Seagoville High School’s Modern Band Program Soars with Hometown to Hometown Grant

Seagoville High School’s Modern Band Program Soars with Hometown to Hometown Grant

In Rodney Dittmar’s bustling Modern Band classroom at Seagoville High School, students are immersed in a creative journey, exploring and refining their musical talents across various disciplines. This exceptional program, the brainchild of Dittmar, who serves as the Fine Arts Department chair, recently received a significant boost. Seagoville High is now the sole beneficiary in its district and one of just three nationwide to be awarded the prestigious Hometown to Hometown grant, courtesy of the Save the Music Foundation.

This grant, valued at $45,000, not only infused the program with a range of new instruments but also facilitated comprehensive training opportunities. Prior to this grant, the music production workstation numbered one; today, thanks to the grant, there are 16 workstations. The catalyst for this transformative opportunity came from Matt Edwards, the district’s director of choral, elementary, and general music.

The Save the Music Foundation, committed to enhancing equity and access to music education, partners with schools demonstrating an immediate need for support. Notably, the program has a national advocate in the form of four-time Grammy-nominated artist Mickey Guyton, an Arlington native. Guyton, a trailblazer in country music, not only supports the cause but also gifted the class an autographed guitar.

Seagoville High School’s Modern Band classes, currently attended by approximately 180 students, cover a spectrum of musical elements, from instruments typical of rock bands to technology-driven components. Dittmar, a district ambassador for Music Will, formerly known as Little Kids Rock, has been pivotal in fostering the growth of the Modern Band program for over 24 years.

Dittmar expressed his astonishment at the program’s evolution, noting that the ability for 16 students to collaborate on recording projects was beyond his initial dreams. The grant not only provided new software and technology but also equipped students with iPads, headphones, and controllers for daily use.

Beyond instrumental proficiency, students delve into songwriting, producing, mixing, and music production. As part of the grant, Dittmar’s students are set to receive 90 hours of master class training from Mike Bogle, a Grammy-award-winning artist and professor of commercial music at Cedar Valley College.

Dittmar’s Modern Band program, which originated in 2000 as a guitar class at Seagoville Middle School, has grown to encompass diverse musical genres. The student-centered approach encourages exploration beyond conventional rock band themes. Notably, Dittmar acknowledges his students for introducing him to norteño music, highlighting the program’s openness to diverse musical influences.

The collaboration with Cedar Valley College is expected to broaden students’ options for further music education. Dittmar aspires to instill in his students the knowledge that pursuing music can lead to real degrees and successful careers in the industry.

Dittmar, who witnessed former students record albums and current ones engage in working bands, emphasizes the joy of music as a fundamental takeaway. His hope is that students not only enjoy the creative process but also take pride in their work, whether it’s featured on Spotify or another platform.

Through the Hometown to Hometown grant and ongoing collaborations, Seagoville High School’s Modern Band program is not only shaping the musicians of tomorrow but also providing them with tangible pathways to success in the music industry.