The Business of Music Education: How to Find Resources to Empower Programs

By Barack, Lauren | District Administration, October 2015 | Go to article overview

The Business of Music Education: How to Find Resources to Empower Programs


Barack, Lauren, District Administration


Some districts can't find or hire music teachers while others struggle to buy and maintain instruments. Many administrators, meanwhile, must cut music classes to prepare students for testing.

Still, schools large and small have kept the music playing with innovative grants, online fundraising through sites like DonorsChoose.org, and by scouring their budgets for any available resources.

When Superintendent Linda Wagner started in Anaheim City School District, there wasn't a music program for any of the California district's students and hadn't been for "at least 20 years," she says. So she set out to bring music instruction to every child in her elementary school district.

She began two years ago by teaming with a local symphony's musicians for a new after-school program in which students at 14 schools learned how to read music. Because the district couldn't afford instruments, the students, who met one day a week, played on cardboard and "in the air."

When Wagner reached out to the community for donations, a police officer delivered a saxophone that he'd stored under his bed for years. A church drive yielded a battered U.S. Army bugle. In the 2014-15 school year, Wagner was able to hire three new music teachers, with all 24 district schools expected to add them by the 2017-18 school year.

"Music is too important to not be in the core system," she says. "That's where we're heading. We want every child to have music education during the school week."

Costs of creativity

The cost of music programs--from marching bands to composition classes--can vary, but averages about $187 per student a year, according to a study from the National Association of Music Merchants, a nonprofit trade association.

Yet, based on conversations with music educators across the country, individual teachers may have just $300 a year to spend on discretionary items like sheet music or software, says Robin Hodson, vice president of sales and training for online music provider MusicFirst.

Instruments for an orchestra or marching band are expensive, with districts paying between $600 and $1,500 for each one, says Ron Beaudoin, chief executive officer for National Education Music Co., a national instrument provider. Instruments get worn out and eventually have to be replaced, he adds.

Even Anaheim schools--which operates on a combination of purchased and donated instruments--still needs a repair budget of about $250 a week, not counting expenses like horse hair to restring bows for violins and similar instruments.

Another expense is sheet music, which can cost about $50 to $100 per title for anything from Frozen's "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" for the flute, to the full score for the "1812 Overture." But once they pay for a license, a school district owns it for life--a plus, as it allows schools to build up a library over time.

Teachers are the largest expense, accounting for 87 percent of a music program's costs, says a 2011 study funded by the National Association of Music Merchants. Additional staff can also cost extra. At the Buckeye Elementary School District in Arizona, a band director was hired part-time just to coordinate its district band. It cost the district $3,000, says Superintendent Kristi Sandvik.

Managing the band is akin to handling the schedule for multiple football or softball teams, Sandvik says. Concerts need to be organized, and the director determines which students can move up from a school band to the more prestigious district band.

Where to find funds

To bolster budgets, computer music suites can sometimes be paid for with technology funds. For $7,500, a high school can launch a complete music lab with 25 software-loaded computers that students can use to study composition, arranging, recording and producing, says John Mlynczak, the former director of education for PreSonus, a music equipment and software supplier. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Business of Music Education: How to Find Resources to Empower Programs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.