High School Music Programs Declining

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by xjb0906, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Last night I took my daughters to a countywide high school marching band showcase. It wasn't a competition. It was more of an exhibition where judges provide feedback to the bands. I was really surprised at how much the numbers have declined for the music programs. During my high school days we had more trumpets than some of these schools had in their entire horn lines. One school barely had 30 members including the color guard and drumline. That school actually had one of the best performances. What doesn't make sense is that the overall attendance at these schools has grown by leaps and bounds. They can hardly make room for all of them.

    Why have the numbers in the band programs declined? One parent did say that band is scheduled at the same time as "good classes" that college bound students are expected to take. Is it possible that this scheduling conflict is an effort to save money by reducing the numbers in the music program?
  2. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    sports take precedence over BAND I think. Also the "mucis and arts" appreciation that the parents had in the big band, or jazz era ---- like when we were kids XJB. Our parents still watched Lawrence Welk and listened to Duke Ellington and such. Since then the (parents of today) were brought up on "twisted sister, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, etc.) - rock bands --- So, IMHO - they are more in tune with their kids picking up a drum set, or an electric guitar and making NOISE --- instead of using a wind instrument and making music!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    Some schools are declining, but they continue to grow in Texas. Almost 1 in every 4 students in my high school are in our band program, and it has a lot of conflict, it takes up the majority of our electives. But we have a lot of fun, and "the cool kids" always end up joining band. We have a great program and were are one of the most, if not the most, successful and respected program at our school.

    And as far as that question goes, I would say yes. Band is a huge drain on funds that could go to improving the school, and many schools consider it not important to the growth of students (which has been proven to be highly beneficial).
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    IMO by far, the evolvement of busing and cafeterias in our school systems is the greatest drain on school budgets, busing especially with the rise in fuel prices. Here is North Carolina the state mandates that all school buses not exceed 45 mph speed and a full one third of all high school students in Northampton County now spend 4.5 hours of their school day riding the bus from their pick-up point to the only high school now in the county. Ha! it's interesting that the new mandates of food service have required the increase of food garbage collection, students aren't eating all that is now being served. Yes, all the elementary schools and the high school I attended in Pennsyvania do not exist anymore. Why? The mandates of modern structural code compliance ... in particular wooden classroom and hallway flooring being a fire hazard.

    Then there were no school buses, there were no school cafeterias, and there weren't 10-20 trash dumpsters (dumpsters then didn't exist) at every school site ... and a new Martin Committee when they were introduced cost less than a fourth of what a well kept pre-owned one does now. Still, I believe I received the best public school education and had the best band director that one could expect. Also, I had the best vocal director. If I were to count flag twirlers, majorettes and color guard, my high school senior year, there were 107 students on the football field at half time during games, and three pages in my year book just to list their names and what they played or performed as.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  5. daniel117

    daniel117 Pianissimo User

    Jun 28, 2012
    Westfield high school in houston texas had its number of band students basically split in half because of the construction of dekany high school

    so there's one reason. more schools being built
  6. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Not in this case. My high school was there and they only had about 30 or so in the horn line. When I was a student our band fielded over 100 each year. This same high school is so overcrowded that they have more space in trailers than the original structure. When I attended there were no trailers. I think it is due to a covert attack on the music programs through creative course scheduling.
  7. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    Many programs have declined over the years, the result of the decline of culture and music appreciation (in my opinion). The college band I played in no longer has enough students to have a band without beafing up their numbers with members of the community--many of them my age. This despite the fact that the school is 10-20% larger. The value of the school program has been questioned by administrators as important college prep classes are often given during band practice or class time. This was the primary reason my son quit in the 9th grade.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  8. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    In New York, students and teachers are pressured to pass the state math, science, and English tests. Students are afraid to get out of class to come to lessons. Parents are scared too.
  9. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    The idea that music education is being purposefully phased out makes me sad. Once a program is gone it will be nearly impossible to bring it back. I wonder what can be done about it. There has to be something. Some areas have thriving music programs while others are allowed to die through neglect. What is different in the areas that music is thriving?
  10. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Band membership is down considerably. Was talking with the owner of one of the largest music shops in the South a few days ago ( he has bought out 36 other shops) and his comments were that band music is a dying business. He says that the majority of high schools have greatly reduced band programs over 20 years ago. There are a few that have huge bands- our son's HS played Pelham HS last week and it was the largest band I have seen in 10 years. Overall though, those are the outliers. Most are much smaller.

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