Marching to the beat of “scheduling”…
“Mom, I want to join band.” As a mother, these are the exact words I cringed at. It’s not that I don’t want my son to try as much as he can, but rather, it’s that he is already involved in too much. But also as a mother, I know it is important for children to become well-rounded and knowledgeable about the world they live in. So, when my son told me he wanted to try out, I said “okay.” I even chuckled when I discovered band tryouts were scheduled for the week we were in Ontario. But no such luck. In fact, the band teacher was relentless in finding a suitable time for band tryouts. And yes, in spite of my reluctance, my son was accepted into the band program … sigh.
First on the “months ahead” agenda was band camp — one week in August, running from 8-5 Monday to Friday and 8-12 on Saturday. With my schedule, this was virtually impossible … so we had to say “no” to band camp. Whew! Well not so fast. Then came the phone calls from the band teacher. “Was it the cost,” he asked. No, I explained it was schedule that was the issue and my lack of time.
Let me explain. We live twenty minutes from the school. I have kids that start being dropped off at 7:30 a.m. so I can’t just miss an hour every day to drive him to the school in the morning and then pick him up at 5, when kids are still here at my house until 6’ish. As I soon found out, my son was only one of two kids who didn’t go to band camp.
His teacher then explained my son would have to spend “more” time learning once school started again so he could catch up. This extra time meant practicing during lunch hours at school. Still, as far as I know, he caught on quickly and didn’t require extra time up until now — phew 😉 And since he came home with a 94 in band on his report card, I’d say he learned quickly 😉 But there is more.
Since he is only in grade 7, they do not have early morning band practice. I still have no idea how I will fit those 7:30 mornings into the schedule. When a student signs up, they actually agree to three years of band so it is a huge commitment. It also involves evening concerts, weekend trips, and after school practices — all of which are mandatory. This is where the problems start. With a commitment to hockey and baseball, as well as Navy League, it’s really tough to agree to another commitment.
We have already determined that if and when hockey and Navy League end up on the same weekend, hockey always wins. Typically, if it is a hockey camp on PEI, I just pick him up for the game and return him after the game. So far, it works 🙂 If it is an off island camp, we choose between what is more important. Again, the decision is that my son will miss a practice for a camp, but games are harder to miss.
However, band is different. Missing a scheduled something in band translates into losing class marks. What are the chances of this happening? Well, this week, we had to choose between band and hockey. Since my son had already missed games when he was suspended, we didn’t want to miss another hockey game (and since he was doing so well in band we thought it was okay).
It wasn’t. I emailed the band teacher to explain the situation but it was clear that he needed to show up or his grade would suffer. So I emailed our hockey coach and team manager asking if it was it possible to contact the other team and reschedule??? Since we ended up having four members of our hockey team unable to go to the game, the other team agreed to reschedule. Crisis averted. At least this time.
Last night, the roads were awesome, so it would have been a good night to travel for our game. With some yucky weather predicted for the weekend, I’m sure driving will suck next Tuesday when we actually play that game But the good news is that we did get to enjoy a beautiful Christmas band concert. The grade nine band and the jazz band were awesome. It’s just too bad that after all the rescheduling, the grade seven and grade eight bands were only showcased for fifteen minutes total.
So this time things worked out. I had an opportunity to find out that my son is a great little trumpet player. I’m sure he will get better as the next two and a half years go by, but I am equally sure that this will not be the only time we are conflicted in plans. Hopefully, the next time and the next and the next after that works out just as well 🙂