Should Advanced Music Courses Be Sinking Student GPA’s?

By Katherine Sweat

Many students strive to earn the prestigious title of Valedictorian and Salutatorian throughout their four years of high school. Students obtain these titles through partaking in several AP and honors classes while maintaining exceptional grades in hopes of ending up with the highest GPA. Because Honors classes receive an extra point difference for each letter grade, academically driven students may avoid taking band and chorus classes in fear of it holding down their final transcript. This poses the question, should more advanced chorus and band classes be counted as honors courses? Powell High School offers an opportunity for all students to audition for elite music groups such as Singers and to join advanced band classes like Jazz band, symphonic band, and marching band. These classes require commitment (inside and outside of school), diligence, efficiency, and skill from its students just as any other honors courses. According to Emily Carter, a 2019 Powell High School Graduate, “I worked as hard, if not harder. Especially in Singers and marching band… During football season, we would have at least four hours in practices just after school. And then we had entire Friday nights dedicated to games and Saturdays dedicated to competitions... For Singers, we would have practices every morning before school even started. We practiced after school. But then we would also have concerts and sightreading and singing tests...” Emily, a top ten, honor and AP roll student explains that the music courses she took at Powell High School were just as big a commitment when compared to any of her academic classes; however, because these classes are non-honors courses, they did bring down her GPA. Emily revealed that many of her academically driven friends avoided chorus and band classes because of this very reason. It is possible that if advanced music classes were considered honors courses, more students would be able to join without the fear of it holding down their GPA. Who knows what kind of talent Powell High School’s music department would gain.