A Tale of Two Orchestras

Basmati's picture

Several years ago Booth Middle School formed a student orchestra. It was an immediate success, due in no small part to the frenetic, almost manic orchestra teacher. She pushed her students hard and she pushed them hard daily. But that hard work paid off and parents were treated to some spectacular concerts (listening to 30+ 2nd year violins, violas and basses thunder gleefully through Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was nothing short of incredible!).

In contrast, the level of instruction at McIntosh High School has been, well, a bit disappointing. The kids are now in the third week of classes, and the orchestra class has already had two administrative days and three “free” days where the kids are just given a study hall because the teacher did not feel like conducting those days. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but if your job description calls on you to teach an orchestra class, that’s what you are paid to do! At least my kid is in the advanced orchestra class…I’ve heard (anecdotally, take it with a grain of salt) that things are even worse in the intermediate orchestra class, that the teacher just doesn’t seem motivated to do anything with any kids other than the advanced class.

I’ve decided I need to keep a close eye on this situation. I think the fact that this county can field multiple student orchestras is a definite plus, and I’d hate to think of this nascent program withering on the vine for lack of dedicated instructors.

Basmati's blog | login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Basmati's picture
Submitted by Basmati on Fri, 09/22/2006 - 9:26am.

Like the referee often says: "Upon further review...."

I did follow up on my complaints from last month. I found that I have overreacted here.

Of those five dates when "nothing" went on, I found out that one of those days was devoted to paperwork for students who could not afford instruments, and two of those days the teacher was not in the classroom (the teacher was undergoing a two day mandatory offsite meeting for orchestral teachers and had a substitute).

In light of the above, and seeing marked improvement in my future ASO concert violinist, I'd like to state for the record that I am now a very pleased parent.

Submitted by ole sarge on Tue, 08/22/2006 - 6:17am.

Rather than complain on the blogs, a simple call to the MHS Principal would certainly light a fire under this teacher. It is Mrs. Fleming's job to ensure that the school is running properly. Advise her and sit back and watch the fireworks.

ImJustSaying's picture
Submitted by ImJustSaying on Sun, 08/20/2006 - 6:28pm.

Man am I ever going to sleep better tonight knowing your are keeping a close eye on the band program at MHS!!!!!!!

mhsxc07's picture
Submitted by mhsxc07 on Sun, 08/20/2006 - 11:41am.

I did not know this fact about our Orchestra program. Maybe I could talk to some of the Orchestra students that I know and convince them to take their own initiative through the teacher, what we often had to do with our old Track coach.
I used to play the violin myself but as college grew closer time grew sparse. I still enjoy orchestral music though. Anyone else love The Planets and The Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah?
It would be sad to see an orchestral program die.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.