” says Music Teacher Christine Wright.

Her husband, Music Teacher Randy Wright adds, “Originally is was just a summer band program, but as the community has grown we wanted to offer more music experience, so we made a true summer music camp.”

Every year students have the opportunity to expand what they’re learning during the school year and build their skills through music with many classes to choose from.

Christine explains, “We have a two hour block for the main performance classes, intermediate, advanced and concert band. During that time you can also take a second instrument if you just want to learn an instrument for fun, there’s a class for that. There’s a special class for beginners, two choirs we also have an orchestra.”

Unlike some hobbies, research has found that musical training has a huge impact on brain development helping keep students focused and helping them to learn easier. Her students agree saying they’re not only learning to improve their hobby, but their music teachers give them a reason to come to summer school.

“Ms. Wright she is a great teacher, she’s funny but when she needs to be serious she has to be serious. If you want to do it just do it cause if you don’t, how will you know if you like it or not,” says Arbella who is a music student.

Gila Vista student Jordan says, “Music actually helps with you getting better at your hobby and I just like being here and meeting new kids.”

Christine adds, “I really enjoy teaching the younger students because it’s just so exciting to see them grow, and build their confidence and they find they can do more and make more music.”

But the real take home from this is passion, the passion from their students to learn, and their passion as teachers is what keeps the summer band program moving up the scale.

Randy concludes, “Just because school ends doesn’t mean that their desire to be a musician ends, and they really appreciate the opportunity to still continue to be performing and learning about music.”

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