Band Provides Musical Outlet, Community


Credit: Sandra Coyer

If you’ve been looking to continue your music career in band, Eric Ryan, PHS band teacher, encourages you to do so, assuring you can find the room in your schedule. 

“What’s unique about band at the high school is that there is not an opportunity for you to start. By the time you get to high school you’re either doing band or you haven’t done band,” Ryan said. 

Though he teaches band now, Ryan says he first intended to be an architect, but during his freshman year of college, he switched career paths. 

“When I got to WSU, I was in architecture classes and was also playing in some music ensembles. It wasn’t until I got to WSU when I realized I didn’t want to do architecture and I wanted to do music,” Ryan said. “I switched majors my freshman year and it was more because I realized I enjoyed music more than I thought I did.” 

Ryan says he believes many students find band inspiring because of the collaborative work required to be in a class like band.  

“[I think students find] the atmosphere and what we get to do in band [inspiring]” Ryan said. 

Just as every student has their struggles, Ryan talks about the struggles he faces as a band teacher.  

“Online was gross for band; you had to have a group play it over a Teams meeting and that just didn’t happen,” Ryan said. “I think obstacles are more trying to help students navigate registration. For the students that really want to keep playing their sophomore, junior and senior year, but they need to take this [class] and this [class] for college and do this extra thing, trying to help them out and finding a way to fit it all in their schedule is typically the biggest obstacle.” 

Ryan began teaching band to junior high students his first year of teaching music but switched to teaching the upper levels band after his first year.  

“When I was teaching music to junior high students, I knew I didn’t want to teach music to [them] anymore, I wanted to teach music to high school students,” Ryan said. “I was teaching both, it just reinforced [that] I liked teaching high school level [music] and atmosphere more than the younger students.” 

Ryan says his job is worth it by seeing the end product come together at a performance. 

“I think all of us continuing to come together to accomplish goals, whether it be playing a song at a concert or at a football game, it’s very rewarding to see. The whole process [is rewarding] but also the final performance and what you can all come together to do, that’s very rewarding,” Ryan said.  

Ryan emphasizes the importance of supporting the musicians in your life.  

“Continue supporting the arts in our schools, whether that be [your] presence at concerts and performances, supporting us through donations, voting on levies and bonds to help us get the equipment and instruments we need, continue to support us,” Ryan said.