What does music look like as we move into 2021-2022? The Return to Music Project wants to make the lives of music educators easier moving forward as we advocate for our programs, plan for the upcoming school year, and try to keep the music alive in our schools across the nation.
The Return to Music Project will be broken down into different content areas and released in three phases during the course of the next 6 months.
Phase II will focus on: Teacher Well Being, Student SEL, Curriculum Adjustments, Zero to Hero Music, School Owned Equipment and Uniforms, Reimagining Classroom Procedures, Student Eligibility
Phase III will focus on: Walking Back into the Classroom
We encourage you to share this information far and wide around your state. The more music educators that can get their hands on these resources, the better.
Preparing to return, you must begin your year as organized as possible. How was the rehearsal room left? Is it a time capsule from 3/13/20 or were things moved around? If you expect to accomplish this during your scheduled teacher work days just prior to the beginning of school, you are already behind! Teacher in-service days are generally filled with meetings, workshops, and orientations for new staff, new procedures, and an attempt to understand post-pandemic education. In order to have everything in place by the first bell, you are going to have to work prior to in-service until everything is ready. Start sooner than later!
One of the first issues to tackle is that many things will be different. Everyone will need support and ways to talk through the changes and work together. It will be important to identify student leaders in your program, if student leaders exist, you should discuss potential changes to gain their support. This will serve to facilitate next steps with the other returning students. If not, take it a step at a time and know that staff and students alike will be excited and nervous to be back in school and it may feel different than the pre-pandemic feel. Discuss prior collaborations that existed in the performing arts department and identify what can return and what might need to be tweaked.
This is your time to be an advocate for your program! Ask to be at the table, in planning meetings, and in schedule discussions to ensure your music program is considered and maintained! The schedule the admin team tentatively creates now will change before the fall so make sure you are part of every conversation. Be a listener, consider all scenarios, but also be an advocate. Think outside the box and work WITH your admin team on solutions that impact your program. This is your opportunity to continue building a collaborative relationship with your admin team and they will appreciate an open minded, problem-solver approach. While you need to defend your program, don’t get defensive!
One of the most significant challenges teachers face during the pandemic is recruiting and retaining students. Health requirements have presented inconveniences and even impossible roadblocks for students to find the same satisfaction in rehearsing and performing that they may have had under normal circumstances. Teachers will need to go above and beyond normal recruitment practices to reach out to potential students. This may include working with feeder schools, private teachers, mass mailing campaigns, referrals, etc.
Click here to see things to Keep in Mind, Recruiting Performances, Fruitful Recruitment Opportunities, Outreach, Student Instrument Choice, Materials to Download, Resource Links, Strategies, Examples, Virtual Concerts and more!
String Recruitment with Bob Gillespie
8 Recruiting Ideas for Transitioning Students (Elementary to Middle; Middle to High School; High School to College)
Equally important is retaining students already in the program. Careful attention will need to be paid to make sure current members feel part of the organization, that their presence is valued, and that ongoing participation is something important for their own well-being.
Watch All 5 Videos on the S.M.A.R.T Approach to Retention (Success Video is Below)
Make retention a priority - there are many fun and unique ways to do this, like below:
Efforts to support the music program may take many forms. Some are internal like personal interactions with faculty and administrators. Every interaction is an advocacy opportunity, a chance to share the benefits the music program provides to students, showcase student highlights and achievements.
Quick Link Resources
Every state has a state music education association. Many have an arts education advocacy group. Connect with these organizations in your state for information and resources that will help support music education in communities.
The Arts Are Education campaign has been developed by the same groups that created the Arts Education is Essential campaign last year. The groups involved in the creation include the Nation Dance Education Organization, National Association for Music Education, National Art Education Association, Educational Theatre Association, Young Audiences Arts for Learning, Education Commission of the States with support provided by NAMM, Arts Ed NJ and Quadrant Research.
Learn more at: https://www.artsareeducation.org/about
Campaign to protect arts education and engage parents in the school budget process. With campaign tools and supporting materials making the case for making arts education programs safe, the link between social emotional learning and arts education, the value of arts education and how to monitor the school budget process available online or via a mobile app.
Learn more at: http://artsednow.org
How to Advocate for Performing Arts Programs in you School District: Protect Arts Ed Now
How to Monitor the School Budget Process
The 2020 CARES Act and 2021 CRRSA Act (What these acts entail and how to use the funding they provide)
Title IV, Part A Block Grant (Explaining the Every Student Succeeds Act, examples of funding and what it supports)
Every state association will approach state-sanctioned festival assessments differently, and it is important to carefully follow state association leadership to find out their current plans. Because information can be fluid during these unprecedented and unpredictable times, state associations need to do their best to communicate early and often with teachers.
Investigate changes made in state required literature lists to see if there are any covid-clause rules allowing to perform/compete at a level lower than previously required.
Regional events can provide students and their teachers with unique opportunities to share their hard work and experience the hard work of students and teachers from other schools.
There is great value in visiting college or university campuses to work with clinicians and experience unique performance venues.
Audiences allowed: If local safety guidelines allow for live attendance at events, teachers should encourage audience attendance at their performances.
Streaming: Teachers may consider continuing the practice of streaming concerts even after social distancing standards are loosened.
Curricular travel has been a cornerstone of music programs for many years. Not only are they a great recruitment tool, they give students opportunities to expand their knowledge and broaden their worldview.
Teachers should seek out and accept offers to perform in the community not only as a way of providing a service to the community, but also to bring much needed attention to their programs.
This fully arranged, designed, and choreographed performance is available for FREE to any school and director seeking performance music through June 2022.
Teacher Preparation for State Association and MEA Music Events Post-Pandemic (with Craig Manteuffel and Dr. John Taylor, Kansas)
Realign Expectations (Read More)
Directors must first look at the earliest scheduled performances (football game, marching band, spirit assemblies, concerts) and find literature that is appropriate for technique and range to make the students sound the best they possibly can and this means meeting your students where they are not where they “should” be based on the past.
“Should be” is not something to consider when rebuilding programs. One strategy for assessing the performance level of the ensemble is to create a reading folder. Begin with what you would generally program as the end goal and then fill the folder with several levels of music ready to read (from too easy to more difficult). It’s an excellent way to gauge a starting point.
7 Alternatives to Teaching Another Music Appreciation Course (Download PDF)
THANK YOU to Music Educators (Read the Press Release)
Artists from across the scope of music and songwriting have come together in collaboration with the National Music Council (NMC) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to thank music educators and administrators for their continuing perseverance during these challenging times.
This ever growing list of helpful videos features subject experts sharing about advocacy, budgeting, recruitment, scheduling and much more.
Dr. James Weaver is the Director of Performing Arts and Sports for the National Federation of High School State Associations. He has been a teacher and administrator at the district, state, and national level. As the Director of Performing Arts and Sports, Dr. Weaver oversees student participation, professional development, and awareness of performing arts activities throughout the nation’s 19,500+ high schools. Dr. Weaver has been a part of several national projects for performing arts educators including serving as the co-chair of the International Performing Arts Aerosol Study, creating copyright compliance resources, and developing national trainings for performing arts adjudicators. Dr. Weaver specializes in educational administration and leadership focusing on professional development and teacher job satisfaction and retention. Dr. Weaver has degrees from Concordia College - Moorhead, Northern State University, and the University of South Dakota.
Justin Bills, Choir Director, Utah
Jennifer Brooks, Band Director, Oregon
Craig Manteuffel, Performing Arts, KSHSAA
Kyle Mills, Manager of Performing Arts, NFHS
Bob Morrison, Director, Arts Ed New Jersey
Marcia Neel, Music Education Consultant
Amy Perras, Instructional Supervisor for Music, Art and Library Media, Connecticut