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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000104.txt from 1998/03

Subj: Re: Music in schools, was Marching Band
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 20:49:26 -0500

In a message dated 98-03-02 19:49:28 EST, writes:

<< It would be MUCH harder to rationalize and defend a
requirement in which there was a symphonic band separate from the marching
band. In this case, there would have to be a very strong precedent set
with a successful band teacher who had been there many years. Even then,
a student could find a way to circumvent the requirement. >>

Yes, during my high school days, all students who wished to participate in
Symphonic band had to be concurrently enrolled in the marching band, which was
called "Band P.E." because it fulfilled the Physical Ed. requirement.
However, the difference here was that the period alloted to Symphonic band was
never used as another hour to practice marching band material, unlike most
schools in my area today. Fall, Winter and Spring, we played quality
literature in Symphonic band, and never allowed the rigors of the marching
season to supercede the schedule. Of course, there were some after school
rehearsals for marching, when needed, field shows during the football season,
a couple parades, and one tournament. This was an acceptable balance, I
think, and it allowed for performances from both the symphonic band and the
jazz ensemble during the football season, which is a rarity these days.
Better yet, in the Spring, "Band P.E." was used as a period for a 2nd jazz
ensemble, and a period where students could form small chamber groups. Not to
mention there was also an orchestra that met everyday. Ironically, when I was
involved in this program I used to think it could have been better, but after
looking around at the high school music programs I see today, I have to wonder
"what the hell was I thinking."
Now I realize that the educational requirements today are more stringent, and
music electives are not as readily available in the student's schedule as they
were before. But with this line of reasoning, then marching activities should
be scaled back, allowing more time for students to excel in ensembles that
provide a quality musical experience. If you want a student to gain an
appreciation for English literature, you don't feed them a steady diet of
comic books. Why then should music education be taken less seriously?
Students may not know any better, but teachers do; yet, these instructors
continue to support this depressing trend of poor music education, and that's
very unfortunate.


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