Band teacher leads the way to academic excellenceJul 01, 2022 11:38AM ● By Jet Burnham
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Marching with the Utah National Guard 23rd Army Band in the West Jordan Grand Parade on the 4th of July will be trombone player and assistant conductor Lisa Blodgett.
“I keep busy and involved with music during the summer and love it,” Blodgett said.
During the summer, she performs at local events with small music performance teams within the band, such as the Brass Quintet, which often performs for veterans returning home from Honor Flight trips to Washington, D.C.
During the school year, Blodgett is the music teacher and band instructor for students in grades 4-6 at Majestic Elementary Arts Academy. Her involvement in the 23rd Army concert band, marching band, jazz band, and brass quintet builds her street cred with her students.
“I think it's important the kids see that she's still working on that talent and using it in her professional career,” Principal Marianne Johansen said.
At Majestic, all students take daily music classes and the upper grades take band class. In typical elementary schools, families have to coordinate their own transportation to band and orchestra classes, which are held before or after school.
Blodgett said her students enjoy having the opportunity to play in the band during school hours.
“Kids come in happy— they literally come running up to my door,” she said. “It’s a bright spot to a lot of the kids' days when they get to come. It gives them something new, something different, something fun to do. So I think it's made it a lot more fun for the kids to come to school.”
Blodgett said music class has helped turn things around for students who previously struggled with attendance.
“There’s a lot of kids that are actually motivated, they want to come to school, because they want to participate in band or be in the arts classes,” she said.
Blodgett said learning to read and play music helps students develop skills that help them academically.
“Some of these kids that struggled in a regular classroom have been flourishing and doing quite well with this new skill and reading music,” she said. “I think it's exciting to see that and it's something that's supposed to help develop and grow brains.”
Johansen said Blodgett creates a safe environment where kids feel comfortable, even when they are asked to play in front of their peers.
She said Blodgett is also a great support to her peers, helping other teachers where she can, and standing out as a leader and hard-worker.
Blodgett was awarded Utah’s Outstanding Music Educator of the Year award at the Utah Music Educators Conference this spring. This prestigious recognition is given to music educators who have demonstrated “an enduring commitment to music education excellence” as well as “long-term, meritorious service, assistance, and inspiration to students, to the state, and to music teachers.”
Blodgett was thrilled to receive the award and to continue growing the music program at Majestic.
“I love teaching music and working with kids,” Blodgett said. “My absolute favorite part of my job is when I see a kid has learned something new and it's exciting and it's amazing to them.”