Author Topic: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Updates #39, 70  (Read 15632 times)

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YummyMummy66

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2012, 02:41:48 PM »
The school will more than likely not be able to do anything.

If they contract out their buses, then the school is not in charge of buses.  The company who owns them is and they are the ones who have to right to make their own rules.

What I would be questioning is either they have no instruments or they allow all instruments. 

Oh Joy

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2012, 02:43:06 PM »
In the absence of the middle school band director, there is often another role dedicated to the administration of music education higher up in the district's chain.  It may be the high school band director or a different position, but they oversee the general music program and have an investment in the success of the program and a motivation to reduce barriers.

I would go to them with the tone that I'm seeking clarification in the policy and suggestions to work around it if necessary.

Keep us posted, and best wishes.

NyaChan

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2012, 03:08:06 PM »
This needs to go to the principal - teachers aren't going to be in the same position to deal with the bus company as the head of the school.  I played the trombone and was allowed to bring my instrument on the bus just like everyone other than those who played instruments so large that the school had simply purchased them and allowed students to use them.

kherbert05

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2012, 03:09:42 PM »
I have to disagree with the advice to go to the band/choir director.  These people are in classrooms, they have plenty of responsibilities  and limited authority.  Transportation is usually beyond their scope so the most they would probably be able to do would be to go to the principal and explain that a parent is upset about this situation.  In my experience, it is taken more seriously when they hear from parents directly.


The reason I said go to the director/art people is because they know the politics. They can tell the OP weather to go to the building principal or the head of the arts department. I'm in the classroom, I don't mind fielding who do I complain to questions. Most teachers don't because they know the wrong complaint in the wrong ear can lead to an explosion, while the right complaint in the right ear leads to a solution.


My partner and I have been redirecting complaints since the beginning of school. We are overloaded with 28 and 26 kids in a class. (Law used to be 21, changed last year now a complicated formula). We have told parents that complaining to principal doesn't do any good because it isn't his call and he has been fighting for another teacher since the week before school started. We have directed their very complementary to the school complaints (The teachers/staff are doing a good job but there are too many kids in the room/you might be violating fire code type complaints) to the superintendent, their board member, and the head of elementary ed. According to what I hear - they were surprised at the parental support for the school/demand for a 3rd teacher. They have been interviewing all week, hopefully the position will be filled Monday.


 I also think contacting the other band parents through the booster club is a good idea because the squeaky wheel gets the grease. An organized group insuring fair transportation policy has a better chance of succeeding.


Here transportation is paid for by the state, and you have to go through a detailed procedure to kick trouble makers off the bus. A kid that has done nothing, but bring a school required piece of equipment on board being denied transportation - head would rool.


Growing up the bass players and some percussion were issued 2 instruments one for school and one for home. That was because there was no way to safely fit them on the bus. They blocked the aisle/emergency exits. Due to the way our school was constructed some upper level band and orchestra people could check out keys to access the band and orchestra halls to practice. (those rooms were off in their own wing and those keys were good only for those areas).
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norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2012, 04:38:40 PM »
Responding to a few comments and questions:

I meant to put in the OP, DSS' bus is only 1/2 full at any given time. I don't know how full the other routes are though, so I would like a resolution that will work for all students, if there truly is a space issue on some buses.

The school has a very limited supply of instruments. These instruments are available to families in need, for rent at a rate that is significantly less than a private rental. Due to our finances, we did look into renting through the school rather than a private company, and there are no trombones available at all. So having a school instrument and home instrument isn't an option on a couple different levels.

In 6th grade the students are supposed to be practicing 1/2 an hour every day (in addition to their class time). If the students only bring their instrument home on the weekends, they end up trying to fit 3 1/2 hours of practice into 2 days, followed by a 5 day break. I'm not sure that this schedule would really lend itself to any level of proficiency, although it is of course better than no practice at all.

DSS' lunch break is 22 minutes, followed by a 22 minute recess. With only 44 minutes break total, there really isn't time for him to practice, stand in the lunch line, and eat. I guess he could practice for 22 minutes during recess, but I think that he may be finishing lunch during recess some days already, if the lunch line is particularly long or slow. I know that a NY school provided a late bus and practice space at the school for students who wanted to practice after school. That seems like a lot of extra expense in bussing though, so I don't know if that would be a reasonable alternative for DSS' school or district.



Twik

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2012, 06:40:09 PM »
The school will more than likely not be able to do anything.

If they contract out their buses, then the school is not in charge of buses.  The company who owns them is and they are the ones who have to right to make their own rules.
 

I doubt that the company who owns the busses will be running them for the school board next year if they forbid children from taking things necessary to their education on the bus with them. This is not a trivial thing. To me, it is no different than if, after getting a contract to carry school children, the bus company announced that it was not allowing knapsacks or bookbags. If the children can't take their books to and from classes, that's not their problem, right?
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JanaL

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2012, 08:14:06 PM »
Former high school band director here.  We had this issue in my district, too. 

Ask the band director if there's a trombone at school your child can use or rent for a low fee for rehearsals.  Your child can bring his mouthpiece back and forth in a backpack easily, and keep your rental trombone at home.  You might even be able to rent another trombone from the same music store and negotiate a lower rate for this purpose.  If your child is uber-forgetful, you could even buy a mouthpiece for school- they're around $35- not too bad and last forever.

PLEASE talk to your band director.  He/She WILL want to hear about this problem, and will NOT want to lose a trombonist over such a bus issue.  This is a problem for a lot of school districts, which are frequently solved by kids sharing instruments at school between multiple bands(if bands rehearse at different times) so kids can keep the rental at home.  Trust me, your band director will want your child to have an instrument at home to practice, too.   PLEASE don't give up!  Help your child find a creative solution
to this issue- the social and cognitive benefits of playing a musical instrument are really worth it, I promise!   8)




JanaL

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2012, 08:24:24 PM »
Oh, and I forgot:  there are now plastic trombones that are actually decent sounding and fairly inexpensive, as far as bones go ($160) that may be useful for practice purposes.  Here's an example of a trombonist from the Canadian Brass (a very reputable group) demonstrating one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=141E9kYdkL8

It's called the Jiggs pBone. 

The tone quality isn't exactly the same as a brass one so it's not great for blending in band performances, but it's lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and may be a solution to this problem to provide a practice trombone at home. 

   

Acadianna

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2012, 09:01:53 PM »
I have to disagree with the advice to go to the band/choir director.  These people are in classrooms, they have plenty of responsibilities  and limited authority.  Transportation is usually beyond their scope so the most they would probably be able to do would be to go to the principal and explain that a parent is upset about this situation.  In my experience, it is taken more seriously when they hear from parents directly.

The reason I said go to the director/art people is because they know the politics. They can tell the OP weather to go to the building principal or the head of the arts department. I'm in the classroom, I don't mind fielding who do I complain to questions. Most teachers don't because they know the wrong complaint in the wrong ear can lead to an explosion, while the right complaint in the right ear leads to a solution.

What Kherbert said, but also -- if this is really a district/bus company policy -- then it will be up to the band teacher (not the principal) to figure out how students will practice at home without bringing home their instruments.  Otherwise, the band teacher can gather all the complaints (and I'm sure there are or will be many others about this issue) and present the problem to the principal all at once.

Like Kherbert, I'm also a teacher, and I never mind receiving complaints of any kind from my parents.  If I can fix the problem myself, I certainly will, but if not then I can easily refer them to the appropriate staff person.  (In special ed, this happens a lot, as the parents are very used to dealing mainly with the sped case manager.  We get it all, from bad test grades to conflicts with other students to lost hoodies they want me to track down.  I even get calls from parents whose students have moved on to other case managers!)

proudmama

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2012, 09:29:09 PM »
This needs to go to the principal - teachers aren't going to be in the same position to deal with the bus company as the head of the school.  I played the trombone and was allowed to bring my instrument on the bus just like everyone other than those who played instruments so large that the school had simply purchased them and allowed students to use them.

Our school district also purchased the large instruments, like cellos, for use during lessons at school.  The students must bring their own to performances.  My DS plays the violin.  Never an issue on the bus.

norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2012, 09:43:20 PM »
A lot of posters have suggested seeing if there is a trombone at school that DSS can use there. I don't think the school is going to have one, but I will definitely talk to the band director to see if I am mistaken about that, or if as one poster suggested perhaps DSS and another student in a different class can share an instrument at school. I do still want to give the director some time to grieve the loss of his mother, so that might be a good conversation to have if brainstorming with the principal/superintendent/director of the school board does not prove fruitful.

Unfortunately, I don't think it is going to be financially feasible for us to buy him a plastic practice trombone, or to rent a second instrument. But we are able to drop him off and pick him up, so he doesn't actually need a second instrument. I am trying to come to a resolution more for the sake of all the children, and the convenience that it would provide if we didn't have to transport every day is an added bonus.



JanaL

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2012, 10:00:33 PM »
I do still want to give the director some time to grieve the loss of his mother, so that might be a good conversation to have if brainstorming with the principal/superintendent/director of the school board does not prove fruitful.
(*snip*)
 I am trying to come to a resolution more for the sake of all the children, and the convenience that it would provide if we didn't have to transport every day is an added bonus.

I understand that the band director is currently in mourning, but I would not recommend that you go to the principal/superintendent levels for the sake of all the children without their knowledge or input- I think that will put the band director in a very awkward position if you do this without him.  Besides- when you go to the principal/superintendent, I think the first thing they're going to ask you is, "Did you talk to the teacher?  What did they say?" 

I think it's better to talk with the band director (when he comes back) about your plans to intervene "on behalf of all children."  He may be grateful to have you as an ally, and may have some deeper insight into this problem, along with the inability to say what may need to be said to solve this problem to the powers that be without getting reprimanded.  I really hope you'll talk to the band director about your plans first.  I hope this perspective may be helpful. 

Sharnita

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2012, 10:11:03 PM »
I do still want to give the director some time to grieve the loss of his mother, so that might be a good conversation to have if brainstorming with the principal/superintendent/director of the school board does not prove fruitful.
(*snip*)
 I am trying to come to a resolution more for the sake of all the children, and the convenience that it would provide if we didn't have to transport every day is an added bonus.

I understand that the band director is currently in mourning, but I would not recommend that you go to the principal/superintendent levels for the sake of all the children without their knowledge or input- I think that will put the band director in a very awkward position if you do this without him.  Besides- when you go to the principal/superintendent, I think the first thing they're going to ask you is, "Did you talk to the teacher?  What did they say?" 

I think it's better to talk with the band director (when he comes back) about your plans to intervene "on behalf of all children."  He may be grateful to have you as an ally, and may have some deeper insight into this problem, along with the inability to say what may need to be said to solve this problem to the powers that be without getting reprimanded.  I really hope you'll talk to the band director about your plans first.  I hope this perspective may be helpful.

I don't think it puts the band director in an awkward position at all.  It is a bussing problem, not a classroom problem.  It doesn't even happen during school hours but after school is over.

starry diadem

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2012, 03:05:09 AM »
Surely a key issue to address is the inconsistency?  If there's a policy of no instruments, why is the bus company making an exception for violins and violas?  That's already creating a sort of hierarchy, where some instruments are acceptable and some not.  The whole thing is a mess of half-baked policies being applied inconsistently, putting some children at a disadvantage.

I'd echo an earlier poster who asked if there was a similar ban on sports equipment being carried.  It's important this is approached as a matter of educational expectations  *and* one of equitable treatment.
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norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2012, 11:08:27 AM »
I do still want to give the director some time to grieve the loss of his mother, so that might be a good conversation to have if brainstorming with the principal/superintendent/director of the school board does not prove fruitful.
(*snip*)
 I am trying to come to a resolution more for the sake of all the children, and the convenience that it would provide if we didn't have to transport every day is an added bonus.

I understand that the band director is currently in mourning, but I would not recommend that you go to the principal/superintendent levels for the sake of all the children without their knowledge or input- I think that will put the band director in a very awkward position if you do this without him.  Besides- when you go to the principal/superintendent, I think the first thing they're going to ask you is, "Did you talk to the teacher?  What did they say?" 

I think it's better to talk with the band director (when he comes back) about your plans to intervene "on behalf of all children."  He may be grateful to have you as an ally, and may have some deeper insight into this problem, along with the inability to say what may need to be said to solve this problem to the powers that be without getting reprimanded.  I really hope you'll talk to the band director about your plans first.  I hope this perspective may be helpful.

I don't think it puts the band director in an awkward position at all.  It is a bussing problem, not a classroom problem.  It doesn't even happen during school hours but after school is over.

I'm thinking the same thing as Sharnita. I really feel like this is a problem that needs to be addressed at the level of whoever made and/or can change the "policy". If I cannot get the "policy" changed so that all children can bring their instruments on the busses, then I will want to work with the band director to see what other solutions we might be able to come up with. Ideally though, the school/district/bus company/whoever would realize that the policy of excluding instruments on the bus hurts the children, and would reconsider. Any other workarounds that I can think of are feasible, but less than ideal.
  • Practicing at school cuts into an already too short lunch/recess break
  • Practicing over the weekend leaves an undesirable gap of time without practice during the week
  • Sharing an instrument with another student means that 2 (or more) students now have access to an instrument that belongs to or is rented by only 1 of the students, and who is responsible is something happens to the instrument?
  • Purchasing a plastic practice instrument, or renting a 2nd instrument, will be out of some parents' budgets

And so on, and so forth. None of the possible alternatives are altogether unreasonable, they just aren't ideal. So I would like to save going that route until I've exhausted the possibility of instruments being allowed on the bus.

Now, I can see that the band director might have insight as to who I need to talk to, and/or what I need to say, to effect change. I can't imagine that me talking to anyone without going through the band director is going to get him reprimanded though, he has nothing to do with transportation issues! If he's back at school on Monday, maybe I can talk to him. If he continues to be out though, I really don't want to delay getting started on fixing this situation. Every day that the problem isn't resolved is another day that we have to transport DSS and his instrument, and that other students may not be able to practice at all because they don't have transportation.