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Numbers cut in HALF?


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#1 Guest_sdeuel_*

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 12:23 PM

In my area, I have seen way too many thriving programs cut in HALF because of scheduling problems. It's a very sad state of affairs. A lot of the problem is in the beginning band numbers where there are usually 100 beginners, there are going to be 50 next year. Anyone else have that problem? Any solutions????

#2 Meldog

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 12:01 AM

I'm possibly going to be going into a rough situation similar to this just at the high school level, hopefully I will be..lol. I'm not sure if this is what you mean but I find there tends to be a decent dropout when the kids move on to the next teacher. Many times in the schools I am near the kids are with their first teacher for 3-4 and then they move to the Jr/Sr band where they have a new director. Many times kids will leave because they feel so attached to their current teacher that they don't want to switch so instead they drop out. The school where I student taught a few years ago the high school director would make sure he had a break around the middle school band level and would even pop into the elementary band rehearsal every now and then. Their drop out rate through the years was extremely low. He knew the kids right from the beginning so when they were getting ready for the jump to the new school and the Jr/Sr band they already knew the director really well. I think having the students know all the directors right from the beginning makes a huge difference.

If it's a matter of kids just dropping out the second year of band it could be many different factors. Does the school at the elementary level value music. If they don't it is going to be near impossible to keep the numbers. If that is the problem and you have a strong upper level band bring them down to perform for the beginner students often. Have some upper level students come down and mentor some of the younger kids. Usually the kids lose their excitement for music due to many different reasons. In this case it's not usually the program but the support from the school. It could easily be the band director though. Maybe they need to relook at how they teach and/or run things. Just some of my thoughts at least :)
Adam W. Metzler
Central Aroostook High School & Fort Street Elementary School Instrumental Music Teacher

#3 Guest_sdeuel_*

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 07:16 PM

Those are all good ideas and statements. Unfortunately, in the cases I'm referring to, it has nothing to do with the teachers. It has everything to do with the increased academic requirements at the middle school (Beginning band age) level. It's not even a district policy that's making these band numbers drop. Individual pricipals at several schools who think they have the answer to "raise the all-important test scores" are creating such high demands on the students that they can usually only take one elective. If their schedule doesn't allow for band, they simply can't take band. There are a lot of dissapointed kids out there who really want to take band, especially in the schools with a really good, cool director. Instead, they take an extra math, english, or "academic" class. It really makes me sad to see this happen to our society. WHAT CAN WE DO?

#4 Meldog

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 08:58 PM

Oh that does stink!! About the only other thing I could think of would be get the students and parents involved. If you really have some supportive parents and dedicated students have them write letters and/or go talk to the higher ups in person. If they see enough support and people come in it might cause them to take a look at some thigns again.
Adam W. Metzler
Central Aroostook High School & Fort Street Elementary School Instrumental Music Teacher

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 11:21 AM

View PostMeldog, on May 12 2006, 08:58 PM, said:

Oh that does stink!! About the only other thing I could think of would be get the students and parents involved. If you really have some supportive parents and dedicated students have them write letters and/or go talk to the higher ups in person. If they see enough support and people come in it might cause them to take a look at some thigns again.



I have faced a similar situation at the high school level. In this small, private high school the band numbers have been increasing over the last three years (when i was hired we had 15, i had 29 my first year, and am up to 49 in this, my third year). As more students become interested in band, more students are being turned away. The hardest part for me to handle is this: it is all do to the upper level programs. As we all know, band students tend to be some of the brightest and hardest working students in the school. My upper level stduents are taking so many AP courses (which in the small school can only be offered with one section per year) during their junior and junior year that they are being forced out of band. Luckily the principal supports music so when i got my roster this past summer missing 13 students (including 5 section leaders and my drum major) I took it to her and she personally re-configured the school's master schedule. Unfortunately, the guidance office does not work with me quite as well so I'm sure the problem will occur again next year.

My advice is push it to the highest administrator in the building who supports the arts. This person will be able to help you push things through to keep your program alive. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do and in today's world it is the music programs that keep getting left behind.

#6 Blue Thunder Dir.

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 07:55 PM

I understand completely about scheduling problems and holding our band students. This year has been a task for me since we have had many changes in our school and district. Reformation or change is the big task! First, the 5th grade has been moved into the middle school, with now Upper (7/8) and Lower (5/6) Houses or small learning communities. The schedule has been changed into the 4 X 4 block alternating A/B schedule. Even though we have a block schedule, we still have the special areas, including instrumental music (pull-outs) on a 9 period schedule. The instrumental schedule is on a 7-week rotation so as not to pull out the student from the same class every week. And... let see--- oh yes, we grew from a middle school of 360 students to an enrollment over 900. The instrumental music teachers in the middle school teach both band and string instruments and ensembles during the school day schedule, however Jazz Band, Marching Band, etc. are after school. I started the bands groups after school because there was an interest. I have not been compensated for the time I put in because I know if I asked they would just say stop doing them. I'm there for the kids --- so I have done this for the last 3 years. At the present time, I have 227 students signed up for band (170), color guard (40), and strings (57).

Some have not come to their lessons or rehearsals because of confusion between block and period times. I have the schedules posted and asked the teachers to have them posted in their classrooms too. Some teachers hold the students back to finish work, allowing them to come for the last 10 minutes of the lesson. Some do not allow them to come to their lessons at all. I tried to work with the principals during the summer to get the lessons and rehearsals as an assigned class, not a pull-out, but that did not work. Even though we are considered co-curricular, some teachers feel we are an extra-curricular activity.

We used to have 7 instrumental music teachers for the elementary and middle school levels. Each of us had 3 schools and moved throughout the week. With the reformation, 2 teachers retired, 1 left, 3 were assigned to a home middle school, and 1 travels through the week, teaching band and strings to the 4th grade in 6 elementary schools, using a 6-day rotation.

Unfortunately I see and feel the problems that have been mentioned above. Music students are usually the students with high grades and do very well on the standardized tests. If only our administrators would listen to the facts that have been staring them in the face all these years. They need to support our programs with more then words--- support then with positive actions.

Sorry for being so long but this is a particular subject that hurts at this particular moment :wub:

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 01:32 PM

View Postsdeuel, on May 10 2006, 12:23 PM, said:

In my area, I have seen way too many thriving programs cut in HALF because of scheduling problems. It's a very sad state of affairs. A lot of the problem is in the beginning band numbers where there are usually 100 beginners, there are going to be 50 next year. Anyone else have that problem? Any solutions????

YES. Unfortunately. I teach at a small school district (6-12 band). This is my first year here, and my HS band is 33, my 7th/8th band is 33, and this year, I recruited 28 beginning 6th graders! That's huge! However, beginning band is scheduled as a PULL-OUT class (they get yanked out of whatever class the have 7th hour, every other day). So many kids fell behind school, that they had to quite band. Now, I am at 13 beginners, and on any given day 3-4 stay back in class for tests/quizes/homework help. I don't know what to do.....I've addressed my principal and superattendant. They say we will work it out, but no one is stepping up with any ideas. HELP?!?

#8 willaalgone

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#12 hmsbandmaster

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 12:11 PM

In our district, we have about 260 kids per class and we get usually 70 or so kids. They start in grade 6 but have to sign up in 5th grade before we can really get to know them and meet enough of them to identify the ones that should have chosen band that got away. We have good groups but for this size district, we should have more kids in our bands. I had taught in smaill districts for 25 years before coming here and % of kids starting and continiung was much higher then.

We are looking at options and trying to work with our guidance dept. Ideas welcome!
Michael Saul
Band Director
Hannibal Middle School
Hannibal, MO 63401