The Ashland Public School band program is a cumulative course beginning in 5th grade and continuing through 12th grade. During these 8 years of study, students will progress through several stages, constantly applying and adding to previously learned material. In the beginning, students will focus more on the physical technique and coordination of playing their musical instrument. During the middle years there is increased emphasis on becoming fluent in the universal language of music notation. (Mathematics is the “grammar” of music, which may explain why so many studies show increased math and language test scores for music students.) As students’ technique and reading skills develop, a larger focus is placed on the artistic and expressive elements of music making, and students discover the spiritually rewarding aspects of performing and listening to music. Along the way, additional skills such as teamwork, leadership, critical listening, and public performance are developed as well. With almost 400 students enrolled and more joining each year, the Ashland band program continues longstanding traditions of public school instrumental music education while using 21st century technology and methodology to bring the band experience to increasingly higher levels of excellence and achievement.