Saturday, January 7, 2012

Band doesn't fit and other 9th grade scheduling issues

Can you believe Junior is almost ready for high school?  How the time flies!  Over the next few weeks and months there will be visits from high school reps, parent meetings, scary lists of graduation requirements and charts of which classes to take during the next four years.  It can feel like our teenagers' entire futures depend on the choices they are making right now. 

So . . . how do we navigate through this pressure cooker to help our kids fulfill their requirements, learn what they need to learn and still have time to pursue their passions for music?  

I asked my band director husband for advice.  The three questions below are the ones he hears most often during scheduling time and the responses are what he tells parents each year. 

Help! I’ve been told music courses won’t fit in my schedule. What do I do now?
We hear this every year, and 99% of the time, music WILL fit if you are willing to find a way to make it happen.. Talk with the music directors at the high school.  They have helped numerous students resolve schedule conflicts, so they may know a way to help you. 

I was in band/orchestra/choir in middle school, but I’m not sure I’m going to sign up in 9th grade. Can’t I just add music back into my schedule later?
Well, technically that is true. You can always add it later; but the truth is that once you quit, you will probably never return. Unfortunately, the vast majority of students who quit band and orchestra after middle school never pick up their instruments again.  We strongly encourage you to continue with music in 9th grade. Give it a try, and we think you will like it!

If I sign up for music, can I still take a challenging academic schedule?
Yes. Music students are among the most academically gifted.  Music programs teach hard work, discipline and perseverance which enable our students to excel in the most challenging AP and G/T courses. Studies have shown that music students score an average of 62 points higher on the SATs than students who are not enrolled in music courses.

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