Let’s get the band back together: Student bands at Hayes


Used with permission from Marsella Smith

Dylan Craft, Henry English and Ryan Phillips play at the 2022 Hayes High School Talent Show. Their band is named “The Idle Mind.”

Grace Metz, Editor-In-Chief

Music is the beating heart of student culture at Hayes.
Rock, pop, grunge and rap fill cars and crowded hallways. Organizations like marching band and symphony orchestra are decorated with awards and praise.
However, student bands and independent musicians have sprung up and taken to the stage since the end of Covid-19 lockdowns nationwide. One such band, The Idle Mind, made their appearance at the 2022 Hayes talent show in October, covering the song “Indiscipline” by King Crimson.
Idle Mind drummer Dylan Craft said that being a part of a band with his peers is better than making music solo.
“[I see] all of these bands that I look up to and how much fun they have with each other,” Craft said. “It’s so much fun when you do it with other people. It’s a lot more enjoyable because you get to share that experience with others that love playing music.”
Craft’s talents came from a lifetime of practice.
“My family history, or at least [my dad’s] side, are musicians,” Craft said. “He plays guitar and sings. At two years old, for my birthday he got me this little drum set…the crappy kid’s stuff, but I didn’t really start taking it seriously until about fifth grade or so.”
The music program at Hayes is also a large factor in the upbringing of independent student musicians.
Groups like choir and jazz band can help foster the abilities of those wanting to pursue music. Those in the “combo” jazz group improvise during their performance while playing with other musicians, while choir students can volunteer to sing at nursing homes during the holidays.
Joel Domino is a choir student who has released songs of his own.
“[Choir director] Dr. Gillis has helped me become a much better singer and better when it comes to music theory and things like that,” Domino said. “You learn about all these things that can help you become a better musician.”
Joining student-led bands can also function similarly to a class: exposing students to music differing from what they would learn in a typical classroom, and allowing them to delve deep into the technicalities of certain genres.
“I guess maybe in some ways, it’s similar to taking an AP level class—a smaller class where you’re around people who are more passionate about that subject,” Hayes orchestra director Keegan Lammers said. “It’s a good place to be around peers and do something that you really enjoy.”
Starting a music group independent from school can be a daunting task. However, there are ways for the schools themselves to support their young musicians.
“The fact that we have such a healthy band, choir and orchestra program [is] honestly a very rare thing,” Lammers said. “It would be fun to see [more of that] in the future. Like more course offerings, and that’s not specific to Delaware, really just at all schools.”
Even after a band has started, it may be challenging to stick with it. Perseverance and passion is important for those who wish to play on through their high school career.
Still, the most important step is the first.
“Don’t be afraid to express yourself. If you want to pick up a musical instrument, try it. Music is a really powerful thing,” Craft said. “It definitely helped me as a kid, especially in low points. It can just be really powerful … Everybody should [try it].”