Teaching strings in public schools

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Posted by Ellen on May 17, 1999 at 11:05:49:

I am in need of information. Being in a district that
lives for its marching band, I have been observing the
string program flounder. (I always think of Woody Allen
trying to play his cello and move his chair while he
marches in a parade.) Our current teacher is leaving to
pursue a masters, which means we'll be on our third teacher
in 4 years. One person covers the elementary school
(3 days) and the high school and middle school one day
each. The current teacher was a brand new graduate, had
exactly two weeks of cello training. There is one small,
cohesive unit of violins who still studies privately
with the first teacher the district foolishly let go,
and of course my little cellists who study privately.
I suppose I could be happy with the fact that mine are
in a youth orchestra and let it drop, but I can't.
It is a most unsatisfactory arrangement with many
frustrated individuals. The high school has no celli
whatsoever. They have finally received permission to
allow some of the talented younger kids to play outside
of their own schools to fill in some gaps.

I am trying to push for a summer string program, and also
to have a little bit of parental input into the new hire.
I'm hoping to gain information here as to what happens
in other districts. Granted, some has to do with size
of enrollment and the type of community you live in, but
these elements aside, I really want to hear about other
hiring committees, successful summer programs, ANY public
school stories you have to pass on to me. I intend to
be a force to be reckoned with when I talk to these
school people. I currently only have my own experience
with summer programs to deal with, and the continued
daily correction and reinforcement of proper habits, as
well as non-playing time when we learned about music,
reading, made for a total enrichment package.

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