Below is a letter going out to band parents, to address the fact that a number of middle school students were missing from our All Bands Night, without my prior knowledge. We'll see if it does the trick.
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All Bands Night is behind us, and was a great success. It is however a concern that many members of the band, all of whom I consider important, were not in attendance. I am compelled to take a look at our communications to see what I can do to help this, and to make sure that each family understands my expectations in terms of attending performances. Here are some important points in my philosophy about performance attendance:
Every member’s presence improves the sound of the band.
We all need to see ourselves as a gain in the quality of the group. Everyone in the band is either an accomplished player, or is fast headed in that direction. Performance experiences are gratifying and motivating, and be it in the long or short run, being there in performance is a benefit to everyone.
Performances need to take priority of practices or rehearsals.
I understand, and frankly revel in the fact, that music students are often well rounded and involved in many different things, and many demands are made of their schedules. Having said this, membership in the bands implies that we are preparing for performances. We only get this chance a handful of times in the course of the school year. I would never ask a student to miss a game or recital for one of my rehearsals. I expect students extend the same courtesy to their fellow band members when a performance conflicts with a dance rehearsal, athletic practice, or something alike. I can be flexible with call times in order to accommodate a compromise, but I do expect all students at all performances.
Call times are scheduled with the needs of the ensemble in mind, but also in respecting the needs of the families.
I try very hard not to absorb any more time than necessary, respecting meal times, homework, and other family situations. With that said, I ask and encourage the members to be punctual with call times for concerts, unless an arrangement has been made prior.
Emergencies do happen.
It is understood that illnesses and other emergencies come up. I hope that I am rational, fair, and understanding about these, but I do think it is reasonable to expect that they are communicated to me in a timely manner. I don’t want to go hunting this information down. Whenever possible, this should be communicated to me in advance, but certainly as soon after as possible.
FOR MY PART…
I know an important aspect of this is your having the information in a timely manner in which to plan. In order to make improvements in the area, I am including a tear-away sheet that will include as many e-mail addresses as you would like me to add into a list that updates you regularly with information about band performances and other news. I pledge to make improvements in this realm so that between us, we can create a better experience for our performances.