It seems that all literature in my possession these days has this common theme: COLLABORATION. Whether it is Michael Fullan referring to education reform and the need for schools to be redesigned, and for various levels of collaboration (teacher, school, community, etc.), or it is Charlie Hartsoe giving us a history of the NRPA, with including a community music specialist on staff (collaborating with agencies locally, nationwide, and internationally)…the message is COLLABORATION.

In the public schools, or at least here in my (former) employer, the move toward collaborative operation was, at least, attempted. “Academies” were designed with teams of teachers developing integrated lessons (unless it is the “engineering academy” where the program was purchased…), and within some departments, more focused attempts were made to be consistent in the content delivery.

As a music department, it becomes less clear and a bit more murky.  At my school, we kind of collaborated — every two years on the full musical; and most every spring, although it’s a stretch, for the area band/orchestra festivals.  I mean, we accomplished these activities together, but to say we “collaborated” for student learning may be a stretch.

Meanwhile, down at the elementary schools, the option to learn an instrument was eliminated.  Sure, the students “go to music” once per week, but the added level of active music performance and instrument learning is not an option until 6th grade — and that is if you go to one of our middle schools that allows you to have an “elective.”  You see, in our “unified school district,” all aspects are not unified.

What resources are in our communities already?  What resources are on these 29 or so elementary school sites?  How can we COLLABORATE to provide opportunities for young citizens to learn an instrument?  How do we, to use a farming metaphor, plow through the potentially fertile soil of our elementary school population to become a healthy, thriving, and growing community of children learning to play instruments, both individually and socially?

You can find a way to “pay to play” at some places in the area, but how can this be an integral component to our community growth?  How do we come together, in spite of standards and credentials and unions, to do the right thing?  Can we?  Should we?  Are there interested parties out there?


About mundyviar

Basil Mundy Viar, III, is a newly relocated music teacher in the Palm Springs Unified School District of California, USA. For the past 18 years, he served the students and families within the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. In this role, he discovered the need for a reevaluation of the roles, purposes, and directions of scholastic music in a changing community and in a changing economy. The direction of his doctoral work was largely influenced by this experience. He researches the attitudes, levels of satisfaction, and lifelong learning effects of music training both inside and outside of the traditional school experience, with an eye on the roles that community based organizations may play in this. Prior to his assignment as a public school music teacher, Dr. Viar served as a Program Director for the Blue Devils, an internationally revered youth organization dedicated to performance excellence, also based in Concord, California, USA. During his time with the Blue Devils, the "B" Corps was reinvigorated and performed with renewed excitement, proficiency, and levels of success. Under Dr. Viar's guidance, BDB performed in the 1997 Drum Corps International World Championships in Orlando, Florida, and the 1998 World Marching Band Festival in Kanagawa Prefecture Japan. Basil Mundy Viar, III, is a graduate of the Transformative Inquiry Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies (PhD) in San Francisco, California, USA. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of California, Berkeley; Single Subject Teaching Credential from the Bay Area College of Chapman University in Orange, California; and a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Community and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University of Richmond, Virginia, USA.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s