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trptguy28 trptguy28 is offline
 
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Instruments rented from school
Old 07-04-2017, 06:20 AM
 
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Hey band directors,

I just got hired at a school district in a small township where the school supplies the instruments to the students; this is the second school I've done this in, and I hate it. My question is: how do I convince the duper that it's a bad idea? I know that students won't respect the instruments, and that will end up costing me in repair money. We have a great music store in the area, I've worked with them in the past, and they provide free repair to instruments rented by them. Just need help convincing the super. Thanks


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Tawaki Tawaki is offline
 
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:15 AM
 
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Do the parents pay to rent from the school, or you just sign them out the students?

My community has money. My DD $15/month violin retail doesn't make me choose between the electric bill or is it wet cat food or dry for dinner. That is the lowest price instrument music to rent.

Even being an affluent area, parents can be cheap if the kid is not the next Wynton Marsalis or Yo Yo Ma. My DD music teacher really struggles to get kids into orchestra because it's $15+/month=$180/year and that is the cheapest instrument. Band rentals are much higher with an alto sax running around $100/month, and that is the bottom basement rental in the area.

If a kid wants music, you can throw him in choir for a $20 polo shirt that is good for 3 year. The vocal music classes are PACKED at my DD MS.

So...how much drop off will you get if the parents are forced to private rent, no matter how cheap? My music store does free repairs, but who wants to schlep an instrument to a place, when you are used to having the kid just bringing it to school? My music store does credit checks for rentals, and all payments are done electronically. The only way to pay cash is pay upfront for the whole year. Those can be a deal breakers for parents.

You have to look at your demographic. The kids taking $60/hr private music lessons aren't taking school orchestra. They are gunning for community junior orchestra spots. (at least where I live). You are left with parents who may or may not be committed to instrumental music. The instrumental teachers weep every year when the school starts because a bunch of parents will blow $200+ on an EBay instrument that is basically sh*t. It would be cheaper to rent new than to repair these dumpster fires. The parents were trying to save some money, and now are burned. Those kids wind up going to choir because the school doesn't have sign out instrument except for the largest ones (bass, tuba etc). Very few parents are willing to eat the $200+ and sign up for a rental.

Instrumental music is a nice to have in my district. I taught art, and that is a nice to have from the district's POV too. We are expendable. It's all about butts in the seats. Less butts may mean consolidation or dropping the program. I don't know what the drop dead point for your district. My DD orchestra has 25 for this year, and there are rumblings about combining schools programs.

I know this seems like p*ssing on your parade. It isn't . You need to do some recon work about this school system. Is school supplied instruments the only way to keep a lot of butts in the seats? What's the vibe in the community? The one thing you don't want is to make your pitch without this background, and have district pat you on the head saying, "Aren't you as cute as a button. Yes, rentals would be easier on you, but you'd have 10 kids in the class."
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trptguy28 trptguy28 is offline
 
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:31 AM
 
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My music store has very low rentals, and a rep that comes to pickup the instruments, so the parents don't have to drop them off. I've done this renting thing two years and it always ends the same, kids don't take care of the instruments, parents don't care cuz it cost them next to nothing, and I get stuck with the repair bill. Luckily, the school has a bigger budget then the schools I taught at in the past, but considering that my music store will rent an alto sax for 20 a month, and take care of repairs, it seems unreasonable to not do that when it cost the same as a fast food run for a family of four. You are right in the fact that I need to do more research, but I got an unofficial assistant, who broached the subject with the super last year with my predecessor. I don't mind waiting and renting for this year and approaching next year, but if we could get it done now that would be better. We got about fifty kids in the band, and I was never one to care too much about the numbers, that what flex charts are for, and if we give them a good product, the numbers will follow; I've seen it happen many times.
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:22 PM
 
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(I student taught 1 period of orchestra)

Where I come from, the instrument rental money is paid to the school and those monies are put in an account specifically for instrument repair. If the instrument is lost/broken beyond repair it is the student's responsibility to pay for the replacement of the instrument.

I would send home a contract that puts the parents on the hook for the care of the instrument. If a student fails to turn in the instrument at the end of the year, they go on the debt list and they cannot receive textbooks, participate in school events, and even have their diploma withheld.

Not sure of your school's policy but if you (the teacher) have to personally pay to repair an instrument broken by a student, that a big no no. Either the student or the school needs to pay for the repair of SCHOOL PROPERTY!!!!!!! If that doesn't work, just don't repair them and accumulate a classroom of broken instruments and require students to bring in their own instruments or guilt trip the school into repairing their property.
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