(WYTV) — With the first day of school coming up, students are getting ready for class and extracurricular activities. Some band students are already rehearsing for football halftime shows.

“I have seen the pattern of goodness that this kind of thing brings,” said Tom Ruggieri.

Ruggieri has directed high school band for over 30 years and said band goes way beyond the music.

“It gives them frequent, positive feedback about activities that include exercise, brain activities, musical activities, creativity,” said Ruggieri.

Ruggieri also said band is a good way to prepare kids for high school.

“When these kids start school at the end of Aug., they’re going to know 120 other kids that are their friends, and they can walk down the hall and say hi to seniors and the seniors, they’ll say hi back,” said Ruggieri.

Tim Tuite works with younger kids in the Boardman band program and said kids can pick up an instrument long before high school.

“The majority of our kids start in fifth grade, and that’s when most school districts do. That’s when they’re developed enough that they can start to hold them, manipulate an instrument, and start to learn the basics of reading music,” said Tuite.

Tuite said learning music takes time but it’s worth it.

“So at the beginning, it’s just about the coolness of picking up the instrument and just getting to play a simple song on it. When they get to play a concert, the first time we open up the curtain and they play and get applause, then they’re kind of hooked on that feeling because that’s an awesome experience,” said Tuite.

Both directors said band builds a strong community amongst the students.

“The words that our kids use to describe the band often is family because they do spend so much time together. After elementary school, the kids kind of break up. They’re not in classes with the same kids every day, but if you’re in band, you’re going to see the same people every day for eight years and as teachers, we really like that, too,” said Tuite.

“We keep them busy every Friday night for ten weeks at least. So their circle of friends is established. It’s kids you know. It’s parents you know,” said Ruggieri.