We are so lucky to have a supportive community who passed a parcel tax many years ago to fund elementary music programs (and others) throughout our district. Tonight I had the pleasure of attending our 5th and 6th grade chorus and band concerts. What a treat!
We wised up about three years ago and split the two performances. Whereas we once had band and chorus and their parents, grandparents, siblings and friends jammed into the multi and spilling outside, we now start with chorus, dismiss, then transition to band. It’s sane, comfortable and allows parents to focus on their student’s group. Brilliant.
Tonight we started with chorus to a crowd that was standing room only. An African anthem to Nelson Mandela, Popular from Wicked, and a Boston favorite… among others–it was a great event showcasing student voice. And our chorus teachers even encourages students put together choreography and make props to accompany their singing. Birds was completed by paper plate masks of a variety of bird faces flashed during the songs’ chorus. Adorable.
Then on to band: beginning, intermediate and advanced.
This is my favorite part of the evening. The transition from beginning & intermediate band to intermediate players alone, it’s just amazing how different they sound. And then we move to the advanced band… wow. Just wow. Full disclosure alert: My own Joshua plays trumpet in advanced band. He rocks.
Our music program happens one day per week. Mondays at that (holiday central). I’m going with my 6th grade musician as average. He has bursts of practice enthusiasm and periods of dust collecting on the trumpet. There isn’t a consistent pattern to his practice expect once a week at school. He has grown tremendously with his trumpet playing in year 2. I love to listen to him. Then I think: What if he practiced ALL the time? What would he sound like THEN?
But this piece isn’t about Joshua. It’s about music.
I am so thankful that our students have the opportunity/requirement to experience a music program. Worse than the What if… about practicing is the What if they didn’t have music AT ALL!?! Tragic. Sad. A void of experience.
I’d be the first to share that our music program isn’t perfect. Students would prefer more than two options (band or chorus). Our music teachers would prefer to be less itinerant. A music room would be awesome! You get the idea.
And despite the shortcomings, I’m so thankful for this student experience in elementary school. Appreciation to Mrs. Kruse, Mrs. Baines, Mrs. Rice and Mrs. Robertson, our music teachers! And even greater appreciation to our community for valuing music education enough to back it with dollars.