Another benefit is beginning band. It’s no secret that the Sound of the Seven Hills is considered an elite band program in the state of Georgia. However, the foundation for what the public sees under the lights on Friday nights starts in the sixth grade.

During the first week of school, interested students are given the opportunity to try out at their individual schools on any instrument that interests them. Band directors and music industry professionals guide them on what instrument they are best suited for and a decision is made on what they will play.

On Aug. 11, Gadsden Music Co. was on hand at the Rome Middle School lunch room to allow students to rent the instruments, books and accessories they needed to begin their musical journey.

“We start the process by demonstrating the instruments for the kids and discuss the differences between them,” said Director of Bands, Chad Hannah. “The kids usually come in with an idea of which instrument they want to play, while others are still trying to figure that out. We help them through the process, but at the end of the day we are just excited by their enthusiasm about our band program.”

While the journey begins with picking their instruments, it continues throughout the year with a focus on fundamentals. And since most of the band members in separate elementary schools won’t play together as a whole in January 2019, the goal between now and then is pretty simple.

“Right now we just want to get a clarinet sounding like a clarinet and a trumpet sounding like a trumpet,” says Hannah. “The goal is to teach them the basic fundamentals of how to produce tone and how to read basic rhythms.”

By the end of the year they will play two concerts as a full band, while preparing themselves to take a giant leap forward in their musical endeavors in the middle school program. While music is the focus, Hannah said band students have another distinct advantage when making the jump to seventh grade.

“These kids grow up together, moving up through the school system as a team,” Hannah explained. “They all come from different schools but they have already established relationships with other band members. When they make the jump to middle school or high school they have already spent time on campus in the summer getting to know each other. So, on day one they are already comfortable. I believe it’s a huge advantage in making the transition and the camaraderie is a big part of what makes our program so special.”