Monday, March 10, 2014

Classical Music In The Schools - Introducing The South Hadley Mandolin Orchestra to the Superintendent of Schools, Nick Young

I listened to a program on NPR a few days ago about Symphony Orchestras that are struggling to appeal to audiences. When I was a kid, every local school system had an orchestra, offered music lessons in school and had a robust music department. That's changed. Now I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of schools in Western MA that have orchestras (Amherst and East Longmeadow).

The problem isn't that classical music doesn't appeal to people. It does! Classical music offers something for everyone.

The problem is that there is no community support for orchestras in the schools any more. That has to change before anything else.

I had a meeting with Nick Young, the Superintendent of Schools for South Hadley High School last week. I wanted to talk to him about starting up a pilot String Program in the school. He was very interested. Of course there is no money for something like that in the schools, so it would have to be a parent-supported program, after school.

It's really a Catch-22 isn't it? There is no money in the budget for music, so parents, if they want their kids to learn music, have to pay out extra for it. Meanwhile there is always enough money for sports and athletic equipment.

I introduced the idea of the South Hadley Mandolin Orchestra, among other things. I think there is some interest there, but whether or not the kids will want to participate, is another matter

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Irish Dance Traditions

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