Soldier musicians play along

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Off Duty Editor
Fort Knox’s 113th Army Band joined the Fort Knox High School band Feb. 18 for an afternoon of music and mentoring. This was the second visit this month.
The purpose of the band’s visits is “to give back to the school and give (the students) one-on-one or small group lessons,” said Sgt. 1st class Michael Aloisi, a member of the band who oversees the visits to the school.
In the classroom, students were divided into smaller groups depending on the instrument they play. A Soldier who plays the same instrument then worked with the small group.
“This gives the students an opportunity to (work with) somebody that actually plays their instrument,” said Sgt. Rob McCarty, a member of the 113th Army Band.
“I think it’s pretty great,” high school band student Robert Bell said of the Soldiers’ visits, adding that the Soldiers are able to give the students insight to how they’re playing.
Student Bailey Rasmussen echoed Bell’s sentiments, saying it was helpful to have the musicians there working with the students in small groups.
While these are not private lessons, McCarty said, they do give students the chance to ask questions to someone who is extra knowledgeable about their specific instrument. The 113th Army Band members have also been able to listen to the students play and hear the parts of the music they’re having trouble with, and help the students work through them, McCarty said.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for my students to learn from professional musicians,” said Renae Compton, Fort Knox High School band director. “I think it’s a great example of community and schools working together.”
Compton said that since the Soldiers’ first visit, she has noticed improvements in the students’ overall sound, tone, breath support and technique. They also listen better, she said.
The Feb. 18 visit from the 113th Army Band is the second visit this month; the first visit occurred Feb. 4 and the next is scheduled for Tuesday. Aloisi said he would like to bring the band to the school every two or three weeks, or so.
“I like teaching. I like helping people out,” McCarty said. “(The Soldiers working with the high school band is) good for (the students) and it’s good for us. It keeps us on our toes and makes us think, and makes us work. It shows (the students) what else you can do and hopefully it encourages them to continue their music education and continue playing, even if it’s just at the community level.”