Friday, March 20, 2009
posted by Q6 at 10:16 AM
This week provided my first opportunity to hear a music concert by students at my school. It was . . . well, it wasn't what I expected. It wasn't bad, really, given what our music teacher has to work with, but it wasn't what I was used to.

At my prior school works a man of music who teaches his students along classical lines, but has the benefit of teaching students who either take the class seriously, have additional lessons on the side, or who have been playing the instrument(s) for a number of years. His concerts are just under two hours long and include instrumental, jazz, and vocal--up to ten numbers in each section, at times. I always made a point of going to his concerts, partly because I enjoyed the students and the program, partly because I prefer the arts over athletics.

At my current school, students have only the classroom time to learn; practice time at home is probably distrcted and not all it should be; and the students have no outside, formal training. The concert the other night included the beginning band, the choir, the jazz band, and the concert orchestra. There were fewer selections (the entire evening ran about 45 minutes), the acoustics in the gym were less than adequate, and the audience was . . . (perhaps "rude" is the wrong word) unaccustomed to attending music concerts--there was talking, there was moving about, there were distractions. At one point, I felt bad for the teacher (who was very upbeat throughout the whole thing, actually), and then I felt a little bad for the students who had worked so hard but clearly didn't get the audience they deserved, and then I felt glad that our school, where the students don't have much and still work hard to satisfy, had a concert at all.

And I missed my previous school's Maestro.


At 1:39 PM, Blogger Jude

I volunteered with a 5th grade band teacher for a year; it was the best volunteer experience of my life. She had too many students, no aide (and any aide would have had to know music to be truly helpful), endless enthusiasm, and no practice rooms.

I'd try to get community members involved--specifically recruit through the Kiwanis, Rotary, and other groups for musicians to help. Schools need to do more of that sort of thing anyway, because you need to get community members INTO the schools so they can see what the needs are, how many is spent, and how they can help.


At 9:31 PM, Blogger Maestro

It's hard to build a music community at a middle school. The kids (and their families) are only there for two years. Plus add in the fact that a lot of the parents haven't really been exposed to school music programs. You find yourself having to educate the parents as well as the kids... and that doesn't always go over well.

I'm lucky to work in a place where I have a lot of time to foster that kind of community.

I'm sure the other Maestro misses you too. Which do you think is harder to come by... good teachers or good administrators?


At 5:19 AM, Anonymous bob

Well the teachers and student should be happy too even they did not get audience satisfaction for they still have ample time to conduct concert and enjoy they activities.