Local Opinion – Music Education in Buchanan Schools

Music Education in Buchanan Community Schools

Submitted by Thomas Hoyt

Growing up I remember having a music class for all my elementary school grades 1-5. At the end of the 5th grade we were introduced to some band instruments and were able to take band starting in the 6th grade. I was excited to start band! I started out playing the cornet, then switched to percussion.

Within the Buchanan Community Schools, students are provided music education with a music class during the elementary school grades. However, when students reach the 5th grade, their music education comes to a screeching halt! In Buchanan, the 5th grade is at the Middle School along with 6th and 7th grade. So from kindergarten through the 4th grade students receive a music education, then no music education in 5th grade. Not until the 6th grade is any music education continued, and that is with band only…no choir.

This is a problem! With music education being absent during the 5th grade, students easily can lose interest in any music education, band, or choir! For the band program at Buchanan, this makes it difficult for the Band Director, Mrs. Deanna Russell. When I interviewed Mrs. Russell last Fall, one of her goals is to build the band by recruiting more students into the program. This is a huge goal and especially difficult given that there is not any music class at the 5th grade.

What happened to choir?!? 😮 For years Buchanan had a powerful choir led by Carol McKean, who is now retired and has been for years now. This past school year had a choir class that students could take and that was led by Mrs. Deanna Russell. No this isn’t a typo. The same lady who leads the band also led the choir. I write led because I have learned that the school cut the choir for the next school year. 😠At the last school board meeting, Mrs. McKean gave a powerful statement. She expressed much of what I’m stating above. She also stated that there should at least be some choral education for the 5th grade students. I couldn’t agree more. Music education needs to continue all the way through the 5th grade, not stop dead at the end of 4th grade.

Thomas Hoyt
Buchanan, MI

*The Buchanan Chronicle wishes to provide a venue for public opinion to be heard. We may edit but only for typos, language, or length; as we desire to present submitted opinions as received.*

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