Extracurricular music programs can be designed in many ways. This is simply how we are currently organized under the umbrella of the PTA:
PARENT VOLUNTEER-RUN ORGANIZATIONS
Music program coordinator, choir and orchestra directors, accompanists, wardrobe coordinators, librarians–all of these posts are filled by parent volunteers. If we do not have parent volunteers sufficient to staff an organization, then that organization won’t exist that year. The PTA President can invite parents to fill those positions, but we cannot hire anyone to fill those positions under PTA guidelines. Volunteer positions are emphasized in bold in the following paragraphs.
At Foothill, we have both choirs and orchestras that meet extracurricularly. Each organization is led by a Director, who is a parent volunteer. There also needs to be an Accompanist. There may also be an Assistant or Co-Director. We recommend that there be two adults in the rehearsals whenever possible.
Each music organization is independent and self-standing, meaning that the volunteers are responsible to run that organization. The volunteers are responsible for their group’s registration, advertising, parent communication, budgeting, clothing, PTA meeting attendance, etc.
While the organizations are separate, we work unitedly to coordinate our efforts. When there is a parent willing to serve, we have a Music Program Coordinator who oversees and coordinates all of the music program efforts. This person meets with her directors and the school principal or PTA president to establish calendar dates for registration, rehearsal locations and times, performances, and other program-wide policies. This volunteer coordinates concert-planning and production. This volunteer oversees registration at the beginning and end of each semester. The Coordinator serves as a liaison and spokesman for community-related interactions, such as special performance or field trips or donation solicitation from community resources.
In the absence of a Program Coordinator, the Directors will divide up responsibilities at the beginning of each year or semester.
We meet with the PTA monthly and then meet at the beginning and end of each “semester,” before each semester-end concert, to coordinate the concert program and preparatory efforts.
The programs run for two semesters: from the second week of school in the fall through the first week of December. Then the second semester runs from the second week of school in January until the last week of April or first week of May, depending upon local scheduling needs (i.e. Hope of America concert, BYU and UVU graduation, BYU Women’s Conference, Orem High School concerts, etc.). Concerts should be scheduled with the Principal in May for the coming year and then may need to be adjusted as scheduling of major local events in the spring sometimes changes.
The registration forms may be the same, but the forms, once distributed to the students and turned in to the desk at the night of the twice-yearly concerts or to the office during the registration window, will be collected and used by the directors of those organizations. The choir director(s) is responsible for choir registrations; the orchestra director(s) is responsible for orchestra registrations.
Registration begins the evening of the concert and continues until the day before vacation begins. (If the concert is on a Thursday night at 7 pm, then registration begins at 6:30 pm before the concert until the last day of school before vacation, such as a Friday at 3:30 pm).
A sample registration form will be posted online here on the registration page. (Under the Music Program heading.)
The budget should be determined in conference with the PTA. Purchases should be made following current PTA guidelines. We do not charge a participation fee anymore for the program itself but may ask students to pay for their T-shirts and in orchestra, sheet music. The PTA will fund the costs of copying for flyers, advertising and decorations for concerts, sheet music for the choir and orchestra library, and other approved program-related costs. Purchases should be approved by the PTA president before they are made.
For two years, we did pay stipends to our directors and accompanists, but it became so entangling and problematic, that we learned it is easier to provide this musical opportunity strictly as volunteers.
We sometimes have asked for snack donations by parents for rehearsals. (Snacks should be according to school standards (not homemade) and take into consideration any food allergies of the students.) We do not serve refreshments at the concerts. This greatly simplifies the custodial needs for those evenings. We are so grateful for the extra support our custodial staff gives to permit our evening performances.
Volunteers may make copies to send home with the general school population to advertise music program registration and concerts. Otherwise, email and texting are good ways to communicate with parents of music program students. Email lists can be compiled from registration forms but must not be used for any other purpose or shared with anyone other than music program volunteers, as is other proprietary, personal information on registration forms.
To make copies to send home to the general school population, ask for another volunteer to train you, if possible. S/he can give you the code for making the copies, teach you where the music program paper is, and how to use the machine. Please be careful not to waste paper. Volunteers may only make as many copies of sheet music as we own copies, and both the copies and originals may not be used at the same time to ensure copyright law adherence. We can make copies to keep in directors’ and accompanists’ binders if the originals are being held in the library and not in use. Sheet music copies should be returned to the library binders in their plastic page protectors for future use and wise management of financial resources. If we take good care of our resources, we will be able to prolong the life of our program.
To advertise for registration, prepare a 1/2 page flyer, make copies, and ask for them to be sent home
To advertise for concerts, talk to the previous year’s volunteers or the PTA president. Typically, we have a mother or father who does graphic design and has prepared beautiful poster designs for us. Then they email the design to a copy shop, who prints it for us. We usually make 13 posters (11″x17″) to post on the outside and inside of each of the 6 doors at the three front entrances to the school as well as one poster for the front office.
Programs for the concerts may be designed by a parent of a music program student or other interested volunteer. Information for the concert should be emailed to that parent at least 2-3 weeks in advance of the concert, so that they can get the information compiled and emailed in a .PDF format to a copy shop for printing. Or they can print off an original and copy it at the school.
PLEASE do not ask the front office staff to do PTA copying. They can assist with copying problems or give you a list of how many copies to make for the school. Please ask the front office staff by which day they need the flyers in order to have them sent home when you want them. You might need to have your flyers prepared several days (or even a week) in advance. Thank you!
We currently have a Junior Choir (grades 1-3) and a Senior Choir (grades 4-6) that meet separately after school on early out Mondays. The day and time of rehearsal can change year-to-year depending on the needs of the directors. We hold rehearsals in the gym on the stage risers and in the Little Theatre (“Kiva”). There are pianos in both locations.
Music sung in choir should be age appropriate. This means it shouldn’t contain lyrics that refer to dating or other more mature topics that are not typical to a child’s life through age 12. There should not be any swear words and slang should be carefully reviewed. Pop music songs should be approved generally by the organization committee and by the PTA president.
We currently have a Beginning Orchestra and an Advanced Orchestra. (More to be posted.)
MUSIC LIBRARY/SHEET MUSIC ACQUISITION
We have acquired sufficient music over the last years to have prepared a terrific music library for our choirs and orchestra. There is still room for growth. Typically, music should be purchased in a quantity of 3 copies for choir: one per director and one for the accompanist. Once music is purchased or donated, copies should be made and the originals and copies put in plastic page protectors. Then they can be added to the large white binders in the music closet. Whoever acquires the music should send an email to the PTA President so that the library listing on this website can also be updated. Orchestra music songs should be purchased one copy per part, with the originals being used at the school and the students purchasing their own books to practice from at home.
We have been grateful for a volunteer who serves as our Music Librarian. This person updates the website listing, helps keep the music storage binders and other sheet music resources organized and tidy, maintains the clipboard check-out list in the music closet, and in other ways helps track and store the music in our music program library. The music librarian could also help with purchasing music as requested by the directors and approved by the Music Program Coordinator (or the PTA president in absence of a Coordinator).
Directors can decide how to help their students practice at home. They can invite them to purchase the sheet music at the beginning of the semester, or they can provide recordings and lyric pages for them to practice from online or hard copies. It is entirely up to the director. Copyright must be observed at all times. That means you cannot copy sheet music or recordings without paying for the copies. We are teaching our children by example integrity by so doing. We can make copies of original music that was meant to be freely shared. There is some sheet music in our library and available online at http://www.freedeliciousmusic.org and other websites that is legal to share freely.
The pianos are only tuned every couple of years by the district. They often need tuning sooner than they are tuned, so if a parent wants to pay for tuning, you can arrange it with the principal.
It helps to have a volunteer who serves as a Wardrobe Coordinator. This is a person who collects information about who wants to purchase t-shirts, and who will be borrowing a t-shirt for the performance. The Wardrobe Coordinator could send out a reminder to all the parents a day or two before a performance to remind them of the dress code (see below) for that performance. They would also collect money, place the T-shirt order withe the printing company, distribute purchased t-shirts to those who ordered, and then arrive early to distribute loaning t-shirts prior to a performance and collect and replace lent t-shirts afterwards. They would keep the storage of t-shirts organized and tidy. The coordinator should work with the PTA treasurer regarding any financial transactions.
The Wardrobe Coordinator can also distribute, collect, and provide for the upkeep of any clothing props that would add to the performance. In our music closet, we have some ties for boys and chiffon rosettes for girls in spring colors for choir performers, if desired. We also have red and black solid fleece scarves and hats for the holiday concert, if desired. Other clothing, such as choir robes, bow ties, etc., could be permissible in the future if there is sufficient funding, adequate storage space, and parents willing to supervise the maintenance of such an endeavor (cleaning, pressing, etc.).
Volunteers should dress appropriately (according to school dress standards, which includes shirts with sleeves and skirts to knees). Performance dress for the students is their music program t-shirt for the in-school (daytime) performance and “Sunday best” for evening performances. Other dress standards can be established for outside of school performances, such as the Lighting of the Lights at the Orem Library, or a service performance at a rest home, etc.
CONCERTS, PERFORMANCES, AND FIELD TRIPS (See also the “Concerts” page)
We have two concerts during the year: the first on the first Thursday in December and the second on the last Thursday in April or first Thursday in May. Each concert begins at 7 pm with call time typically at 6:15 pm, as determined by directors. Set up and clean up should be coordinated with the principal and custodial staff. “Shh… Concerts in progress” signs are available for use on easels. The signs are stored next to the music closet. The easels must be borrowed with permission front the teacher work room storage room.
Reviewing the webpage “A Few Things We Want To Remember…” under the “Concerts” link (see the menu in the left sidebar) can be helpful for not missing those helpful details in planning the next concert.
Sometimes we may have a special performance or field trip, such as during the Foothill Fall Festival, to our regional elementary schools “Spring Fling” for orchestra, or at a service performance in the community as invited. Those performances are made by special arrangement and must be planned in communication with the school principal. Information regarding a special performance or field trip should be communicated by the directors to the parents in an email or flyer.
Note: The Spring Fling is organized on a rotational basis by the elementary school orchestras’ directors and has historically been held in early March. For more information, call Northridge Elementary’s orchestra director.
QUESTIONS? If you have any questions about the music program, you can contact Liz@freedeliciousmusic.org.