- What have you learned about the resources (both monetary and non-monetary) needed to be successful in implementing your project?
The monetary resources have been crucial to creating an elementary school band where none existed before. The ability to purchase and provide an instrument for every child in fifth grade band established a standard. This helped us to require every student to practice and care for their own instrument every day.
The team is an essential resource. Having the support from the different areas of interest- the school, a parent, the artistic director and the coordinator brought a balanced perspective to the project. It will be helpful as our team stabilizes to meet more often to plan as we go along. When Julie Putney required surgery and a six month time off- our team suffered as we tried to fill in that gap. We also had to change our project coordinator part way during the year and that too created a lapse that we now are filling.
- What were the most impactful ways that you used your OCF funding in year 1.
We were able to assemble an amazing professional team of clinicians to help Dr. Memory break the students into sections to accelerate learning. Each session starts with a warm up and then the students receive small group or sometimes individual instruction in order for the students to learn technique for each instrument and how to correct their technique in order to play their instruments correctly.
The second major impact was the purchase of musical instruments. We tried to buy instruments at the best price we could to stretch the dollars. This grant gave us the funds that we then leveraged to acquire about $19000 in donated instruments too.
- How might you apply what you’ve learned in using your funding resources in year 2?
We worked closely with Eryn Berg at King School to obtain space for the band to use on an ongoing basis. Our collaboration has strengthened and we will be able to make decisions together and forge other partnerships as we move forward. Our biggest success has been the large in-kind contribution of instruments.
- If your anticipated budget is changing for year 2—how do you think that change might result in different work for your team?
Our budget is staying pretty close to the budget as originally submitted. We do plan to add a second section next year- the incoming fifth grade class. So our instrument costs will continue and our clinician cost will rise to accommodate three extra hours a week.
Reflections from the clinicians who worked with the students three times a week.
Written by Dan Brewster–
“In no particular order, these are my observations:
I’m sure most of the instructors would agree that the trombone section is the weakest in the band. The reasons are numerous, but I still came away with some positives.
Tyree (don’t have any last names) ascended to the lead chair. Like the entire section, he had self control issues, especially when we broke off into sectionals. Also, like many other children his age and higher, he has exhibited other behavioral issues that need correcting. (Example: laughing at other kids downfalls) Despite all that, he is attentive at rehearsal, demonstrates exemplary posture at his chair, holds his horn properly, has a full tone, and tries very hard. After an entire school year, plus some voluntary after school sessions, he can play about 80% of the repertoire. It’s hoped that he will be here for the summer as well as be back next year.
Jalen can ascend to excellence with a little more confidence. He has a very mellow tone, is capable of playing all of our music, is very friendly with staff. He too has voluntarily stayed after for further help. He has been victimized by bullying, and as a result can quite suddenly catapult into extremely disruptive behavior. It is hoped that this can be worked out as he has talent.
Marius has not spent any time practicing at home. He has shown that he can get a good sound out of his horn, can be attentive in class, and can at least try to participate. The problem is most of the time he doesn’t do it, and along with the lack of practice, he has fallen significantly behind. He does have supportive family who would like to see improvement.
Lamech and Sayer are at the same level with their instruments. Lamech has stated that he can never take his horn home to practice because he rides his bike and can’t carry the horn. Sayer has missed several days of school which happened to be rehearsal days. These two also try to participate to the best of their ability, but their skill level is way behind.
Thara has offered summer band, and if these five enroll and become engaged in the program, they all have potential for improvement.
Paradise catches on extremely fast. She goes home, learns the music, learns songs on her own by ear, helps other students, the sky’s the limit. Because of her high talent level, she also excels at dance, and other activities. She’s a lot like my daughter in that if she could focus on just one or maybe two things, she would be even better.
Angel is right on pace. The two of them stay after, have memorized much of the music, and want to learn more. He got a taste of improvisation and enjoyed it, I hope to see him progress to actually being a jazz soloist, part of the next generation of ‘young lions’.
Samara and Aniya are two outstanding trumpeters. Along with Jada, they have often taken the initiative to stay after and practice, helping each other along the way. Samara has shown an unusual ability to compensate, that is, if a note is too high for her, she knows to take the line down an octave until she’s back within range.
The entire front row displays excellent manners, attentiveness, organization, and consistent good effort. I would love to see them progress throughout their time at King, ready to advance to the next level.
I met Tyree’s Angel’s, Paradise’, Samara’s, Jalen’s, Jada’s, Marius’, parents/guardians and found them to be very involved. With their continued support, this program will continue to be a success.”