I would like to open a discussion about how to make music programs in schools great. What are the key factors in improving a schools music program? Looking back to your own elementary/middle/high school music path, what did you take from your experience?
My daughter has been playing violin for 2 years now. Since there is no string program at the school I sought out a private teacher. Also, I located a private youth orchestra program 30min away that has a young string program as well as a youth symphony paid through membership fees.
This year my daughter is in 4th grade and was able to pick an instrument to play in the band. I encouraged her to pick something because she has so much fun playing violin in the other orchestra. Even though she tried a few team sports, she didn't really like them, so I thought band was the perfect place to be a "team" and show school spirit. So she picked clarinet.
Over the year she has made some interesting comments about practice schedules (the lack of) and how few kids actually show up for rehersals etc... The school concert was last Wednesday. I was so dissapointed at how the concert was managed. My husband, who grew up in the area, was shocked at the state of the schools band. He said when he was a student at the school there were at least 60 members and the band went to compititions. Retention is the biggest factor being that there were about 20 4th graders and only 12 in the high school band.
My daughters youth string ensemble comprised of elementary school students play better then the senior band in my school district. I even dug out of my attic a recording of my own 4th grade concert and it too, was better then the high school band.
I'm really passionate about this topic and feel that some fault is to blame on the teacher, but I think there is some other issues going on. I have made an appointment to speak with the school superindendant to voice my concerns later this week. I want to go armed with facts and ideas that can be implemented. I'm so pissed, that I have to do something - just, I'm not sure where to start exactly.
Thanks for listening.
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