Beggs has formed two marching bands - beginners and advanced - and a school choir. The marching band and color guard took part in the recent Discovery Bay Parade, and gave a Winter Concert earlier this week.
An instrumentalist whose specialty is the trombone, Beggs is eager to impress on his students the importance of music and camaraderie. "Music helps the kids learn new skills, self expression, performing in public, and teamwork," said Beggs. "These are skills not taught in regular math and science classes. Also, research has shown that music students tend to do better in tests."
Recent research has found a link between active music making - as opposed to passive listening - and increased brainpower. Skills learned through the discipline of music translate into improved study habits, communication skills and cognitive skills useful in every area of the curriculum.
Members of the Excelsior choir share their teacher's enthusiasm. "We're all welcome here," said eighth grader Jordan Cross. "Mr. Beggs is really nice to us."
"We didn't know how to sing," said Aaron Fouts, also in the eighth grade. "Mr. Beggs teaches us how to sing even if we mess up a bit."
According to eighth grader Danielle Lorusso, "The choir class helped build up my confidence and courage in daily life. We have to work in a group instead of being selfish. Mr. Beggs encourages you to listen and hear people around you."
The class agreed that without a music program, school would be boring and uninspired. "If I had a bad day," said seventh grader Jennifer Wilson, "I know choir class will turn it around for me."