Series: High School Bands
Prior to 1900, most schools in Iowa offered no instrumental ensemble instruction. Bandsmen learned to play by joining a band where they would receive informal instruction from the director and other members of the band. A few towns supported separate youth bands or "kid" bands in which novice musicians could learn to play.
After 1900, one increasingly sees Iowa's schools supporting instrumental ensembles, although the ensemble directors were often contract musicians, rather than members of the full-time faculty. In the 1920s, town bands (especially in small towns) entered a period of decline while high school bands flourished. Eventually, the school bands took the place of the town bands in parades and other patriotic ceremonies.