Instrumental Fairs Introduce Musicians to New Opportunities

Instrumental Fairs Introduce Musicians to New Opportunities
Shawnee Mission School District

Luke Inman says playing trumpet in the band has helped him meet friends and get involved at his school.

“It’s been an important part of my life,” he said.

The senior, now a section leader at Shawnee Mission North, along with teachers and classmates, recently helped host an instrumental fair for elementary students. Several of these fairs have been held across the district. Each event gave students in elementary school a chance to try out band and orchestra instruments to see what instrument might be the best fit for them.

With health and safety protocols in place, younger students were able to hold and try out instruments they were interested in.

“It can make a big difference in helping students know what instrument is right for them,” Rebecca Fillingham, director of elementary bands in the North area said.

Having current high school musicians on-hand to provide advice and help students try out the instruments also helps.

“It’s those students who make the magic happen,” Fillingham shared. “They are passing the torch to the next round of musicians.”

High school students also took time to play songs for attendees who visited Shawnee Mission North’s fair. Some played solos or performed in small groups.

“I hope students see how much fun we have,” Addisyn Manirath expressed. “I hope they join bands in elementary school and make friends that will last.”

After attending the fair, Crestview student Noah Ramirez was leaning toward becoming a trombone player.

“I like to play music and I’d like to be in band like my brother,” he shared.

At Shawnee Mission East, a similar event, held over several hours, drew about 300 students. This year both fifth and sixth grade students attended, since many fifth-graders were unable to attend last year, Alexis Biehl, East-area strings teacher shared.

“We were grateful to have mitigation measures in place and put this event on this year,” Biehl shared. “This would not have been possible without the help of high school students. Both older and younger students seemed like they had a blast!”  

Over the next few days and weeks, elementary instrumental music classes will be holding their first sessions. Find out more about elementary instrumental music in each feeder pattern here.