Reply To: When kids quit….. :-(

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For what it’s worth, I used to lose sleep and beat myself up any time a student quit our program. What could we be doing to make them want to leave? How do I keep every kid? Did I do something wrong?? etc, etc.

I’ve come to realize that no matter what you do, kids will quit. Even if you paid them money, kids would quit. It’s all about percentages…what percentage of your group quits each year? We had 16 kids quit our beginning band this year, however that amounts to about 15 percent…which for beginning band, I think is an awesome number. (many places lose around 50%)

At the HS level, we usually have 10-15 drops each year out of almost 200 kids. Without fail, these are the “right” kids to drop.(bottom 5% of the band, usually with an attitude problem) That’s the other important factor…are you losing the “right” kids? I’ve found that when you beg/plead kids to stay in band, they think you owe them a favor the following year…and many times end up being a problem anyhow. In addition, when the right kids drop, you are usually only losing bodies not musicians. If you start losing your best kids, then you have a problem.

Having taught in both a small rural school and 2 different huge suburban schools, it’s much harder in small/rural. When a group or click decides they are going to drop, it starts to spread like wildfire. Makes for a tough situation, but you can only control so much.

Don’t beat yourself up. If the top kids are dropping your program, take a look at what you are doing. Are you teaching to the bottom? etc etc. If the “right” kids are dropping, don’t sweat it. It will all work out in the end.