Saturday, April 25, 2009

In need of thoughts, input and advice

I would greatly appreciate some input from anyone who has experience with Catholic schools, in whatever capacity. Specifically I am wondering about band and/or orchestra programs in Catholic schools. Heck, in any private school (except PCA). If you know the answers (and I fully realize you may not, and that's OK), I would love to hear from you. What I am wondering is:

  • Does your Catholic school have a band or orchestra program?

  • If so, does it operate strictly within the school, or is it parish or diocese-wide?

  • Is there a charge for participating?

  • Do the classes take place during the school day or is it an after school program?

I am asking all of this because Bella's music teacher left the school, leaving a small band class high and dry and with no other options. She also forced the cancellation of the school's spring musical. Bella has been at this school for three years. In those three years she has had 5 different music teachers. Two of those teachers left during the school year, both of them abandoning a band program that the teacher who followed them could not teach.

In my opinion, it would be beneficial for both the students and the school(s) to offer a band program. So I am doing some reading and research right now to try and look into other options for offering band classes. I would greatly appreciate any information anyone could give me - if you don't feel like commenting feel free to send me an e-mail. Thanks!


Aimee said...

That's a shame about the music program. We've had similar experiences at our small Catholic school.

Our school is K-8, but it is divided into 2 buildings. For many years, they had the same music teacher who was great. Then she moved on to another job, and since then they have had a VERY hard time keeping a music teacher. Francie is on her fifth music teacher as well.

Right now each building has its own teacher because the primary building teacher couldn't do the middle building. But we've just been told that they may not have a music teacher at all next year, even though they are combining the buildings for the next school year.

Francie does have a band program, but the kids can't start that until 4th grade. It is managed and taught by an outside company and I do pay a monthly fee, but the lessons are during school, so there is no transportation issue or after-school scheduling involved (which I love!)

Francie also takes private piano lessons, and I know that FIver also wants to take them when he's ready, so I feel like they get good music instruction, but I'm sad that they might not have music at school.

It's just so hard for Catholic schools, especially small ones, to offer much to a teacher. Many of our teachers have left because of salary issues -- I understand, but it's still a shame for the kids.

Aimee said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I don't think our band program is diocesan-wide, but I do know that some other nearby Catholic schools use the same program. They all get together and have 2 concerts per year.

Jennifer said...

So are you saying there's a job opening in Pensacola? :)

Seriously though, that's tough. I know the P'cola Association of Homeschools has a band, you might ask them for advice.

Jennifer said...

Oh, and OLSH's high school band program only has 11 kids. 5 of them are my students. They have a cross-campus band that includes the jr. high kids and the majority of them are my students as well. We are a very small school (I think 48 seniors last year) so I know about the challenges of teaching music in the small Catholic school setting.

Val said...

Yeah, I'm going to call Glenda (from the home school band) and talk to her. I've also been communicating via e-mail with the administrator of a program in Omaha, and she is going to give me some information. Thanks!

Laura said...

We have a band program that is coordinated by our Archdiocese.
They students pay a fee and miss class time so it's important that they understand that they need to make up class work if they participate in band.
It is a worthwhile investment for kids who love to play music.