School cutting orchestra next year
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  1. #1
    Registered User Booklover's Avatar
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    Default School cutting orchestra next year

    My son just started playing violin this year with lessons through the school. Yesterday he brought home a notice that the funding was cut for it, and if we wanted lessons we would have to pay ourselves.

    This year he has orchestra twice a week. If I want that for him next year, I have to pay $2,100 for the year!

    It went on to say that if they can get 3 students, the cost would be $10.00 a session. 7 students would be $5.00, and 10 would be $3.00. This is a very small school, and I doubt they will get 10 kids. I still wouldn't like it, but it's doable.

    I will have 2 in the program in 2 years. I already pay for 3 kids to have piano lessons. I don't begrudge the money, but gee whiz, once again not ONE sports program was cut. However, next on the chopping block will be foreign languages. My opinion is the priorities are really, really messed up.

    The school is asking for any other ways to fund orchestra. We already do the scrip program (the only public school in my district to do so, I believe) which pays for so many things already.

    Anyone have any ideas what we could do for money? I know they will do the usual candy bars, etc., but we really need new ideas.

    Any help will be appreciated, as I firmly believe that these subjects make a child a well-rounded person. We don't want to give up our music unless there just is no other way.

  2. #2
    Moderator beks37's Avatar
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    Wow that's awful! I was in band from 6th through 12th grade and I loved it. It is quite an experience and I can't believe the schools are cutting it. The schools here have the music programs on their list of most valued programs and they say they won't cut it.

    Sorry I don't have any real ideas on how to get the money....

  3. #3
    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    I don't have any advice on the money. Except where I live private lesson would be cheaper than the $2,100 a year is that a thought if they don't get many students?

    I do want to give you a Big Hug

    We are possibly still facing music cuts here to. But it is being fought tooth and nail.

    They are thinking of cutting orchestra up to middle school (band doesn't start here until 6th). Middle school and high school orchestra and band are still safe. They are also thinking of going with the pay to play concept for the orchestra for fourth and fifth. They already have pay to play here for all sports.

    My mom says we should consider ourselves lucky as the town over cut the orchestra at all levels clear through high school.

    Again Big hug
    "Everyday as your walking down the street, everybody that you meet has an original point of view" -Arthur PBS

    Imagine - Wife of 20 years to Hubby
    Mom to Buddy (son 17) and Little Miss ( daughter 13)

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    Registered User MaryCarney's Avatar
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    I'm not unsympathetic, but as a homeschooler, this is exactly what close to a million of us have been doing for decades - set up your own program and pay for it yourselves!
    For example, is there a nearby college with a music department?Student internship opportunity!
    How about a church music minister looking for some extra cash?
    How about a talented parent?
    There are ways to make this happen, but you cannot depend on a government run school to do it.

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    Registered User Booklover's Avatar
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    I understand that, Mary. I used to send my children to private school, and also paid twice for everything-public schools through taxes, and then our own tuition for three kids.

    I am still funding other private music lessons.

    My beef is the priority of the cuts, and the so-called "sacred cows" of the school districts.

    I put money into other childrens' lunch accounts if I know their parents are having a hard time. I am a taxpayer, and always pony up for the other guy. To say I expect the government to pay for my child is a bit offensive.

    The question was what can the SCHOOL do keep the program. The administrator has asked for ideas. No one is looking for a handout.

  6. #6
    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    I had and idea for money.

    Are there any grants your school could apply for?

    Are there any arts groups that would like to help out? Maybe with "scholarships" or blanket donations?

    How about any organizations or groups that would want to help? I know the police department stepped in and saved our after school program (another program no the music) by letting the program be part of their "keep kids off the street" efforts.

    Hubby and I were discussing cuts and the "scared cows" he says that sports are often times not cut because it can be a money maker or at least seen that way. After all people pay to see them play.

    Our high school orchestra earns money by being hired to perform places.

    Just some ideas
    "Everyday as your walking down the street, everybody that you meet has an original point of view" -Arthur PBS

    Imagine - Wife of 20 years to Hubby
    Mom to Buddy (son 17) and Little Miss ( daughter 13)

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    Registered User hollyhill's Avatar
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    I also agree.. music is essential. But so is sports (I am sitting on the fence).
    My youngest is a gifted violinist my 15 year old plays cello and writes music. My 18 year played piano for years (but is a gifted athlete...).
    My children's lessons came through a music academy. Their private lesson fees are from $1200 to $1750 a year, but orchestra, chamber groups, special groups, technical classes are free.

    Some of best ways we have raised money (mostly for trips but some for support) are

    Busking- get a group of the better players together (2 to 4 is a good number) rehearse a program and go to farmer's markets, fairs and festivals and open the violin case and play. Put out the sign board and say what the money is for. People can be so generous!
    Right now my daughter is busking at farmer's markets alone or with one other child to raise funds to go on a performance tour in scotland this summer with her celtic group. They need to raise the funds for airline tickets for themselves and the instructors (2 of them) but everything else is covered by the scottish festival board.

    By busking with her little sign out (please help me get to Aberdeen) she makes $30 to $75 an hour (depends on the weather) and at the farmer's markets she has been "adopted" by vendors and they give her loaves of bread, cookies, organic cheese, beaded jewelery etc... all ending up in her violin case LOL!

    The next most profitable event is performing at a major community event and make a deal with the organizers to host a silent auction at the same time. Get donations from community businesses (Coffee and gas GC's, plants, baskets etc etc).

    This nets us $1500 to $2000 depending on the items donated...

    And last but not least.

    A bottle drive after New Years. If you do this yearly the neighborhood will save their recyclables for you. Every year we make more.
    First year it was $1300 and now we are up to $2500 each time.

    So those are our biggest money makers with the least amount of effort..

  8. #8
    Registered User Booklover's Avatar
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    Fantastic! These are all wonderful ideas! The bottle won't work here as Wisconsin doesn't pay anything. We just recycle them.

    Keep the ideas coming!

    I'm going to send all of these to our administrator. He really wants to keep music in the schools. I just feel there should be balance in their cuts, not all in some fields and none in others. But I hear you on sports making the money (for the city, too) with hotels, restaurants, etc. making more money on these events.

    There was an article in our paper yesterday about how this might be the last year for our high school to perform their musicals because of funding. That would be a shame! Those are such talented students!

    Anyway, if push comes to shove and we can't raise enough money, I'll go the way of private lessons. The parents of the school though are the type to pull together and make things happen-we just didn't know which way to go.

    I'm starting to feel excited about this now!

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    Registered User Liane's Avatar
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    Unfortunately lots of schools are cutting back. For fundraising you could have a craft fair and charge for each space. Or raffle tickets. Our school has chinese auctions. Maybe you can get some local businesses to sponsor the program. Don't give up, there are lots of options. You could get together with other parents whose children are in the orchestra and pick each other's brains.

  10. #10
    Registered User Booklover's Avatar
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    Yes, the parents will be getting together. Now we have some unique ideas instead of the usual.

    What is a Chinese auction?

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    Registered User MaryCarney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booklover View Post
    I understand that, Mary. I used to send my children to private school, and also paid twice for everything-public schools through taxes, and then our own tuition for three kids.

    I am still funding other private music lessons.

    My beef is the priority of the cuts, and the so-called "sacred cows" of the school districts.

    I put money into other childrens' lunch accounts if I know their parents are having a hard time. I am a taxpayer, and always pony up for the other guy. To say I expect the government to pay for my child is a bit offensive.

    The question was what can the SCHOOL do keep the program. The administrator has asked for ideas. No one is looking for a handout.
    Again, I meant no offense, and I did not communicate clearly my real point - it's this - you cannot depend on a committee of governement employees to do the right thing!

    In no way did I read your post to mean you were looking for a handout, and if my response indicated that I did, please accept my apology. I just meant that there are ways around the machinations of the committee that decided that music is somehow not important!

  12. #12
    Registered User joyofsix's Avatar
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    I would solicit civic groups, sororities, etc for support.
    A benefit concert? Make it a parents night out with dinner and babysitting all at one location?
    Have someone investigate any grant money that might exist?
    Not sure how big your community is but in our itty bitty part of the world a jar next to cash registers at local business' works. Just put on the jar the plight of the orchestra.

  13. #13
    Registered User Booklover's Avatar
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    I apologize for being short-tempered, Mary. You did nothing wrong- I read more into your post than you had put there. It is really I who needs to beg your pardon.

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    My junior high/high school often set up small groups to play at various different places, sometimes just for donations. It's fun for the students and helps bring in money.

    Also, candy sales work really well ESPECIALLY if you can get the school to enforce a "allowed in class" policy. I've seen it done where you go through and organization but I've also seen the "buy in bulk and resell for a profit" method.

    One of the more fun activities that we did was a "play-a-thon". We had 24 hours worth of kids playing their instruments. We asked for sponsorship from different neighborhood businesses, family, friends, etc. The sponsorship amounts were either per piece played, per hour played, or flat.

    My friend's school did something that I thought was particularly neat and would have loved to do: they turned the gymnasium into a "Fancy Italian Restaurant" and had various different groups playing all night... some solo, doubles, trios, quads, and, a couple of times the whole orchestra. They put up fliers around the neighborhood, went door to door inviting people, called businesses and asked them to purchase tickets or perhaps donate product or store credit for purchasing things for the meal. It was mostly spaghetti and meatballs, but everyone still loved it. It was a HUGE hit.

  15. #15
    Moderator mauimagic's Avatar
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    Hate to see this happening. Have you figured out how much you would need to raise to support the continuation of the classes? Bet there are a lot of private citizens/businesses who would be willing to donate towards such a good cause - especially if you have the detailed information to share with them.

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