Last week I wrote about a band that I helped out and how I loved the way this school has their music program set up. I just wanted to give you an update on how my school was coming along in this area.
Now I don’t want this to be a Waverley vs. Eltham competition because I know that the spirit of education is most definitely against that (and I would lose). I also don’t want this to be a vent of my frustrations at not being able to do what I think will work best for my school because all teachers and heads of department experience that (not that I am the Head of anything, not even my own household).
I have set out this year to build up a larger ‘band culture’ at the school (I am not against contemporary, vocal or string programs, just trying to do what I do best), it is fair to say that I am pushing uphill at the moment with my program.
I have some really passionate kids that love coming to music ensembles, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Clarinet and Saxophone Ensemble, Chapel Bands; they really like their music. I have no illusions as to why they come; they definitely aren’t there to make amazing music because we really aren’t going to be at that stage for a fair few years. They come because I make it fun. It is really foreign for me, I came out of a school that was most definitely a ‘High Quality Music Output School’, it is really hard to step away from real quality and step into ‘enjoyment’. I’m a perfectionist and really struggle to not have everything sounding perfect even just hearing what is written down on the score would be a start but I don’t even get that most of the time, but the students are happy. It’s a balancing act. ‘My will for the band’ vs. ‘Student enjoyment/capabilities’.
One new thing that I have begun this year is running a band in year 7 classroom music. I have given students an instrument to play (trumpet, trombone or Clarinet, the instruments my school is really lacking in and I need for the future of my bands). I thought I could do it and I had big plans but at this stage, I am failing and the program is not being benefited positively, it seems like have just wasted a lot of money so kids have a new toy to take home and play with for 6 months. I have considered ditching it many times.
But, we keep going, I’m sure I’ll get it going better for next semester, and hopefully in the future I’ll look back on this moment and kick myself for even thinking about pulling the plug on my bands. Who knows maybe I’ll get those 1 or 2 that go on to be the leaders of the future. I guess I will look at the Performing arts captains in 2016 and see if it was my bad school band program that made the difference in the life of 1 kid.
At least I’ve taken this.
It’s a start.
Just a thought.