The main topic of disscussion was a lack of music education in Lansing’s middle and elementary schools, including Otto Middle School which serves Old Town, when the Lansing Board of Education met Thursday, Oct. 20.
The Lansing School District’s music program has been on the decline, explained James Davis, the district’s deputy superintendent. Davis and other board members cited lack of fifth grade and elementary music programs as well as mediocre middle school music classes as the root of the problem that stems into smaller high school bands and orchestras.
“We need to revisit the issue of band and strings at the elementary level,” said Myra
Ford, secretary of the Lansing Board of Education.
Because of past cuts, Lansing Public Schools currently do not have any band, strings or orchestra programs at the elementary level, only generic music classes that are
primarily vocal music oriented, explained the Deputy Superintendent James
Board Member Nicole Armbruster also raised the issue that there are intermediate and
advanced band programs at the middle school level while there are no beginning
opportunities, which leaves no room for the students who were unable to learn
music in elementary school.
“I had the opportunity to get a little more information about our secondary music
program recently and I am very disturbed about where it seems to be headed,” Ford
said. “We used to have an amazing music program. Pattengill and Everett still have amazing music programs. When I look at Pattengill, which is our smallest middle school and I see what they are offering, then I look at Gardner and I look at Otto, I’m really disheartened at the fact that we have what we have there.”
Schools like Sexton High School have suffered from the lack of lower level music, since there are few students coming from elementary and middle schools who are involved in band, explained Davis.
“There are only 12 or 14 students in the band,” said Davis, referring to Sexton High School. “The parents are so desperate for that program to grow again.