Friday 4 September 2020

Band: Your Immediate Questions Answerd

Welcome back! 
Band may look different, but we are here and we are still making wonderfully fun music!

Stay tuned for more information but for now......

Your Top 10 Questions Answered:

1.  Safe?
  • I am up to date on all of the recent research and recommendations for operating a band program and making music during these unprecedented times and we have implemented as many as we possibly can.
  • The protocols we are putting in place are in no way unique to Westwood. These protocols are being tried and tested by our musical colleagues throughout the world.
  • I am continuously getting updates and am remaining flexible to adapt to any changes in these protocols.
  • I have the support of an amazing team of administrators that have not hesitated with the implementation of any of our new protocols.
  • I am a member of the Manitoba Music Educators Association and the Manitoba Band Association and these two groups have been in contact with our Health Minister, Minister of Education and Chief Provincial Health Officer and have helped shaped the provincial back to school document for music making entitled: Covid-19 Guidelines for Vocalists and Instrumentalists.
2.  Masks?
  • LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN FOR EVERYONE - MANDATORY in the band room - for your safety and the safety of others.  
  • For us in addition to contact transmission, it's all about aerosol mitigation. The good news is that with proper masking, band is no more risky than talking (some studies are even suggesting even less).
  • Therefore, No student will be permitted to enter without one.
  • We will be issuing disposable masks which students will cut a horizontal "slit" in them for the placement of the instrument mouthpiece.  
  • Once we have established proper placement for the "slit," we will be asking that each student get a hold of a cloth washable reusable mask which they use specifically for band.
3.  I've heard talk of instrument masking?
  • Absolutely! Anything we can use as a mitigating factor to the dispersal of aerosol from an instrument will be used.
  • At a great expense to the school, each student will be receiving a  custom made instrument mask of their own free of charge.  These are a one-of-a kind reusable washable aerosol mitigation filter.
  • Once in place, students will be asked to bring them home and wash them.
4.  Will my child be sharing an instrument?
  • Not at all.  There is absolutely NO sharing of instruments.
  • Each student will have their own instrument and mouthpiece.
  • further to that, there is no sharing of: pencils, valve oil, cork grease, music or folders.
  • We will be renting instruments, as always, and these have gone through an extensive sterilization over the summer along with a deep cleaning... including the cases. 
5.  Can they leave their instrument in the band room?
  • As part of the new protocols, students with smaller instruments (Flute, Piccolo and Clarinet) cannot leave them in the band room.  They will have to bring them to class each day and take them with them at the end of each class.
  • Medium instruments will follow the same protocol with the one exception that these students will be issued an instrument locker outside of the band room where they will store their instrument when not in use. These would be: Trumpet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Alto Clarinet, Alto sax and some Tenor Saxes.
  • Large instruments will be stored in the band room under strict protocols. These would be: Trombones, French Horns, Bari Saxes, Baritones, Euphonium, Tubas and String Basses.
 6.  What about percussionists?
  • No sharing of mallets or auxiliary instruments.
  • Mallets and mallet instruments/ drums/ etc. will be wiped down and disinfected following a strict protocol at the end of each class.
7.  A to K and L to Z ...  my child does not even get band, as band class happens on the day opposite to the day they are in the school (their"off" day)...... Is that right?
  • That is correct.
  • For the first two weeks of school we will be having the school rotate on days 1,3,5 and 2,4,6 based on the first letter of your last name. 
  • this may mean that for the first bit you may not actually be in band class.
  • During that time, I will be in touch with each and every one of you to make sure you have your Red Book and an instrument if you need it and to make sure you are familiar with any of the in-class discussions you may have missed.
  • This is only a measure to help us better understand how students are going to be moving through out the building and to make sure we do so in as safe a manner as possible.
  • The band room can comfortably accommodate 45 students socially distanced (took me two days to figure that out and to mark the floors -( see Instagram for pictures).
  • We can accommodate all of our band and jazz band classes in the band room socially distanced with the exception of Symphonic Band.
  • Symphonic Band class time will be divided into woodwinds in the choir room with Ms. Muncer while the brass and percussion meet with Mr. Edwards in the band room.
8.  What about Jazz Band?
  • Morning Jazz Bands (Sr. and L.T.J.O.) will not begin until the week of the 28th.  Enjoy your sleep in.
  • B.I.G. Band will meet during period 4 (lunch) for the first class or so and then pause until the 28th.
  • If you look in your Power School app, you will see which jazz band your are a part of.  Senior Jazz - 7:20AM (1,3,5)  L.T.J.O. - 7:20AM (2,4,6) and B.I.G. Band 12:03 - (1,3,5)
9.  Then what does my child need to bring to class for the first couple of weeks?
  • A Mask, a smile and a willingness to make this work.
  • No instrument will be needed, but we will be signing out instruments for those students who need one.
  • Our time will be taken up mostly with teaching the new protocols to all levels and going over the many changes to the overlying structure of the class.  
10.  Concerts, performances... a thing of the past?
  • Heck no!
  • If anything we have been the leaders when it comes to on-line music making.  Never fear, I have not one but may plans on ways we can publicly display and demonstrate our student's awesomeness.

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