School District 204 is set to rethink musical instrument instruction


Editor’s Note: This article is republished in its entirety from 204 E-News, the official electronic newsletter for Indian Prairie School District 204.

High schools in District 204 have won several Grammy awards, including NVHS which was recognized as the best music program in the country in 2005 and 2013.

On Monday, the District 204 Music Coordinator and the Presidents of the Fine Arts Department presented the Board of Education with an overhaul of how students will receive instrumental education. Music teachers move current group and orchestral program for beginners to 5th grade to 6th grade class. This plan is based on a study of the district’s music program over the past two years and nationwide best practices. There will be no change to the choir for 4th and 5th grade students and general music education, which begins in kindergarten.

The move to 6th grade will allow students to receive daily instrument instruction from a team of music teachers from the start of the school year. Daily classroom time allows for more consistent delivery of instruction and improves a teacher’s ability to assess a student’s progress toward mastering essential skills to best meet each student’s needs. According to music leaders, this increase in daily instrument instruction will support the district’s high-quality music program and also retain more students.

Currently, 5th grade students are withdrawn from core classes to receive instrument instruction once a week. The change eliminates students who miss basic classroom instruction time and removes the barrier some students face in getting to school early for full orchestral / orchestral practice. Additionally, 6th grade students will have access to a wider range of school-owned instruments for families who cannot afford to rent or buy their own.

Music teachers will implement this change during the 2014-2015 school year. In addition, they also improve the way students are first introduced to instruments in 5th grade. From January 2016, 5th grade students will have a longer period of hands-on time with the instruments before choosing which one may be interesting to learn. The redesign also includes music teachers providing more in-depth feedback to 5th-grade parents based on students’ observation with instruments. These enhancements are designed to help students and parents make the best choice of instruments for students at the start of Grade 6.

District 204’s music program receives state and national accolades. Most notably, high schools in the district have already won several Grammy awards, including Neuqua Valley being recognized as the best music program in the country in 2005 and 2013. Metea Valley and Waubonsie Valley were named semi-finalists in this year’s Grammy competition. The winners will be announced in March.

You can read the music teacher presentation material online and watch a video of the presentation at

SIMILAR ARTICLE: Daily Herald / Dist. 204 to start band, orchestra a year later


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