Need opinions/advice/clarity/etc on beginner band in this mess
Posted by MS Director on 8/31/2020, 10:00 pm
I’m at a loss at what to do with beginners. Here are some of the issues: |
- We were not able to do spring placement due to the shutdown. We were not allowed to do any placement in the summer either. No kids are placed on instruments.
- Due to remote learning, we’ve only done a survey/poll as to what kids want to play. Most choose flute, clarinet, sax, trumpet, trombone, percussion. One tuba and no F horn or baritones (we don’t start double reeds)
- The numbers are SUPER low. About 75 total, and only about 50 have participated in remote learning in any fashion.
- Right now, we see the groups either M/W or T/TH (depending on their period) for an hour and Friday for half an hour.
- When we come back next week we bring back kids at 50% capacity or less, but they will follow a crazy schedule where they will come to school for two to three days a week and stay at home for the other days. They will still follow the same daily schedule daily class schedule.
- In a nutshell, I will see each kid in person (if they even choose to come in person) at most two times a week, but there is a real possibility that we could not see them in person at all for over a week depending on how holidays or inservice days land on the calendar.
- Remote participation has not been great and those that are participating seem to have problems with tech, which obviously has me worried about teaching beginners
- There is zero possibility of having like instrument classes (no schedule changes unless they are in the same period). This would mean teaching all instruments at the same time, in person and remotely
- We are also a 3C middle school that is expected to be competitive (yes, even this year we are being expected to participate in region band and C&SR, even with seeing the kids only a tiny bit a week)
What would you do? I’m tempted to limit the instrumentation to just flute, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone (or maybe baritone and teach valves as positions). We would move kids to the other instruments when or if we come back this year. My expectations are already really low, and I know this is going to have a lasting impact beyond this year (we are looking at this year as a wash or a holding pattern and next year as a total reboot year). What would you do? How would you place kids when you can’t see them in person? Just let them pick? We’ve also been told that we cannot have them actually try the instruments out (no sharing of anything except desks, chairs, or music stands; yes, I did ask about testing mouthpieces and explained the disinfectant process – it was a no go).