In the last 5 months, there have been so many opportunities for personal and professional growth during this very uncertain time. We’ve seen people and companies give of their time and resources to come together and help our programs and our students in ways that we have never seen. We have watched as many people have put on their thinking caps and have not given up, when that would have been easiest thing to do, but have blazed a trail using various kinds of technology to show us that we can do what we do in so many different ways, and that brings us all to today.
Today we are looking at the new school year and as I write this, there are still so many questions. I know that ALL of us want answers. We want them now. Actually, we wanted them five months ago. But the reality is that we can only take each moment, and with the best information that we have, do the very best that we can for our students. The last three ABA PD sessions have been great. One on ways to fund our programs without selling anything, and two that were extremely motivational during a time when we need positive things to help propel us back to what we do as teachers. Jerell Horton made a great point that resonated with me again, one that I heard very early in my career, we need each other to get through the things that we are going through and we are better when we lean into and learn from others whose teaching styles, opinions, etc. may be different than ours. This helps us grow as a person and as an educator and will hopefully make us better for our students.
I wish I could tell you there will not be challenges in the days ahead, but there will be. I wish I could tell you that you will agree with all the decisions that your local LEA makes, the AMEA leadership makes and the ABA leadership makes, but again we are human and this won’t be the case. But I do know that if we allow ourselves the ability to take a step back and soak in the reasoning behind decisions, even if we disagree with them, I bet we can then have the discussions that need to take place to help pave the way for decisions in the future. Also, to help these decisions before they are made, we need to be advocates for music education that our administration and local school districts turn to for questions about the arts. This takes time to cultivate but is well worth the effort for you to put into being the calm presence that has the well thought through plan, that is fact driven. If we want to have our seat at the table, it takes ALL OF US cultivating the relationship at the local level being the go to person for the arts.
Things to think about in the days ahead:
1. Plan for Fall activities –
a. Plan for traditional with modifications, a hybrid option and a possible virtual option
i. Remember, if you fail to plan you have planned to fail!!!!
2. Start now planning Concert Band literature your band for the next academic year – and how you might have to do Virtual concerts and live stream these or record these and make them available to parents
3. It’s not too late to recruit – put together a video of your leadership students encouraging younger students to be in band –ASSUME THAT ALL YOUR UPCOMING STUDENTS ARE GOING TO BE IN BAND AND GO AFTER THEM!!!!!!!!!
a. Go back and watch the Peter Boonshaft PD session and the Jerrell Horton PD session for some great ideas here
- Use this time to market your program in a positive way!!!
- Look at your finances and how you will manage them in the Fall since most of us missed a fundraiser
Upcoming ABA events
Solo and Ensemble – Our bylaws allow for Solo and Ensemble to occur anytime from October through May. Each district has been encouraged to offer two solo and ensemble events next school year for our students. This is something for each district to discuss and see what works best for your district.
AMEA 2021 – All legislation that was going to be voted on at the All State festival (2020), will be moved to the 2021 AMEA conference so that the membership will have the opportunity to discuss the legislation before we vote on the legislation.
AMEA has a Music Teaching Resource page at myamea.us where we can all go to find resources to help during this time. You can also place your ideas and resources here to help us build this site. Also, remember be proactive and positive as we move forward. The future of our programs will depend upon how we handle this time with our students and their families.
Stay focused on what really matters, and that’s the students!!! How can we do what we do for our students in whatever form teaching will take this Fall. Face to Face, Hybrid, A and B days, Virtual. How can we give them the absolute BEST experience whatever the platform learning takes this Fall?
This is your association. Let us all strive to make it better so that we can serve the students and the bands in our state better. We are ABA and together we CAN do great things!!