Letter to the editor: Retain the Edmonds School District’s strong music program

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to members of the Edmonds School Board. It is being republished here at the author’s request.

Dear Board Members: 

I am writing to support retention of a full program of music education in the Edmonds School District. As a 31-year music educator in the district (mostly as band director at Woodway and Edmonds-Woodway High Schools), I witnessed and participated in one of the finest all-around music programs in the state. Not only were there many fine musicians and music educators who were products of the system, but the strong music programs clearly were the reason many students stayed in school. Music can be the only place where many students find joy in learning and acceptance from fellow students. It kept them learning; it still does.

Following my career in Edmonds, I served for 20 years as executive director of the Washington Music Educators Association, the professional organization of school music teachers pre-K through university. Time and time again I witnessed the importance of music education and its positive impact on students and communities. I also observed that the Edmonds School District was consistently among the best.

I urge you to allow the music educators in Edmonds to continue offering the music classes they have in the past–they have obviously been successful in helping the district turn out some of the best-educated students anywhere.

Music education can be fragile. The damage caused by cutting programs can take years to recover, as we discovered after the levy failures in the 1970s. Do not let history repeat itself. Retain the Edmonds School District’s strong music program.

Bruce Caldwell, music educator
Edmonds School District, 1964-1995
Washington Music Educators Association, 1995-2015

  1. I am a retired K-8 teacher and small school Supt./Prin. from California. I can absolutely agree with the letter posted by Mr. Caldwell. Music is something that can enrich every life throughout all our years. I have seen children who have trouble in school just light up and tune in to any kind of music experience. That focus can transfer to other learning throughout a school day. Even though most of us do not make a living through music, we can still use it to lighten our lives throughout our years. Please do not make cuts to this important program!!!

  2. I agree with Bruce. Save music and save athletics. I played for Larry Richards and Bob Anderson many moons ago at EHS and my son played for Bruce at Woodway.. Excellent experiences. The big question is how did Edmonds District 15 get into this deficit situation? My opionion is they got a pile of Fed. Covid relief money and gave into big raise demands and now that the federal spigot has dried up they can’t afford the raises. Since no one wants to give up their raises then staff cuts seem inevitable. Start with administrators.

  3. On a recent trip to a Vancouver, British Columbia, I saw a T-Shirt that read: “Another day I’m not using calculus.” Conversely, I can honestly say that there has never been a day when either myself or my kids have not “used” and enjoyed music! (and for the record, I’ve taken plenty of calculus courses). Let’s make sure our fantastic music programs in Edmonds schools are fully supported!

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