The status of band programs in the public secondary schools of New Jersey, 1982-1983

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Campbell, Michael J.
Vincent, Marilyn
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The purpose of this study was to determine the status of band programs in the public secondary schools of New Jersey. Answers were sought to the following questions: (1) what was the background of directors; (2) how were the programs organized; (3) what were the nature and extent of performance and rehearsal practices; (4) what type of facilities, budgets, and equipment were available; (5) what did directors believe to be the strengths and weaknesses of band programs; and (6) what were the perceptions of selected superintendents concerning band programs? Information was obtained from band directors through a questionnaire which was sent to every public high school in New Jersey. Another questionnaire was sent to a random selection of superintendents. Data, as received from 60.2 percent of the directors and 72 percent of the superintendents were tabulated, categories were formulated, and tables were prepared to present the data in terms of numbers and/or percentages. 1. Generally, the band directors of New Jersey high schools are experienced and dedicated professionals who seek to improve their teaching skills and philosophies. 2. Students have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of ensemble offerings. 3. Most ensembles have adequate rehearsal time, although some marching bands seemingly utilize excessive amounts of the student's time for rehearsal and performance. 4. Instrumental lessons are available in 83.9 percent of the schools. 5. Band programs in the high schools possess some of the basic organizational aspects that are believed to be necessary for musical learning to occur. 6. Most band organizations seemingly do not over-perform. 7. Directors and superintendents believe that the emphasis being placed on performance skill, aesthetic/ artistic understanding, and social/personal development is proper. 8. Band directors and superintendents believe there is a need to re-evaluate the functions of band performance for the future. 9. Facilities, equipment, and supplies are seemingly adequate in most schools. 10. Dedication of directors and variety of programs are strengths of New Jersey's band programs. 11. The weaknesses of New Jersey high school band programs appear to be an increased emphasis placed on marching band, competition, and exploitation of band organizations by internal and external forces. This limits musical understanding.