STUDENT DEVELOPMENT, COVID INTERRUPTIONS AND THE PERFORMING ARTS
Thoughts on Recovery for Consideration by Administrators
Kerry Taylor, President-American Bandmasters Association
Rebecca Phillips, President -National Band Association
Lowell Graham, President-John Philip Sousa Foundation
Carole Grooms, President-American School Band Directors Association
Robyn Higler, Executive Director-American Choral Directors Association
The educational value of the performing arts in schools, particularly through participation in ensembles and performance opportunities, has been researched, proven, and documented across numerous and varied studies for many years. There has perhaps never been quite so vital a moment for their existence, promotion, and support than during the seismic changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the tremendous interruptions faced by many school systems and the upheaval of families and livelihoods, arts education has remained a guiding light and a bulwark of joy, excellence, normalcy, and camaraderie for many students. While the extent of lost class time and the opportunity to actively participate with one’s peers in performing arts varies from system to system, the reality of this impact for students is universal. One of the greatest fears students express is a sense of hopelessness and lack of motivation to move forward and past a feeling of “what might be next”. The performing arts are a primary vehicle for many students to move past the fears of isolation and loss and move toward a brighter tomorrow.
In the best of times the arts provide an outlet for emotions and the opportunity to explore feelings that may be difficult to express in words or actions. In stressful times the performing arts allow humans to escape the trauma, at least for a time, and enjoy creating beauty with others. Art is valuable for art’s sake and should never be taken for granted. Now, more than ever, it makes everything better.
These truths are especially important to take note of because school systems are diligently attempting to find ways to recover lost instructional time across disciplines. The mistake would be to minimize our performing arts programs in favor of allocating additional time for other subjects, and it would be a grave mistake, both for those programs, and for students overall. We appreciate the difficult challenge facing administrators in creating master schedules that meet the holistic needs of all students. Continued arts instruction, even when facing the challenge of recovering lost instruction time for other subjects, is an investment in students access to courses that inspire motivation, joy, hope, pride, purpose and power…all ingredients necessary to academic achievement and overall well-being. Students who are engaged creatively and collaboratively are far more likely to make the effort necessary to attempt to regain that very lost ground that is lamented as “learning loss”.
In many places the performing arts have suffered more setbacks than most subject areas simply due to the nature of the art form. While teachers worked harder than ever to try to offer opportunities online, the reality is that it is extremely difficult to successfully start a beginning student on an instrument when you cannot physically demonstrate or correct their attempts or bring a new performer onto the stage when there is not, in fact, a stage available. This means that the success rate for young students is understandably far less than when in-person class is available. Unfortunately, when students are not successful, they often do not continue. Additionally, in normal times the performing arts are the very best activities available in school for valuable and safe social/emotional development. Students learn to be themselves, to be expressive and to be willing to do what is good for others and the success of the ensemble. When they cannot meet as a group, these important lessons and the willingness to work hard to achieve them are weakened. The sad truth of both the lack of success of young students not in class and the loss of social/emotional opportunities for older students has led to a drop in enrollment in many programs. It is imperative that we look carefully at the legitimate causes of this loss and create concrete ways to rebuild. The biggest mistake we could make would be to reduce staffing because of a short-term enrollment loss. Teachers need support and the time in the schedule to do everything possible to rebuild robust enrollment numbers and performance standards during this ongoing health crisis.
This rebuilding effort requires time in the schedule and the support of excellent administrators, school boards and parents. It will take a few years to regain losses in this crucial component of our curriculums. If, however, we make poor choices at this juncture, make cuts in staffing or reduce proper scheduling and financial support, the performing arts may never recover in some places. While all students could benefit from participation in a quality fine arts program, some students simply must have these opportunities in order to thrive. For those students, and for the rest that could benefit alongside them, the survival of the performing arts is vital. We should not make the situation worse by making decisions that cause the negative effects of Covid-19 to linger longer than necessary. Staffing, scheduling, and funding fine arts programs with an eye on the future, rather than the present, will go a long way to getting us back to normal as quickly as possible. And in that normal, there are performing arts, there is joy, and these programs contribute to the advancement of students across disciplines.
Thank you once again for your patience as we have been finalizing all of the details for this weekend's clinic. I hesitate to call this a FINAL email, but I’m sincerely hoping that it is.
Spring Business Meeting: Friday 2:00 PM UNCW Music Building (CAB) Beckwith Recital Hall
Here is the full logistics schedule for the Middle School Bands
Here is the full logistics schedule for the High School School Bands
Friday’s HS LUNCH time has been updated to allow for pizza to arrive.
Directors/Student Checklist for Clinic
Friday, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you have the VISITOR PARKING PASS if you are going to have a vehicle on campus and you must park in the assigned areas. The passes will be available at registration at both sites.
If you can carpool to campus on Friday for the business meeting, please do so. The parking in Lot I and H is 1st come, 1st serve and there will not be additional parking. Lot Q is right in front of CAB, but will likely not have parking available.
Friday Parking Map
Saturday Parking Map
Please keep Kenan Parking Lot clear for parents. There will be parking in front of Warwick for directors who are attending the MS Symphonic Band rehearsal.
Wireless internet is available through the Seahawk Guest WiFi.
Connecting to SeahawkGuest:
Wilmington Symphonic Winds - 7:30 PM - Kenan Auditorium - Program: RISE
We look forward to seeing everyone in Wilmington!
Robert A. Parker
Director of Bands | President NCBA Eastern District
Eugene Ashley High School
P: 910-790-2360 ext. 70XXX
As we prepare for Virtual Auditions there is a lot of information that you must pay attention to in order for your students to successfully participate. Please forward this email to anyone who you believe needs this information.
Here is a checklist of the things that you need to do prior to and during the virtual audition window:
1. Complete your NAfME verification by uploading a picture or PDF of your card HERE
2. Have each student complete a permission slip for Virtual Auditions and collect - keep in YOUR files
3. Ensure that your Auditions Chair has both your payment and your principal’s signature on the invoice. The signed invoices can be emailed.
Middle School: Blair Dyal
Tucker Creek Middle School
200 Sermons Blvd
Havelock, NC 28532
High School: Kristen Graham (9/10) and Mike Self (11/12)
Swansboro High School
161 Queens Creek Rd.
Swansboro, NC 28584
4. Record and Upload your student videos during the upload window: January 18-26. Director access will lock at 11:59 on January 26th. Please read all of the information below carefully and watch the linked video.
5. Save the Date! Judges meeting will be held on Thursday January 27th at 7:00 PM. All directors with auditioning students are expected to attend this meeting and judge auditions on January 29th-30th in collaboration with their partner. More information about judging will be shared later this week, but please go ahead and mark your calendars to attend this important informational/training session. It will be recorded for those who absolutely cannot attend.
6. Email students who will be no-shows when you become certain they are not auditioning (if you previously identified as a no-show but they will be auditioning share this information as well)
7. Reach out to your auditions chair with questions or concerns and we will do our best to help you resolve them! Let’s make this a great experience for our students and demonstrate the resiliency we have all become so accustomed to these last few years. Thank you for participating in the 2022 All-District Auditions Process.
Mrs. Blair Dyal
Tucker Creek Middle School Bands
First, let me say thank you for the overwhelming support you have shown in the past few days as we work to transition our All-District Band events. It speaks volumes knowing what can be done when motivated professionals come together in service of our students.
Please forward this email to anyone you believe needs this information.
Preparation is finishing up for the event and the Auditions Chairs will be sending information today. Here is our confirmed timeline:
Upload Window for Video Submissions - Jan 18th-26th (11:59 pm)
Judges Meeting - Jan 27th 7:00 PM (virtual)
Judging Window - Jan 29th-30th
Verified Results Released by Feb 2nd
In-Person All-District Clinic
At this point in time, I feel comfortable releasing the information we are working on as actionable information for you to begin making plans, but I must stress that this is our current plan and it is subject to change. As one can imagine, the logistics of rescheduling the clinic requires many moving parts and approvals from different sources. As things are finalized and contracts signed, we will once again update the membership and release more detailed information and schedules.
Dates: Feb 18th - 19th
UNCW Kenan Auditorium
UNCW Cultural Arts Building
UNCW Main Campus
601 College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
First Baptist Church Activities Center (Friday Only - Middle School Ensembles)
1939 Independence Blvd
Wilmington, NC 28403
Ashley High School and Minnie Evans Arts Center (Saturday Only - High School Ensembles)
555 Halyburton Memorial Parkway
Wilmington, NC 28412
The Clinic should be able to closely follow our typical schedule, but require slightly earlier concerts on Saturday at Kenan Auditorium.
Middle School Concert - 12:30 PM
High School Concert - 2:30 PM
Additionally, the Wilmington Symphonic Winds (a regional wind band led by Dr. Dominic Talanca and made up of more than a few NCBA Eastern District Members) is holding a concert at 4:30 PM following our concerts. They are investigating the possibility of adding an additional concert on Friday evening for our students which currently looks very promising and would serve as an opportunity for a Friday night event similar to the traditional ECU Wind Ensemble Concert. You can find more information about the Wilmington Symphonic Winds here:
Lunches on each campus are in the planning stages and will likely be organized through UNCW and their food services. More information to come.
UNCW will require that all personnel be masked while on campus, as will FBC and NHCS Schools.
UNCW also requires that students rehearse and perform in a musician’s mask. Fuller’s Music has offered assistance and will have masks available but asks that you pre-order if possible. Please contact Perry Ditch (firstname.lastname@example.org) to pre-order the musician's mask at $11.97 + tax each. Fuller’s will have some additional masks on site at registration to ensure students can be in compliance. Students are encouraged to bring their own musician’s mask (purpose built for playing a wind instrument), if able. Bell Covers may be used by members, but are not required.
Music and Arts and Fuller’s Music has offered assistance and will have masks available but asks that you pre-order if possible. Please contact your Ed Rep to pre-order the musician's mask. Both companies will have some additional masks on site at registration to ensure students can be in compliance. Students are encouraged to bring their own musician’s mask (purpose built for playing a wind instrument), if able. Bell Covers may be used by members, but are not required. Music and Arts
Music and Arts
Conn-Selmer Adjustable Face Mask
$9.35 + .65 tax = $10.00
Garth Haas (email@example.com)
Stuart Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chris Reid (email@example.com)
This change was made possible due to the NCMEA Eastern Region Jazz, under the leadership of Matt Howard, who we were able to pivot and swap clinic dates and locations with. Thank you Matt and everyone who is participating in that Eastern Region Jazz for being so flexible with All-District and allowing us to make this work, we simply could not have done this without your support.
Below you will find a letter written by Kim Barclift to administrators in your county explaining our current position and plans to help you advocate for your students and the changes coming. We strongly recommend that you share this with your superintendent, principals, and any county administrators that you feel would benefit from this information. Here is a link to the letter.
Finally, I ask that you send me any concerns you may have from your counties. Many of us will be traveling further than normal and with the current landscape dealing with Covid-19 concerns, we want to try to accommodate as many folks as possible. Please touch base with your administration soon and inquire about the changes, any updates in transportation and overnight trip policies, and Covid guidance/protocols.
910-409-4788 - cell phone
Thank you again. The auditions email will follow immediately after this email. Happy planning and recording!
Robert A. Parker
Director of Bands | President NCBA Eastern District
Eugene Ashley High School
P: 910-790-2360 ext. 70XXX
Dear NAfME member,
The International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study, of which the National Association for Music Education is a member, has released updated guidelines for music education classrooms as school approaches this fall. The guidance updates previous mitigation tactics with the understanding that states need to consult local and state COVID-19 guidance and transmission rates for appropriate mitigation adoption and adjust accordingly. NAfME will continue working closely with The International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study to ensure guidelines are up to date as we monitor the effects of the Delta variant and its impact on transmission rates across the country.
Updated guidelines are as follows:
If you have any questions or comments, please contact NAfME Director of Public Policy Tooshar Swain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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