A year ago, we were just starting full ensemble rehearsals for our musical’s orchestra. My jazz band was just starting to figure out how to really “swing”, and my concert band had just put on a really solid performance in preparation for their MPA assessment in mid-March.
This week, I was beyond ecstatic to see 12 students in my band room playing 32 measures of a flex band piece while watching the clock to make sure I didn’t go over 30 minutes.
Who would have thought this is where we would be?
As we approach the one year anniversary of “this”, all of us are going to start seeing the social media memories pop up…and they are going to be quite painful. But – there is hope on the horizon. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger. Slowly…but we’re getting there.
UPDATED CHESTER COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT GUIDELINES
These were released yesterday by the CCHD: you can skip to just the yellow highlights to see the changes.
The biggest change, obviously, is the incorporation of 3ft distance between students as an option.
If you – or someone in your music department – has not had a conversation yet about how this will impact your classes and ensembles – the time to do that is now!
I still STRONGLY recommend that all performing arts experiences maintain the 6 ft distancing as has been supported by both the aerosol research and recommended in the CHoP School documents that were released in the fall. While this may cause an issue within some rooms as more and more students come back into the building, I encourage you to be as creative as you can in rehearsal locations.
- Maybe the cafeteria isn’t being used during your rehearsal period?
- Can you explore outside options?
- Do you have the ability to split up unto smaller groups?
We’re probably going to be facing the reality of creating alternate rehearsal experiences for our virtual students too. While this appears to begin to blur the lines between “curricular” and “extracurricular” – we do have to remember that we’re also responsible for maintaining the future of our programs. We ALL will have retention issues for the forseeable future. The more we can work to mitigate those retention issues, the better off music education will be for the area.
THINKING TOWARDS THE SPRING AND OUTDOOR PERFORMANCES:
Our friends at the Arts Ed NJ organization have put together an excellent document regarding logistics of outdoor performances that you can view here:
Live streaming and virtual events are great – but we have the opportunity to give our students and communities something they have in over a year: live music. It might be a concert that lasts for 15 minutes – including kids getting on and off whatever “stage” you have setup, but it is more than anyone has heard or seen in a LONG TIME!
MARCH IS MUSIC IN OUR SCHOOLS MONTH:
It’s pretty crazy how our profession has been thrown back and forth since last March. Like all of you, I’m pretty fed up with it.
We want to bring attention to the great things that you are doing! Even if it’s the smallest possible accomplishment…let us know what it is. These will be collected via the Google Form below and shared on social media over the course of March. When possible, we will do what we can to tag your school district’s social media accounts as well. If you think you’ve got a pretty “big” story, please contact us directly and we’ll try to even do some connections with the local media! Good news is good news!
THINKING TO THE FUTURE…
The upcoming end of this school year brings my tenure as president of District 12 to a close. I hope that over the course of this last 12 months I’ve been able to get as much information to all of you as I possibly could. Steve Selfridge will be taking over for me on July 1 and will be heading into what could even be a stranger world!
With that said…we are looking for interested candidates to run for the next presidential term. This is a 6 year commitment: 2 years as vice-president, 2 years as president, and 2 years as past-president.
If you would like more information on the position and what it entails – in a NON-COVID environment that is – please reach out to me directly! Our goal is to hold a vote in late May/early June.