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  #41  
Old 02-27-2010, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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I have a student who is in band class now that they have changed the rules. If the rules stayed the same, he would not be able to do band at all because he is in the robotics team which meets outside of school and conflicts with marching band.

Jeff
This is it in a nut shell. Is a policy that discourages kids from continuing in music at the High School level a good one? Seems to me the only answer to that is 'no.'

There may also be an attitude that questions a students level of seriousness if the student is not willing to commit to this extra-curricular activity. In other words, at the High School level, if the student is not taking private instruction and taking the bands programs to a higher level of excellence with a total commitment, then the student should not continue. You could equate it to varsity football or athletics in general. High School is the point where the gifted and serious are separated from those who are not. But because some one is not on varsity football, that student is not dis-allowed to take a gym class. Why are athletic prioritized over the arts? It's an old question, and as Matt pointed out, it is financial. It seems like the priorities may be a little questionable. My priority is that students be encouraged to continue at some level, and I am sure that you agree.
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

My Wife's sister lives in Ireland. She was visiting us with her two children who are in middle school grades. It was near the Holidays and they attended the High School concert with us.
I asked her kids if they played in their school band. They replied that there is no music program in their school. I was surprised to learn this!
If they want to study music, they have to do it privately.
After learning this I was thankful for the system that we have. My kids started playing in school band in the fifth grade. We lived in a low income town then and still we had a good music program.
Americas school music programs may not be perfect, but we have one!
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  #43  
Old 02-27-2010, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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Most schools in the States are struggling with other issues that puts music and sports programs on a back burner.
Music more than sports is on the back burner. Just think of what kind of funding school music programs would have if there were no marching band acting as eye candy for the football teams. It is sad to say, but sports tend to take priority over the arts.

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  #44  
Old 02-27-2010, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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Music more than sports is on the back burner. Just think of what kind of funding school music programs would have if there were no marching band acting as eye candy for the football teams. It is sad to say, but sports tend to take priority over the arts.

Jeff
Its all part of a show that gets the budget voted in each year with an increase.
I really resent the fact that cutting sports and arts programs is used as the primary tool to get the taxpayers to vote a budget in.
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  #45  
Old 02-27-2010, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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Music more than sports is on the back burner. Just think of what kind of funding school music programs would have if there were no marching band acting as eye candy for the football teams. It is sad to say, but sports tend to take priority over the arts.

Jeff
I would wonder if part of this has to do with the perceived lack of connection that exists between the "academic" study of music and the world of the professional musician. And this situation where music is on the back burner to the athletics department seems to speak to that fact. Music has a largely functional role. It's function is to support the football team through half-time shows and pep rallies.

I remember when I was in school I liked Aerosmith and my band director actually gave me a hard time about it. I also listened to Chicago and Tower of Power. Now Aerosmith has been around for forty years with a stream of top ten songs that are standard rock ballads. Today, you are going to have the kids who like Metallica, and there are charts for HS band to do Metallica. I wonder how often bands do these kind of things. When I was in school, we did mostly these two bit HS arrangements, along with standard jazz tunes that were enjoyable. But today the kids do Tower of Power or Earth, Wind and Fire and I've even seen Kansas They're thirty to forty years behind the times.
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  #46  
Old 02-27-2010, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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I remember when I was in school I liked Aerosmith and my band director actually gave me a hard time about it. I also listened to Chicago and Tower of Power. Now Aerosmith has been around for forty years with a stream of top ten songs that are standard rock ballads. Today, you are going to have the kids who like Metallica, and there are charts for HS band to do Metallica. I wonder how often bands do these kind of things. When I was in school, we did mostly these two bit HS arrangements, along with standard jazz tunes that were enjoyable. But today the kids do Tower of Power or Earth, Wind and Fire and I've even seen Kansas They're thirty to forty years behind the times.
I guess that it depends on the band director. There are other things to consider and the director has to keep them in mind when he/she selects songs.

Will the songs that are selected play well with the parents at concerts, etc?

Will the members of the school board go with it?

Is there a musical educational reason for selecting the song based on how the music is written and arranged?

A band director has to step lightly sometimes.
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  #47  
Old 02-27-2010, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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Will the songs that are selected play well with the parents at concerts, etc?

Will the members of the school board go with it?

Is there a musical educational reason for selecting the song based on how the music is written and arranged?
As the husband of a music teacher I can tell you that music selections do not need to be approved by the school board. And she has taught in more than one state. School boards have way too many things to approve already.

Jeff
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  #48  
Old 02-27-2010, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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As the husband of a music teacher I can tell you that music selections do not need to be approved by the school board. And she has taught in more than one state. School boards have way too many things to approve already.

Jeff
As a parent who just raised two teens, I know that if you left it up to the kids to pick the songs, they would be a selection of Hip Hop and Death Metal. LOL!
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  #49  
Old 02-27-2010, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

But the point is Bob, and I know that at the heart of it you agree, there is nothing wrong with that. If you can do interesting arrangements that include metal and hip-hop ideas while introducing kids to Monk and Miles, and TOP that seems to be a win-win. Pannonica Hip-hop Wait, give me a minute. :)
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  #50  
Old 02-27-2010, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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As a parent who just raised two teens, I know that if you left it up to the kids to pick the songs, they would be a selection of Hip Hop and Death Metal. LOL!
Yes - of course the kids won't pick the music. But most of the time the band director usually has complete freedom with the choice of music - as long as it is appropriate (no foul language, some schools do not allow religious music). Usually the principal does not even know the songs until the night of the concert. In that respect, band directors usually have more freedom and don't have to "teach the test".

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  #51  
Old 02-27-2010, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

I wouldn't have a problem with it. If the kids will play it, It is a good thing.
I'm sure that someone would if the "Wrong" song was picked.
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  #52  
Old 02-27-2010, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

Lets get back to the original topic.
It appears that major changes would have to be made to most High School music programs to allow students to study just one type of music.
Perhaps a credited Jazz Players Club could be established to get around the current policy.
The Club would teach a credited Jazz course that would be independent of the School Band program. Parents would probably have to pay for the course.
Being that only a low percentage of music students wish to study jazz, it probably wouldn't be a problem with most school boards.
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  #53  
Old 02-27-2010, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

What you have happening now are these School of Rock type programs that are spurting up here and there, usually in wealthier neighborhoods. Some of them are more jazz friendly than others. But the idea is to have the kid take lesson once a week and get with an ensemble to work some tunes weekly as well. It's like taking dance or Tae Kwando or Tai Chi or tap. If you want to do it, you go to a private school.
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  #54  
Old 02-27-2010, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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What you have happening now are these School of Rock type programs that are spurting up here and there, usually in wealthier neighborhoods. Some of them are more jazz friendly than others. But the idea is to have the kid take lesson once a week and get with an ensemble to work some tunes weekly as well. It's like taking dance or Tae Kwando or Tai Chi or tap. If you want to do it, you go to a private school.
It could be a good extra income source for the teachers that teach there.
They could even use the Public School after hours like clubs do.
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  #55  
Old 02-27-2010, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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Not necessarily. It changed here.

Jeff
Jeff, Richmond and the Williamsburg/ Virginia Beach area are rare exceptions to the rule in your state. Virginia Beach for instance had a bunch of old band directors who were big concert band guys and they were mostly successful with deemphasizing marching band. But then of course you know that as soon as you get into that incredible Chesapeake area just 20 minutes south of there, then marching band is a juggernaut, with programs that compete nationally.

I'm originally from North Carolina and that's where all my family ties are located.
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  #56  
Old 02-27-2010, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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It could be a good extra income source for the teachers that teach there.
They could even use the Public School after hours like clubs do.
Not a bad idea. But you know what is going to happen. The parents are going to start asking, why are fensing and football funded; but I have to pay for my kid to do jazz band. :)
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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Not a bad idea. But you know what is going to happen. The parents are going to start asking, why are fensing and football funded; but I have to pay for my kid to do jazz band. :)
There are many after school clubs that are not funded.
There is also a charge for most sports to supplement the limited funding.
We paid for several sports that our kids played. The Ski team was one of them.
We held sales also to boost the sport.
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  #58  
Old 02-27-2010, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

If you had a mountain in your school's back yard, it would be less of an issue funding a ski team. But it seems like the cost of lift, time equipment, travel and insurance would be a little bit for most school's to consider. I get your point; but it is a bit unfair for some parents to get their kids activities paid for and others to have to pay. I've always felt the same about dance. I think there should be more of that type of education in the k-12. It would have been more beneficial for me to learn Tai Chi then to spend my mornings learning to square dance. Why square dancing and not jazz dancing.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:20 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

during my 13 years in colorado schools we had to pay for everything in school. you couldn't take music if you didn't have an instrument, couldn't play sports if you couldn't buy your gear and so forth. so the idea of me paying for all this stuff then to be forced to do something i may not even want to do is not a pleasant one

i didn't take music in school for this very reason, at 14 i had a full time job. i had to work to buy clothes, food, books, eventually music gear. i was poor and had to work for every little thing i had.

i got to get up at 6, go to school at 7, get off at 3, be at work at 4, hopefully find enough time while it was slow to do my homework get off work at 12, walk 45 min home and finish whatever homework i had left and start all over the next day. bare in mind i was 14 so i couldn't drive, my parents both worked so no rides. where would i have had the time to march in a band? and just because i wanted to learn music? and pay for it as well?

nothing should be required after school hours just to learn anything, then on top of it be charged for it as well. if i have to pay for an instrument for my child i don't want somebody telling ME what HE has to do with it and when. i certainly don't need somebody telling me that because he has an interest in an art form that i have to pay even more for uniforms and such because it's required buy the school to learn this art form, then tell him he has to give up his own time to do so.

what about the kids who have to do as i did? should they all give up food and living to march in a band? especially just since they found something at school that makes them happy?
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: High School music policies

Lets take another view of this.
Most of the musicians that were at the forefront of Jazz grew up during The Great Depression. Most of them were poor. Many of them were African Americans. They had to overcome extreme poverty and prejudice to play the music that they helped to invent.
Most of them didn't go to school!
They let their spirits guide them. They found a way.
Why not just drop all of these programs from our schools? Why should we have sports and arts programs in schools in the first place?
What if schools only taught the three R's?
When schools were first started that is what they did. All learning that didn't involve English, Science, and Math simply didn't exist!
If someone wanted to learn sports and arts they went elsewhere.
What was wrong with that?
Should public schools have sports and music programs? Why?
We could save a great deal of money by not having them. Students could concentrate on the basic needs of education.
There are plenty of outside private programs and schools for sports and the arts.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:46 AM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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If you had a mountain in your school's back yard, it would be less of an issue funding a ski team. But it seems like the cost of lift, time equipment, travel and insurance would be a little bit for most school's to consider. I get your point; but it is a bit unfair for some parents to get their kids activities paid for and others to have to pay. I've always felt the same about dance. I think there should be more of that type of education in the k-12. It would have been more beneficial for me to learn Tai Chi then to spend my mornings learning to square dance. Why square dancing and not jazz dancing.
Why do tax payers pay for a football stadium, Basketball Courts, Swimming Pool, and a Baseball Diamond to be built at the school? Thats like creating a mountain!
Why not build a Ski park at the school? Why do they build a theater and stage at the school?
What do these things have to do with education?
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  #62  
Old 02-28-2010, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

Let's take it a step further. Why have public education at all? Why guarantee that anyone have the benefit of a basic education? Education is the basis of democracy. The belief is that in order to have a society whose citizens can fully take part in civil life, they need to have an education. This has come to include music, theater, fine arts, physical education and other extra-curricula activities as the sign of an opulent nation. We guarantee that our citizens have a well-rounded, in depth education. Are these classes necessary. I would say yes because as much as many of your citizens will need to math to take part in civic life, many will need the fundamental artistic skills to earn a living. They also need an educated populace to take part in the enjoyment and appreciation of their work.

What we are asking is where do you draw the line. And yes, there is plenty of money that goes into football and baseball because they are perceived as fundamental aspects of American social life. When you fly into La Guardia, you pull up over Queens and what you see are endless baseball diamonds that fill the space. Baseball and football have a place in the American historical psyche that swimming and soccer do not have. Most school districts do not have a swimming pool; and having such is a sign of a districts wealth.

People complain about Wynton Marsalis; but what he has done is the same for Jazz. Now every college is cowering to have a jazz program, and the public schools are starting kids on jazz as young as 9-10. It is part of their musical education, as much as Bach or Mozart.

People ask why music should be given an academic status as such, and my answer is to look at Austro-German culture. The Germans have historically been the most focused towards their musical culture. Kant said that the Germans were the only ones who did not see art as a matter of taste. They didn't see it as frivolous. They've also produced many of the great musical minds of the last three hundred years.

There is a connection between the education that a nation provides its citizens and the greatness of that a culture possesses. Many complain about education and there are many things that can be done better. But in the short run, we can read and write, and take part in the greater culture at large because our nation affords this basic foundation to all its citizens.
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

Here's the input from "today's" students.

Or at least one of them.

I myself have taken careful measures not to swamp myself with homework and extra curricular activities, and I am lucky to have parents who aren't the average american "NOMIGODGRADESHONORSOCIETYBLAH". So I have plenty of time to juggle school, marching band, National Art Honor society, a girlfriend, and last but not least, drumming.

In my school, the marching policy is that marching is optional, but it's very, very highly encouraged. Our drumline has what the director recently called an "appropriate" 2-2-4 with three cymbals. If my school's student body, which is fairly small, can fill out marching band that easily, then I don't see why other schools would need to make it mandatory.

As for the beneficial parts of being in both jazz and marching drumline, My fencing instructor used to say that improving onesself is optional. He would give his classes tips and advice, but it was never an order, he just suggested it. And he stressed that point as well. If a drummer in high school jazz band truly was passionate about drumming and wanted to improve himself, he would voluntarily join marching band. There should be nothing required about it.
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

That's right Ken, It would be foolish to drop Music and Arts programs.
Schools also have begun to eliminate Wood, Metal, and Auto Shop.
I think that that is foolish also. Shouldn't someone know how to do simple repairs around their home? Even if you are not going to become a finish carpenter it is good to have some basic tool skills. Many kids took these courses just to get some basic knowledge of working with your hands.

The Federal mandate only specifies levels for the three Rs. That has become the primary goal of each school.
If you don't offer the shop classes, Many of the "Dumber" kids leave for trade school.
Your students pass the test and your schools problem is solved!
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

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But it really is like I said. It will be a debate about the benefits of marching band. The people you are trying to convince will never get to this other part of it. If the policy's what it is, it's already been decided. You go to a school board with some type of alternate view you'll be shut down and the local band directors will shun you which gets in the way of your lining up more students. When you use words like unfair they will see you as insulting them or ignore you entirely, because they don't see band as the kid's band they see it as their band, with the reasoning being that they're still going to be the band director long after the students you're working with now are gone, that you're in the view a naive don't get it person and a lot of other off the paper stuff.

This might be unfair but there's simply too much intransigience and money involved for this to change. Trust me, you don't tell a school band director how it is. You have to make them think it's their idea. And if they need those drummers and trumpet players for comps, that's it. This has nothing to do with anything but satisfying fund raising parents with a trophy at Saturday night awards presentations, because every trophy in the trophy case often equates with thousands of dollars, the spring trip to the Disneyworld band trip, the major New Years Bowl Game parade etc. You're trying to see this strictly within one person's view of an educational design when marching band is worth too much money to be only that. I know it's wierd stuff. It's also why my family's out of it.
This really depends on the school. I agree with a lot of what you said based on my marching experience...the school I went to and some I worked for after I graduated were very much like this...most truly competitive bands are. However, at the same time, many schools don't compete, or don't worry too much about it. A lot of their funding comes in regardless of trophy counts, and they do shows that don't conform to TOB, BOA, or any other style. There is still hope for a lot of schools, even if I do agree that some schools are like you said.
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  #66  
Old 02-28-2010, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: High School music policies

I have started a group on facebook as a means to rally support for my cause (Simply put-To help kids that want to study jazz do so.).

It's called High Schools! Stop making jazz students join the marching band.

If you believe in my viewpoint, please join and post your opinion. Even if you don't, I'm ultimately looking to create an open discussion on the topic. I think there are enough people that feel this way that schools should at least be open to possible alternatives.

Thanks to everyone who has shared their views. It has helped me to be better prepared to debate with the local schools.
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