High School Music Programs Declining

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

  1. mgcoleman

    mgcoleman Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 22, 2010
    Our local high school has actually grown over the past few decades from 1 band, 1 jazz band and 1 director to 2 bands (1 audition-only), 2 jazz bands (both are audition-only), two full-time directors, 4 part-time instructors that contribute to marching band, and normally 3-4 student teachers throughout the year.
    Some key things that I believe contribute to good program health:
    - The school is deeply into AP courses, so offerings are plentiful enough to avoid schedule conflicts.
    - We have a very active patron organization that provides a strong level of funding and volunteer time to help with uniforms, feed members at competitions, sell tickets, run concessions, etc.
    - A solid cadre of local musicians and teachers who are friends of the program and provide deeply-discounted assistance to mentor players and prep the upper-level players for All-State participation.
  2. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    In our county we have two or three schools with large bands, two are over 200. The rest are lucky to field 50. Guitars and drums have eclipsed the winds. My school when I was in, marched 64, it's now around 30-40. My grand daughter just started in there( flute)....:-(:oops:
  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    IMO, it really boils down to leadership from the top of the administration to the band director. I can see in the various posts a wide array of situations. It also depends on the culture of the surrounding community. A paradox in my community is this. A high school that's predominately African-American and has police on site almost 24/7 has a nationally ranked marching band. The band is huge and not everyone that wants in gets in. The concert band and orchestra however, are pathetic! Go figure!
  4. DaTrump

    DaTrump Forte User

    Oct 21, 2011
    Huntsville, Texas
    What school did you go to if you don't mind me asking?
  5. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    I teach in a Middle School, grades 5-7 and we average 220 students in our band program and 150 in orchestra.
  6. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    uhm, Marcellus isn't that big is it?? --- just to clarify, don't you mean that 150 of the 220 students in the band program also play in the orchestra?? which would translate ------ the total of the music program is 220 students, which is still quite large. if I am confused on those numbers -- then I am sorry about that!!

    the website indicates that the high school for Marcellus, NY is 660 students (so if you had 220 + 150 = 370) students participating in band for the high school --- that would be over 50%. I suspect the number of students must be similiar for the middles school -- although I used the high school as the example
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Toby. per chance were you referring to DC's Ballou High School's Marching Band, as I've seen and heard many times and thought they were much superior to most, having appeared in Presidential Inaugural Parades and in at least one Rose Bowl parade. Too, I liked Prince William County VA symphonic orhestra as mixed high school, college, military and community players. I once played with them as often as I could, and too with the Alexandria VA Citizen's Band again a mix of skills and talents.
  9. BachStrad1

    BachStrad1 Pianissimo User

    Apr 9, 2012
    Kalamazoo MI
    I think there are many reasons for the general decline in participation in music programs. In one school district in my area, the middle school students must choose whether to take band or gym. They generally lost a third to a half of the kids who started band in elementary school to this, as once they lose a year of development at that stage, they are too far behind to rejoin. The expense of music is also a consideration. The economy is taking its toll with reduced school budgets and reduced personal budgets. Lessons are often out of reach for kids who would greatly benefit from participation in music. There is also the, IMO, ridiculous dependance upon the results of standardized testing to show progress and teacher are spending inordinate amounts of time "teaching to the test" and students are developing tunnel vision in academics and music and the arts are being left out. In my area, there are several very strong instrumental and vocal music programs, and in very happy news, the local Catholic high school just resurrected their band program after having it shelved for the last 30 or more years. It is a shame that kids are being pigeon-holed and rubber-stamped at such an early age, as music the arts, and sports all have great influence upon the lives of young people, which carry over into their adult lives and provide much enjoyment and enrichment.
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    It's Highland Springs high school. 2009 National High School High Stepping Marching Band Champions.

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