I’m considering dropping the Marching Band requirement for my 9-12 Band Program. Any advice from anyone who has experienced a similar change, by choice or not, would be gladly accepted.
Currently, any student who signs up for HS Concert Band must also march at all events. 8th Graders have the option to march as well, but they are not required in order to remain in 8th Grade Band. The attendance requirement isn’t heavy by MB standards, but exists nonetheless: a few summer rehearsals, one week of camp at the school, one evening rehearsal every week, 10-11 FB games, 3 parades, and usually 3 other Field Show performances at competitions or exhibitions. We are a rural district in PA with our fair share of low-income, and we graduate approx 115 students each year. In effect, our program has been sitting in the neighborhood of 40 students in Gr. 9-12 involved each year.
My logic is this: if we can drive up the numbers in the Concert Band, the numbers in the MB might dip at first and then eventually stabilize, but with a larger population of students being reached every year than it is currenty. I feel like I’ve been doing a good job implementing retention strategies, but the end result every year is one-third to half of my 8th graders quit becuase they don’t want to march or don’t have time for it.
Will this work, or am I crazy?