Instrumental Music Program at both School and Home

The Grade 6 to Grade 12 students in the WCS Instrumental Music program will continue to learn fingering patterns and valve patterns on their wind instruments in conjunction with digital sound recordings.  Please note that all students will be expected to keep their mouthpieces in their cases during class.  Throughout the school year, these students will be encouraged to record short clips of their at home practice with their complete instruments.  Grade 6 to Grade 12 students will continue to rent their current instruments from Long and McQuade Music store, St. John’s Music store and/or WCS.  The music stores and school will repair and sanitize instruments as needed.  Teachers will only repair and sanitize WCS instruments, as needed before and after school.

Multifaceted Music Curriculum & Instruction

For Grade 5 to Grade 12, our current in-class Music instruction, will include composition units, percussion techniques, recording techniques, rhythmic techniques, keyboard/ mallet techniques, handbells, ukulele, music theory, music history, and interdisciplinary projects that involve Music.  The bulk of the Grade 5 learning will occur in class and be rooted in project-based learning and it will touch upon many of the above-mentioned units.  It will not involve wind instruments until further notice.  The homework instruction for Grade 6 to Grade 12 students will involve practicing their wind instruments and submitting brief recordings of their at home practice sessions.  This particular learning development can occur, as these students have the basic facility already in place from prior year(s) of learning.

Sanitizing Practices & Plexiglass Learning Units

For in-class work, the sanitizing practices for handbell handles and percussion sticks will occur before and after each user.  We have purchased new percussion equipment to minimize sharing for all of our percussion students.  All of the in-class learning for students in Grade 5 to Grade 12, will occur primarily behind the 28 physically distanced plexiglass learning units that were installed in the Band Room this August.  Students will sanitize their plexiglass stations at the beginning and ending of each class.  Our WCS Music students will also be using computer programs, like SmartMusic, and other computer applications to encourage engagement both at school and at home.  Each student from Grade 5 to Grade 12 will be provided with a SmartMusic account for the duration of the entire 2020-2021 school year.  This will be provided free of charge to both students and staff.  Any sheet music provided to the students will be digitally accessible on PowerLearn and/or Smart Music.  This way students can access repertoire at home.

Name Tag Policy & Seating Plan 

Students will not be allowed to share music folders, books, or wind instruments of any kind.  A strict name tag and labeling policy will help to ensure safety.  All folders have been labelled by the teachers.  All of the instruments must have a name tag with the child’s first name, last name and Grade level.  Our students will abide by a seating plan policy, where each student will sit in the same plexiglass learning unit for each Music class.  Hand sanitizer will be provided at the door upon entry to class for students that wish to use it.  Before and after class, our students will line up on the dots located both inside and outside the Band Room door.  All of our students will abide by the school’s mask policy.

Small-Group Outdoor Rehearsals/ In-Class Measures & Masking

The current understanding provided by our Minister of Health regarding rehearsals and performances of wind band groups, states that they can occur outdoors with physical distancing measures in place.

The Grade 8 to Grade 12 students will rehearse outside in a socially distanced manner, when the weather permits it.  The outside of the timetable high school 10/20/30 Instrumental Music classes will meet in small groups of 10 to 15 students and rehearse outside after school, as the weather permits.  Mouthpiece sanitizer will be available to all students for each class.  Percussion students and string students will rehearse in a physically distanced manner indoors behind the plexiglass learning shields, with their masks on.  They will also have access to hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for their sticks.  Each percussion student will be given his/her or their own bag with an assortment of sticks for his/her or their use only.

In the Winter and late Fall, the Instrumental Music 10/20/30 students will meet in small groups to work on fingering patterns and valve patterns with pre-recorded SmartMusic audio recordings both before and after school.  If it is deemed safe to do so, small groups between 6 to 8 students with special-ordered instrument bell covers and the plexiglass learning units could rehearse before and after school.  This tentative schedule will be available in the coming weeks ahead.  In these settings, masks would be worn during the rehearsal set-up and rehearsal take down.  For wind instruments, brief unmasking would occur during sound production moments only.  This would only occur if the environment is deemed safe, otherwise Google Meetings/ Zoom Meetings will occur in a small group fashion from home both before and/or after school.  Most likely students will have a Zoom meeting schedule and an in-person schedule.  This will be communicated in the coming weeks ahead.

Masking in Music Class

All string performers, percussionists and students learning composition, percussion techniques, recording techniques, rhythmic techniques, keyboard/ mallet techniques, handbells, ukulele, music theory, music history, and interdisciplinary projects will occur with the students wearing their masks.

Celebrations of Learning & Performance Guidelines

Out-of-town trips and in-person concerts will not occur until it is deemed safe to do so.  To celebrate the students wonderful journey learning Music, we plan to share pre-recorded videos and pre-recorded audio samples of the students’ work on our PowerLearn pages and in digital email communications to parents and guardians at key times in the school year.  We hope to use technology as a vehicle for sharing small examples of our learning progress with everyone.

Support for Music from WMPS & WCS

Our Westmount Charter Music Parents’ Society will continue to support the students’ learning of Instrumental Music at WCS.  The WMPS Executive Board will continue to meet throughout the year in several Zoom meetings and we will host an AGM.  We wish to express our sincerest gratitude to both the WMPS and WCS for funding our plexiglass learning units for our Band Room.

Current Band Room Renovation

Currently, we are working closely with a team of architects and an acoustician on the renovation of our new WCS Band Room that will be occurring during this school year.  This gorgeous new learning space takes into account many important factors for our student musicians.  We are pleased to be a part of the consultative process to ensure that the beautiful new learning environment is viable for our students for many years to come.

Sincerely,

Dr. Wendy Freeman & Mr. Nate Waters