Author Topic: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Updates #39, 70  (Read 15660 times)

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Girlie

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #45 on: October 01, 2012, 02:48:35 PM »
First - congrats on your son being given such a wonderful instrument! I love the trombone. I don't play, but my DH does, and it's wonderful!

Second - I just wanted to chime in and say that when we were in school. the policy was that band students had to be able to fit their instruments in their laps to take them on the bus during the week, and they were allowed to take them on weekends if they could fit under the seats. They were not allowed to take seat space, however.

norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #46 on: October 01, 2012, 03:07:00 PM »
First - congrats on your son being given such a wonderful instrument! I love the trombone. I don't play, but my DH does, and it's wonderful!

Second - I just wanted to chime in and say that when we were in school. the policy was that band students had to be able to fit their instruments in their laps to take them on the bus during the week, and they were allowed to take them on weekends if they could fit under the seats. They were not allowed to take seat space, however.

Why were they allowed to transport them under the seats on Fridays, but not Monday-Thursday?



Girlie

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #47 on: October 01, 2012, 03:16:23 PM »
I think it was considered a compromise between the band parents and the transportation department. They were allowed to bring the larger instruments home then because they didn't get class time with them. Of course, I don't know how that worked out with the other high school in our district that didn't have hourly scheduling like we did (so that you went to every class every day). They had a block schedule, so they had days when they didn't have band practice during the week. I don't know if they treated them differently.  :-\

Virg

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #48 on: October 01, 2012, 04:02:46 PM »
Yvaine wrote:

"Agreed. Picking violins and violas only seems like it's favoring not smaller instruments, but instruments considered more "highbrow," which is just silly."

My guess isn't that they favor violins, just that that's the instrument they chose for rule of thumb, and I'd bet that any instrument that's smaller and lighter than a violin would be allowed on the bus (except oboes, which as we all know shouldn't be allowed anywhere near children who might be tempted to play them).  Besides, I've seen cell phones larger than a piccolo case, so you could avoid that argument by putting it in your backpack.

artk2002 wrote:

"School busses normally have cargo space underneath -- it would be a pain for the driver, but the "it won't fit" argument doesn't work in light of that."

Maybe your busses are different from the ones I've seen, but I've never seen a standard yellow school bus with underside cargo space, unless you mean the space under the seats.

norrina wrote:

"To me, the control requirement makes sense, but the lap requirement does not, because DSS could place the trombone upright on the floor, held between his knees, and it would present no more of a safety issue that if it was on his lap, because he can control it. I also doubt that the students are all holding their backpacks on their lap; I know when I was in school we threw them on the floor. If need be though, he could put the trombone on his lap, it would just be stick up about a foot above his head."

This is a tough call, because the issue of control is more than just keeping it under control under normal circumstances.  I agree he could hold a trombone case in his lap for a normal ride, but I seriously doubt his ability to control it if the bus went off the road and it could seriously injure him or others in that case (sorry about that pun) where a smaller or lighter instrument would be easier to hang on to.  Moreover, in an accident, a four foot rigid case is much more likely to block egress than a backpack which is generally soft and rarely more than two feet to a side, so again I see the reason why there's a restriction in the first place.  The best solution would be a cage (which someone mentioned earlier as bins in the back of the bus) or bus seat legs that are designed to allow the case to slide under the seat for travel.

Virg

artk2002

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #49 on: October 01, 2012, 04:36:38 PM »
artk2002 wrote:

"School busses normally have cargo space underneath -- it would be a pain for the driver, but the "it won't fit" argument doesn't work in light of that."

Maybe your busses are different from the ones I've seen, but I've never seen a standard yellow school bus with underside cargo space, unless you mean the space under the seats.

They may be different, but I'm talking about the yellow busses that I've seen. There's a row of doors along the side right at the bottom on the ones that I've seen.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Sirius

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #50 on: October 01, 2012, 04:45:42 PM »
Only violins and violas are allowed on the bus?  That's strange.  What about piccolos and flutes, and clarinets, all of which take up less room?  While I could see having issues about sousaphones, tubas, and double basses on a school bus, only allowing stringed instruments is ridiculous. 

Edited to add:  I've got a larger clarinet case than most (mine is about the size of a brief case) and I never had issues with it being too big for a school bus. 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 04:47:23 PM by Sirius »

norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #51 on: October 01, 2012, 05:07:52 PM »
Norrina wrote:

"To me, the control requirement makes sense, but the lap requirement does not, because DSS could place the trombone upright on the floor, held between his knees, and it would present no more of a safety issue that if it was on his lap, because he can control it. I also doubt that the students are all holding their backpacks on their lap; I know when I was in school we threw them on the floor. If need be though, he could put the trombone on his lap, it would just be stick up about a foot above his head."

This is a tough call, because the issue of control is more than just keeping it under control under normal circumstances.  I agree he could hold a trombone case in his lap for a normal ride, but I seriously doubt his ability to control it if the bus went off the road and it could seriously injure him or others in that case (sorry about that pun) where a smaller or lighter instrument would be easier to hang on to.  Moreover, in an accident, a four foot rigid case is much more likely to block egress than a backpack which is generally soft and rarely more than two feet to a side, so again I see the reason why there's a restriction in the first place.  The best solution would be a cage (which someone mentioned earlier as bins in the back of the bus) or bus seat legs that are designed to allow the case to slide under the seat for travel.

Virg

Except that this particular bus driver and the bussing company are allowing violins and violas, so if it is a safety issue, a trombone case is not any harder to control than a viola, and both cases are hard side (so is a backpack, when it's packed full of 20 pounds of books...).  In at least one school district with the "control" restriction on instruments, there was a list of what instruments a student was deemed able to control, depending on grade level. A 6th grade was deemed able to control a trombone.

I don't like the instrument restriction at all, because of the impediment to music study that it presents. If there is a rational basis in safety though, I could respect that. I cannot conceive of any rational safety basis for allowing a viola but not a trombone. And there are instruments significantly smaller than a violin but still too large to "hide" in a backpack, for instance, a trumpet, that are presumably disallowed because they are not excepted from the exclusion. It seems very arbitrary to me.



Sharnita

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #52 on: October 01, 2012, 05:12:04 PM »
I believe in the OP the driver said clarinets and flutes were allowed.

norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #53 on: October 01, 2012, 05:36:47 PM »
I believe in the OP the driver said clarinets and flutes were allowed.

DSS said he was told only clarinets and flutes. When I called the bussing company, they told me only violins and violas, but I presume a clarinet or flute could be "smuggled" aboard in a backpack and thus never be an issue as long as it wasn't discovered.



artk2002

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #54 on: October 01, 2012, 06:48:11 PM »
I believe in the OP the driver said clarinets and flutes were allowed.

DSS said he was told only clarinets and flutes. When I called the bussing company, they told me only violins and violas, but I presume a clarinet or flute could be "smuggled" aboard in a backpack and thus never be an issue as long as it wasn't discovered.

Sounds like someone said "about the size of a violin or viola" or "about the size of a clarinet and flute" and some less-than-intelligent people took those to be the only things allowed.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Dindrane

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #55 on: October 01, 2012, 10:55:54 PM »
Personally, I can't imagine taking any instrument larger than about a violin on the bus every day. I played the cello starting in sixth grade, and I don't think I ever took it on the bus with me. On the rare occasions that I needed it while at school, I'm pretty sure my parents arranged to drop me off and pick me up. Granted, the bus I rode was packed as full as legally allowed, so there'd have been no room.

In the 7 years that I was in public school orchestras, though, I never knew one that didn't have "stock" cellos and basses. I think they had a similar set-up for the larger band instruments (although I never paid much attention to those). The instruments available for my use were kind of terrible, but they were good enough to play on in class, and I had my own instrument at home for practicing and performances.

I would say that, in all honesty, the only long-term solution for any music program is to ensure that all instruments are either transportable on the bus, or supplied by the school for use during class. Other ways of arranging music education just makes it much harder for some students to actually participate (and means that you'll have an even larger flood of people who really want to play the flute or the violin).


norrina

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #56 on: October 01, 2012, 11:29:00 PM »
Personally, I can't imagine taking any instrument larger than about a violin on the bus every day. I played the cello starting in sixth grade, and I don't think I ever took it on the bus with me. On the rare occasions that I needed it while at school, I'm pretty sure my parents arranged to drop me off and pick me up. Granted, the bus I rode was packed as full as legally allowed, so there'd have been no room.

In the 7 years that I was in public school orchestras, though, I never knew one that didn't have "stock" cellos and basses. I think they had a similar set-up for the larger band instruments (although I never paid much attention to those). The instruments available for my use were kind of terrible, but they were good enough to play on in class, and I had my own instrument at home for practicing and performances.

I would say that, in all honesty, the only long-term solution for any music program is to ensure that all instruments are either transportable on the bus, or supplied by the school for use during class. Other ways of arranging music education just makes it much harder for some students to actually participate (and means that you'll have an even larger flood of people who really want to play the flute or the violin).

The school does of course have stock percussion equipment, but I don't know if they have cellos, basses or tubas. DSS' trombone really isn't difficult to transport though. He can carry it easily with one hand, and it fits in the front seat, back seat, or trunk of my sedan. I imagine this is also true of trumpets, basoons, oboes, french horns, probably even a saxaphone. The same cannot be said for cellos, basses, and tubas.

DSS has band class every day. He is expected to have his instrument for class, and must complete an in-class vocabulary assignment if he does not have his instrument. Individual playing tests are given weekly. He is to practice a minimum of 20 minutes/day, 5 days/week, and his practice time is to be recorded on a practice sheet and signed off on by a parent. If he is unable to practice one day due to an unavoidable conflict he may make the time up another day, but "equally distributed practice time is best to promote success." (This is all directly from his band handbook.)

So DSS really needs to be able to bring his instrument back and forth to school every day to really be in full compliance with class expectations. Additionally, the handbook notes that instruments kept in the band room are there at the students own risk, and "Instruments should be taken home at the end of EVERY day." (Emphasis in the original.)



guihong

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #57 on: October 02, 2012, 07:37:37 AM »
My son plays the trombone in his middle school band.  The teacher doesn't have illusions that they are going to practice during the week (what about kids in apartments?), and so he leaves his instrument in the band room and brings it home on Fridays.  It just seems as if the band teacher has you in a no-win situation.



camlan

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #58 on: October 02, 2012, 08:07:43 AM »


The school does of course have stock percussion equipment, but I don't know if they have cellos, basses or tubas. DSS' trombone really isn't difficult to transport though. He can carry it easily with one hand, and it fits in the front seat, back seat, or trunk of my sedan. I imagine this is also true of trumpets, basoons, oboes, french horns, probably even a saxaphone. The same cannot be said for cellos, basses, and tubas.

DSS has band class every day. He is expected to have his instrument for class, and must complete an in-class vocabulary assignment if he does not have his instrument. Individual playing tests are given weekly. He is to practice a minimum of 20 minutes/day, 5 days/week, and his practice time is to be recorded on a practice sheet and signed off on by a parent. If he is unable to practice one day due to an unavoidable conflict he may make the time up another day, but "equally distributed practice time is best to promote success." (This is all directly from his band handbook.)

So DSS really needs to be able to bring his instrument back and forth to school every day to really be in full compliance with class expectations. Additionally, the handbook notes that instruments kept in the band room are there at the students own risk, and "Instruments should be taken home at the end of EVERY day." (Emphasis in the original.)

I'd play up the conflict between the bus company's policy and the fact that instruments aren't safe if they are kept at school. When you bring the matter up to the principal, ask for specifics on how parents are supposed to handle a situation where the instruments can't be taken back and forth to school, can't be kept at school, and daily practice at home is required.

A lot of parents can't take their kids back and forth to school daily. A lot of parents can't afford to buy or rent two instruments, especially if there's a chance that one of them might be stolen if left at school.

It's up to the school officials and the bus company to sort this out. They need to take the parents and the kids out of the middle of this mess.

The bus company could modify their policy, or it could be that the policy is someone's wishful thinking and not really a rule. The school could accept the fact that they can't have a band or orchestra until they find a bus company willing to work with them, or they can buy enough instruments that can be kept securely at school for student use, or they can negotiate with the bus company.

This is not an issue that should be costing the parents time or money.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Brockwest

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Re: Musical Instruments on the School Bus. Mini Update #39
« Reply #59 on: October 02, 2012, 08:27:43 AM »
You may want to advise the school that theft of band instruments, in particular metal instruments has become the norm, so it is unsafe to leave the instument at school. (Thieves are selling them for scrap metal.) In our area, schools are coming in on Monday and finding all metal instruments stolen over the week-end.