We Will Be Playing Band Instruments in the 2020-2021 School Year!
The most recent announcement from Alberta Education permits for playing wind instruments in a classroom environment with proper protective gear and distancing restrictions. This is fantastic news, and means that we will be able to enjoy a full musical education experience sooner!
If you still want your student enrolled in Band, please contact the school as soon as possible to ensure we make whatever adjustments to your students schedule are necessary.
Music and the Arts Are Fundamental Components of Community Building (especially in the wake of a pandemic.)
Now more than ever we need our individuals, our communities, and our greater society to be as prepared as possible for whatever comes next. This means being able to work together (collaborative ability), build together (constructivity), think of improved solutions to both new and old problems (creativity), be kind and considerate to one another (community-mindedness), and full explore the human condition to the betterment of oneself and all around them (complete human development).
Music education is a subject that touches on each and every one of these features of humanness systematically and regularly. We want your children, our students in music to help build our future, and we’re working hard to make sure that music instruction remains relevant and accessible.
As of August 27, 2020, playing of musical instruments in classtime is only acceptable under very strict circumstances, including proper instrument protective equipment such as instrument covers. Therefore in-class playing will not begin until an adequate amount of this protective gear has arrived. In the meantime and following its arrival, part of the learning structure of concert bands will be to use instruments in the classroom without playing them, but expecting students to be playing (and recording) them at home. Tools are being developed in advance of the school year to ensure that even in this unusual circumstance, students will be able to play and learn a wind instrument in a way they will enjoy.
We anticipate that instruction will be phased in, beginning with outdoor instruction, and evolving into limited-time indoor instruction. If outdoor instruction takes place, special instructions will be given to those students who are live streaming to complete similar if not identical tasks to those students in the outdoor learning scenario. We are making all our plans based on the eventuality that full in-person musical performances will resume. We expect that at that point in time, live streamed lessons will stop in favour of the far superior learning experiences in person.
For students who are selecting the Live Streaming option, what is taught in the regular classroom is also what will be live streamed. Students will be expected to interact with their instruments in the same manner as in-school.
This plan to use instruments at the school in September is actually a good thing for beginning musicians. There will need to be a large focus on hygiene, instrument maintenance, body mechanics, and fundamental technical skills to begin band before wind playing can truly begin. In terms of selecting instruments, a strategy is being developed to help students make those selections, and to rent those instruments easily and safely.
It should be noted that if a student makes an instrument selection, and after a month of trying it out it turns out to have been the wrong choice, they are not forced to continue to play an instrument they don’t like. Solutions will be found to ensure your student loves their instrument and playing it.
Wind Instrument Rentals
Long and McQuade and Notre Dame Collegiate have worked out a solution for renting an instrument in a socially distanced way, by way of online forms as opposed to in-person rental nights. Details on this will be shared at the beginning of September. Grade 7 students will have an opportunity to try each instrument using proper cleaning protocols and choose their favorite prior to this rental night.
Tools All Music Students Will Need
As a result of the many changes that will happen to protect every student and staff members’ safety, we will be making many procedural changes, and that means we will need a variety of different tools to do so effectively. The following are tools every student will need, provided by the school or otherwise;
Live Streamed Lessons
Mr. Windsor is one of many teachers who are piloting a Live Streamed option for students. As is described in Christ the Redeemer’s Live Streaming Guide, teacher participation is voluntary, and instruction is delivered in real-time. Students may choose to switch between regular classes and live streaming with Principal Approval only, so as to ensure a consistent learning environment for all students. There are some expectations of families who choose to use this option, described in detail in the Christ the Redeemer Live Streaming Guide sent to families by Mrs. Deklerk;
We’re hoping to ensure the most consistent, high quality level of education possible for all students using this Live Streaming option, regardless of what scenarios eventually play out. We thank you for your patience as we learn new ways of delivering incredible educational experiences for your children.
Students Switching Temporarily to Online School
At this time we are not able to include off-campus students in our music classes to ensure we adhere to contact tracing and cohorting protocols in place. As such, we are encouraging students to enroll at NDC, and take advantage of the live streamlining option instead.
Alternative Music Instruction in the 2020-2021 School Year!
While Concert Bands are the most common method of music instruction in Alberta, Notre Dame Collegiate offers many unique music courses outside the regular schedule that very few other schools in the province offer. These include String Ensemble, Stage Bands and Steel Pans. Particularly for Strings and Steel Pans, there are no restrictions beyond regular classroom restrictions for these ensembles, and so can begin immediately.
We're In this Together
We’re all learning how to get used to this new normal. Research is working at a breakneck speed (as far as research goes) to make sure we know the best solutions possible for a safe, caring, and valuable musical education experience, and Mr. Windsor is staying on top of that research. With families’ support, and through great teamwork with Mr. Windsor and the students, your students will still receive an excellent music education.
Joel Windsor, MME, RMT
Notre Dame Collegiate Music Specialist
Mr. Windsor will provide you with some interesting hints, help, advice, and resources on this page.