Cost of Being in High School Band Adding Up

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Jacob Swedlow is a sophomore at Rio Americano High School. His passion for band is obvious.

“I [want to] do something musical in the future, whether it be a touring musician or a music teacher or musical therapist,” Swedlow said.

But this is where the music stops and the number crunching begins.

“We pay for the music lessons,” his mom, Joanne, said.

That’s about $3,400 per year.

“We pay for the instruments,” Joanne said.

Those cost between $600 and $2,000.

“We pay for travel, so Jacob will go to jazz festivals and music competitions.”

That costs between $1,000 and $4,200. Add it all up, and the total can exceed $8,000 every year.

“You could participate for free, you don’t have to have private lessons as long as you practiced and you did what you needed to do, but if you want to progress, you kind of need to have private music lessons,” Joanne said.

So why pay that much?

“Our older son is at college on a music scholarship so it paid off for him.”

And she says it’s much more than a scholarship.

“There’s so many well-educated kids out there trying to apply to college, trying to get a job. If you have something that sets you apart, I think it really helps you go far,” Joanne said.

All of the families we spoke to said it doesn’t come down to the money; it comes down to the passion.

“Band was it for him. It offered everything that he wanted.”

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