Welcome to a day in my life. I can't guarantee that this will be an exciting read for anyone. My life is filled with all the mundane activities of a stay-at-home-mom just trying to raise her three sons to be the best men they can be.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ignor me while I rant a little!

Every time I go to a school concert I come out shaking my head. It's all very well done. It's all sweet. The Grade 1s get up and do an adorable rendition of something followed by the dance club (made up mostly of the younger kids). The Grade 2s perform, the Choir performs, and the grade 3s perform. We all ooooh and aaaaah, and remark at how cute it all is. Then, finally, the school band performs (made up of grade 7 and 8 students.) I look around the gym to see it a quarter full ... when it started out packed with many parents standing in the aisles and at the back as there weren't enough chairs. You see, the parents get up and leave as soon as their own child is finished performing so that by the time the band plays, most of the parents have left. ARGGGGGG!

I know people are busy. I know little ones need to get home and into bed, but really! Would it really make that much difference to stay for another 15 minutes more to support a music group that spends hours, and hours practising. These students are at school at 7 a.m. twice a week to rehearse, and give up a nutrition break twice a week for the same thing. They take their instruments home to practise their parts.

I really feel bad for the music teacher who has dedicated soooo much time, money, and effort into creating a great music programme for the kids. Yesterday, he was at school by 7 a.m. for a practise. After a full day of teaching, he had to rush off to Burlington for a Halton Junior Jazz Band rehearsal (board run, but he volunteers his time to direct the band). The rehearsal was from 4 - 6. Then he had to rush back to Oakville, to the school, for the school's Christmas concert which started at 7. After all that, 3/4 of the parent population leave the concert before the band even played! ARRRRRRGGGGG!

OK, rant over.


  1. It is sad when so many people come to a concert just to see one person perform in one of the early groups, and then leave as soon as that person is done. Unless you have something extremely pressing to do afterward, you should stay for the whole concert and appreciate everyone. My high school directors did help alleviate this somewhat by having all the students stay until after the concert was over and have everyone clean up and sometimes take attendance again afterward to make sure everyone stayed. Since the early bands to perform were the younger groups, made up of mostly freshmen who can't drive, this then helped keep the majority of the parents who were there stay for the entirety of the concert.

  2. We saw some of this in other schools too. One of the issues parents claim is that the younger kids cannot sit too long. While they may have a good sounding rationale it is rather thin as most of these concerts are less than hour. Having the younger kids stays allows them to see what lies ahead.

    What happens at Oakton works for high school kids who can sit for two to three hours (some Oakton concerts pushed 3 hours). One other options is to break up the flow, and if there is room for the band to remain in place, is to have the band perform one item after the 2nd graders and another after the 4th or 5th graders.

    The best music teachers go above and beyond the call of duty. They are focused upon the kids and sharing with them their passion for music. It sounds like yours is just such an individual.

  3. It's sad that people leave concerts. I haven't really seen this in my kid-concert going.

  4. This is something schools have battled for years. So much of our society does not know how to be an audience any more. One thing we have done is bring our primary choir out for a final number so parents need to stick around. An announcement is made at the beginning that parents are asked to sit through the whole concert etc. This sometimes works,but not always.

    In my school the primary concert and intermediate concerts are on different nights or different times of the year. We find other ways to allow the intermediates to perform, such as old age homes etc.

    I agree that it is unfortunate for the teachers and students who have worked so hard. Speaking as a teacher who has had this happen I have found this very discouraging. What a message to send to kids: I am not interested enough in your school life. My interest only lasts long enough for you to perform.

  5. Perhaps you can pass along to Cameron's teacher the tricks that Josh and Cathy have shared here. Naturally, I was always most interested in the groups that my kids performed in, but it was nice to hear the others too. Even before Joshua and Jonathan played well enough to make the top bands, Dave and I always felt it was worthwhile to stay for the best music of the evening. We also liked giving the boys the opportunities to hear the better groups. As Dave said, it gave them something to look forward and some goals to set to as they progressed.


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