I know this topic is discussed every year but I want to re-visit the success of the administrative change to 4/5 strings based on budgetary demands versus academic demands.
The 4/5 strings was changed to once a week this year from twice a week last year. The choices the board juggled was no strings in 4/5, twice a week 5th only, or once a week 4/5 strings due to the budget cuts. While I applaud the board for trying to work with the community I would love some feedback on how the once a week 4/5 decision is working at other schools.
For my daughter, and I can only speak for her and a few of her friends, this is what we have experienced………
In fourth grade, my daughter and several of her friends loved strings once they got the hang of it. She practiced all the time, played for her 95 year old grandmother in Texas on her birthday, took a summer strings camp provided by MSCR, and even (with not much whining)talked me into renting a violin over the summer so she could play.
In her fifth grade class, there are 35 kids in her strings class, twice as many as last year. She also only has class on Thursday. This month she has had a Teacher Conference, field trip, testing, and Thanksgiving break on Thursday and therefore she has not had strings in a month. Due to the class size half of the time is spend tuning the instruments and the other half seems frustrating to my daughter as there are so many kids and so little time.
I do not want to see 4/5 strings eliminated but would like to re-evaluate. If we only have limited funds perhaps I was wrong and it should just be for 5th graders twice a week, or perhaps it is just my child’s class that is unrewarding to her as each teacher/school has its own style. I miss listening to her enthusiatic practice as she hardly ever plays her violin anymore. What is happening at other schools? The district makes so many decisions (like pairing schools, combining classes, etc..) based on economics and not academic studies and I wonder if we are EVALUATING the success of these decisions along the way.