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give everyone the opportunity to be heard so with some guidance through the providing of a set of specific questions, we broke into groups according to feeder alignment which led to four (4) separate sets of teachers working together to come up with a “unified” answers to 1. Who are we? 2. What do we envision for our community? and thus, 3. What is our purpose and why music?


go out into the world equipped with the means to enjoy a significant and meaningful life. Below are the impressive answers to these two questions that “team” came up with and refined after coming out of the initial break- out sessions.


Who are we? The district-wide, K-12 Music Department is the inclusive team of Music Educators which supports and promotes Music Education within the School District of Pickens County by providing quality, sequential instruction through fulfilling, life-changing opportunities for all of its children.


What do we envision for our community? The School District of Pickens County K-12 Music Department envisions a community where all are actively engaged in life-long, music-making activities.


What is our purpose and why music? The Mission of the School District of Pickens County K-12 Music Department is to enhance the overall quality of life for all children by inspiring in them the desire to experience the joy of music- making throughout life.


It was time to break for lunch and someone shouted, “Let’s all go to lunch together!” Once it was determined which restaurant could actually seat thirty (30) people all at once in one area, we were on our way to the very first “SDPC Annual Music Educator’s Luncheon.” The group continued to buzz all through lunch and truly enjoyed “breaking bread” together.


This break-out session resulted in a comprehensive, inspiring and invigorating process that elicited inclusive conversations that yielded a surprising discovery—the realization that as varied as each teacher’s concerns were with regard to issues they were having to deal with in their particular “world” at their particular school, when it came right down to it, each teacher really wanted the same thing—for ALL STUDENTS to have a life-long relationship with active music-making. WOW! This philosophy is not about trying to create more symphony musicians. Rather, it’s that if students continue participating into adulthood as active music-makers—whether at church or in any variety of community groups—their lives would be substantially fullfilled and thus considerably more productive, uplifting, and joyful. Thus, what they are really doing is preparing students to


ala breve


So what would happen next? We returned from lunch to begin working on how they, as music educators, could really drive their newly-established Vision and Mission. With just a few ideas to prime the pump, the new “team” went into action scoring goal after goal! Their ideas for “actionable items” just kept coming and coming but most importantly, they agreed to begin working TOGETHER consistently so that they could continue to move this undertaking forward. The first order of business was to find a way to articulate their game plan.


Thankfully, we had sufficient time to strategize a number of specific actions. These action items will not only serve to Engage, Excite and Enrich (the original goal of the PD) but also to promote the vision for elementary students to picture themselves as high school music students and for the


1. A district-wide music department mission statement will be formalized and promoted to create increased district/community awareness.


2. Small ensemble performances will be scheduled at the beginning of every school board meeting with time provided afterward for the representative school board member to speak to the students about their accomplishments in music.


3. Each music teacher will include a recruiting section on their school website.


4. An educational plan/flow chart will be developed that will prescribe how students can continue taking music classes through all four (4) high school years. This will be provided appropriately to the parents of music students.


5. The elementary band students will be featured with the high school band as VIP guests at one of the halftime shows annually. The announcer will quickly call out each elementary student by name and each will the run onto the field into position in front of a high school student who plays a like instrument. The groups will be conducted by the elementary school teacher/director who will also choose the material to be performed. This could be as simple as a phrase made up of two or three different notes played over a series of chord changes performed by the high school band. Dance moves will be included! The purpose is to bring the elementary school students into the high school “arena” and for their parents to begin envisioning their elementary school students as a high school band student. The high school booster parents will provide complimentary refreshments and VIP seating for the parents of the elementary


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parents of these students to envision their children as high school music students right from the very beginning.


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