Who Are We?
The Bay Ratz Marching Battery is a group of kids of all ages and skill levels who like to bang on stuff. We've got some adults who want to motivate these kids and maybe make some noise, too!
The Bay Ratz Marching Battery aims to teach youth on the Mississippi Gulf Coast musical skills and composition, team building and self-confidence through drum instruction.
The goal of this nonprofit is to sustain and grow membership of the Bay Ratz Marching Battery by providing quality musical education at little or no cost to participants and their families. We implement both one-on-one instruction as well as supervised team instruction to best prepare for regular appearances at community functions. In furthering this goal, the Bay Ratz Marching Battery aims to provide funding for equipment, teaching materials, artist fees, copyright fees, supplies, transportation and entrance fees to any events.
The phrase “there’s nothing for kids to do in this town” is often said in many places, including the Mississippi Gulf Coast, ground zero for Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 landfall. Katrina took our homes, schools, and even some lives, and it also took our kids musical instruments and many of our music educators. Although we’ve recovered in many areas, the arts have dropped on the priority list, and that’s a shame.
Longtime Bay St. Louis resident Brian Wilemon, a father of two boys, decided to do something about the absence of arts programs in the community, especially programs structured for children. So he did what he knew how to do -- he started as drumline.
Growing up in North Mississippi, Brian was an “at risk youth,” as he was always at risk of making a bad decision. He grew up in a poor, single-parent household. Although his mother worked hard, Brian found himself working summer and after school jobs from age 14 through completing high school. He was able to express himself through his high school’s drumline, a drumline led by outstanding instructors, who insisted on discipline, character and pride. By his own accounts, that drumline saved him from himself and the pitfalls that often trap children at risk. He never forgot the lessons he learned while being a part of the drumline.
Brian wanted to provide this same opportunity to the children of Bay Saint Louis and the Mississippi Gulf Coast - to be part of something bigger than themselves. An opportunity to learn discipline, cooperation, responsibility and most of all, music.
Want a Bigger Brain?
Join the Bay Ratz Marching Battery! The impact of learning and playing an instrument has huge long term benefits for young people’s intellectual growth and development. Research shows that children who play a musical instrument improve their cognitive abilities in many ways. They increase their memory, listening, reading and comprehension skills, as well as mathematical ability. According to Susan Hallam’s 2016 study* playing an instrument “sharpens the brain’s early encoding of linguistic sound.” According to Hallam, “Learning an instrument has an impact on intellectual development, particularly spatial reasoning.”
Hallam’s review of 15 scholarly studies indicated that children who learn an instrument versus those who do not have a “reliably larger increases in IQ,” which translates to “84 points on standardized school tests.”
*HALLAM, Susan. The Impact of Actively Making Music on The Intellectual, Social and Personal Development of Children and Young People: A Summary.
Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, [S.l.], v. 16, n. 2, jun. 2016. ISSN 1504-1611. Nadine Gaab, PhD, from the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children's Hospital said in a press release,
"While many schools are cutting music programs and spending more and more time on test preparation, our findings suggest that musical training may actually help to set up children for a better academic future."
Bergland, Christopher, Posted on june 25, 2014 On Psychology Today.
Want to be Cool and Confident?
Join a band! Or better yet, our band! The benefits of playing a musical instrument is also apparent on a social level. Young people learn to listen, cooperate and play as part of a team.. Furthermore, a study* conducted on the relationship between a child’s musical background and their feelings of social inclusion found that “children felt more socially included when they played a musical instrument” with family or friends.
*Rinta, T., Purves, R. Welch, G., Stadler Elmer, S., & Bissig, R. (2011). Connections between children’s feelings of social inclusion and their musical backgrounds. Journal of Social Inclusion 2(2), 35–57.
On a personal level, they learn to take responsibility, develop organizational and time management skills. Playing music in general boosts self discipline and self confidence.
In a paper by Jane Huey,* she said, “Good performers usually have high self-esteem. Music indirectly builds self-confidence that strengthens personal development and enables a person to move on to new achievements.”
*“Bringing Music into the Classroom for better PersonalDevelopment."
Want to Stay Forever Young?
Join the Bay Ratz Marching Battery! Playing an instrument while young has far reaching implications to the brain plasticity of aging adults*. An article published on October 2010, in the journal Neuroscientist, claims that “Engaging in musical activities not only shapes the organization of the developing brain but also produces long-lasting changes even after brain maturation is complete.”
*Wan CY, Schlaug G. Music Making as a Tool for Promoting Brain Plasticity across the Life Span. The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry. 2010;16(5):566-577. doi:10.1177/1073858410377805.