Return to Headlines

The Office of Innovative Strategy Pilots First Elementary Beginner Band Afterschool Music Program in JPS and State of MS

     Music education is more than just playing an instrument. It is immersing scholars into a culture of successful productive performers who care about education. Music education challenges each child to use the creative side of their brain while, at the same time, learning a foreign universal language: music. All of the current data clearly states that scholars involved in music education academically outperform their non-musical counterparts.


       In JPS, scholars have the opportunity to become a part of an amazing community of musicians, play countless instruments, and grow as an individual and learner in the process of living in a multicultural society.  Under the leadership of Dr. Samecia Stokes, JPS Executive Director of Innovative Strategy, and with the help of Mr. Christopher Little, Music Supervisor/ Jim Hill High School Band Director and Dr. Renaldo Murray, Owner of JXN Metro Music and Associate Dean of Alcorn State University, Ms. Regan Jackson serves as Performing Arts Sponsor and Afterschool Coordinator of the first afterschool band program offered in JPS and in the state of Mississippi.  With this historical programming opportunity, Wilkins Elementary afterschool scholars acquire musical skills through playing the recorder. Ecstatic about the program at Wilkins, Dr. Stokes stated, "This is quite a dream come true for many of our scholars and their families. To witness this accomplishment come to fruition with the creative genius of our young, skilled, and amazing scholars further accentuates the possibilities that abound with expanded learning opportunities offered during the JPS afterschool program. I am pleased to see our students thrive, and the best is yet to come."


      Since the afterschool band program began September 2023, Ms. Jackson has worked tirelessly to prepare her band scholars for their first performance at Lights on Afterschool at Wilkins Elementary, which was held on October 26, 2023.  Stepping out on faith, Ms. Jackson was able to share her love for music scholars and prepare them for future endeavors. Scholars are currently working on music for Lights on Afterschool Winter Wonderland and Christmas Caroling at the Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers Airport in December.


     Check out the video footage below of the three songs that the scholars played and photographs from rehearsal and Lights on Afterschool at Wilkins Elementary School. "Skeleton Dance" displayed scholars taking turns leading the ensemble and audience. Scholars demonstrated their ability to keep a steady beat. "A for Africa" demonstrated how well scholars are able to follow directions."12 Bar Blues" showcased how scholars at Wilkins are able to play any type of music that is presented to them. 


Skeleton Dance

12 Bar Blues

Recorder Time


      The goal for an Elementary Beginner Band is to assist the middle and high school band directors with building a solid foundation for band programs and producing quality musicians who are able to represent the school district as needed. Scholars attend weekly pull-out classes in small groups and weekly band rehearsals after school. Instruments offered include but are not limited to: recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, baritone and percussion. Scholars begin their musical journey with recorders and will transition from the recorder to a wind or percussion instrument after learning the fundamentals. In the small group setting, scholars focus on numerous concepts, techniques, and skills. They learn to play their instrument with proper breath support, embouchure development, tone quality, aural skills, intonation, instrument technique, music reading, listening skills, ensemble playing and teamwork. Within this curriculum, scholars can expect to perform a varied repertoire of music. Scholars also learn appropriate rehearsal and concert etiquette.


For more information about elementary band programming, please contact Mr. Christopher Little at For more information about other school highlights and events at Lights on Afterschool, visit