Ms. Matta directs the LA Band, which practices every morning in the Poe Theater.

Ms. Matta directs the LA Band, which practices every morning in the Poe Theater.

It’s an LA tradition. Band teacher Ms. Matta and the 44 members of the LA Wind Ensemble practice every morning, first period (also known as Period G), downstairs in the Poe Theater. Dedicated band students may start every day of their four years in high school with music.

“I’ve been at LA nine years, and period G Wind Ensemble started long before I got here. Playing a musical instrument first thing in the morning wakes up our brains and bodies.   It engages both sides of the brain – students are counting rhythm, operating their instruments (forming the correct embouchure with their mouths-using air support-working valves and keys) while using rhythm and pitch, watching the conductor, responding to what they hear from the rest of the band, constantly changing from playing melody to playing accompaniment and needing to know which they are playing at all times, students are constantly critiquing themselves and reacting musically to each other. Where we (admittedly) all walk into the room a bit sleepy first thing in the morning, we leave energized, awake and ready to continue learning because our brains are operating on all cylinders.”

Senior Tess Fields, who plays clarinet in the Wind Ensemble, puts it this way:

“I have heard many of my friends complain about starting their school day with a rigorous academic class. I feel I have lucked out. I have started every academic day with music for the past three years. It has been my saving grace throughout high school. Beginning the day with music is a privilege as it allows a nonverbal way to introspect and connect with many of my peers. Not only has music helped me mentally start my day, but it has also helped me physically, through an hour of focusing on and regulating my breathing. Studies have shown that playing music triggers synapsis in the entire brain which seems to be the best way to start a school day.”

Lucky kids! And they sound great, too.

Here are some snapshots: just another G period in Poe.


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