What makes Leander ISD so universally successful?
1. Strong administrative support. This is a given. Having all the instruments you need, the staff you need, the facilities you need....this comes in handy to streamlining instruction and increasing teaching effectiveness.
1. Strong elementary fine arts programs. LISD involves their kids in music but also in theatre (which not a lot of elementary schools have) as well as after school children's choirs and other programs. And the kids aren't just singing songs...they're being taught music theory from a very young age. By the time they go into band most kids can read a staff, subdivide rhythms and have a basic understanding of solfege. This allows for beginner band classes to move faster which leads to...
2. Strong middle school band programs. LISD has arguably the strongest middle school band in the country right now (Artie Henry MS), and 2 others have been Honor Band finalists in the last 5 years (Four Points and Stiles). Most of the varsity groups at these schools are capable of reading Grade 4 literature (which is the minimum standard for a 6A top band). When the majority of 9th graders at each High School are already playing at the minimum standard for bands made up of 11th and 12th graders, then there's no where else to go for the next 3 years but above and beyond...and this capability is exponentially multiplied by having....
3. Visionary band directors...and lots of them. Everyone wants to work in Leander because of how well supported their programs are, which means they're able to hire the best teachers. And if everyone has the best teachers, someone ends up becoming the best band.
4. When the best band comes from a large district and every band has the desire to beat the best band, the best band inspires all the other bands to become even better. As a result, everyone becomes insanely good.
I totally agree, I just feel as if one more thing needs to be added. Passion. If many members do not care, they drag the others down. Many people at my school are only in it for the social aspect, and around 80% or so of guard is Freshmen and about 80% of them quit after their first year because they use it as a stepping stone to drill team or cheer. My directors made a forum and asked what needs to be improved and I put down that we need to have a stronger middle school program when it comes to marching. I hear that some school teach their kids how to march which makes it easier for all when they get to high school to allow a more complex show. Ours does not, I felt I learned more in Freshman years than 6-8th grade combined.