Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is change coming to Seymour?

I am in my 13th month as the music director here in Seymour.

I teach:
  • HS Music Theory (kind of AP, but non-experienced musicians)
  • HS Concert Band (I started seven beginners last year as freshman. Now they are 2nd years)
  • HS Choir (16 kids)
  • HS Chorale (more elite acapella group)
  • 4th and 5th grade band and lessons at two different elementary schools (about 110 kids, 4 bands, 10 lesson groups).
This is too much now. It was manageable last year, but we are getting better. More kids, more emails, more programs, etc... And we are nowhere close to full speed. I simply don't have enough time during the day.

Now, I coach as well, a choice I make for two reasons ($$ and I'm lucky enough to keep winning). I realize I could work from 2-5 for no pay to catch up. I still put an extra 90 minutes in during the morning and a good 1-2 hours in afternoon.

There are enormous financial, emotional, political, and social reasons NOT to improve the music program. There is no question that the economic incentives are against it. If not, I wouldn't be given that load and be expected to pull two shifts to catch up. You can see why the program has been in perpetual cycles of poverty and mediocrity.

How to fight it? I know I need the kids to step up. I need them to work harder in class, at home, and around the school. I know I need to step up and be more efficient. Now that I know the kids in front of me I need to get the system rolling. I need to push to get more staff and more hands in the room. No question.

I can feel the culture changing. I can't wait to blow the paradigm of mediocrity wide open. (is that a real sentence?)