CONFLICTS WITH REHEARSALS
Extra-curricular rehearsals are necessary for large ensembles to put the entire performance together. We try to limit them to 2-3 for band and 3-4 for orchestra per concert cycle, but the fact is we could never put on a quality performance without them. As with any other activity, every member of a group is important. Sometimes we hear "I'm sorry I have to miss, but it's ok, I know my part." That is missing the point of these rehearsals. By that logic, these rehearsals aren't needed. If everyone doesn't know their part by now, we might as well pack it in. These rehearsals are about putting the whole thing together, which requires every member to be there. Thus, we have an attendance policy on these rehearsals that can be read in the Handbook. Attendance of these rehearsals is a component of a student's Q2 and Q4 grade.
Inevitably, our music students lead busy lives and sometimes conflicts arise. Some of these conflicts are avoidable, and some are not. It is the aim of the attendance policy to try and be flexible within reason for the unavoidable conflicts, and for students to take ownership of the ones that are. Below is a list of several common conflicts students run into and how to handle them.
Sports are an important part of the culture here at RHS. The music department supports athletics in various ways, most notably with our pep band performing at football games but also with flexibility when conflicts arise.
Conflicts with Practices
Conflicts with sports practices can give our music kids anxiety. Kids want to make everyone happy and they feel like they're letting either the music director or their coach down, and we understand that. However, it is an athletic department policy that conflicts with practices defer to the music department rehearsals. The rationale:
- Most sports teams practice every day. We rehearse as a full group only a few times a concert cycle.
- We are an academic class, not an extracurricular.
- We don't rehearse together to learn our parts; we rehearse to put it all together. It is important that everyone be there.
The athletic director totally gets this, but some of the coaches don't always know that's how it works. I encourage kids to make their coaches aware of any conflicts as ahead of time as possible, and not to get into an argument with a coach if he/she says you can't miss a practice. Simply say, "Ok, I'll let my director know what you said. Thank you." Then follow up with your director. We'll take it from there and straighten it out. You won't be punished or penalized in any way. We have almost never talked to a coach that was anything but nice and understanding once it gets to the level of a director getting involved on your behalf.
If you do feel that you are punished for attending a music practice (like all of a sudden you found yourself benched), again, don't put yourself in the middle. Let us know, and we'll take care of it diplomatically. Such instances are few and far between, with a 100% success rate of a resolution that results in no penalty.
Remember, music and athletics support each other. We do that by being consistent, flexible, and communicative.
Conflicts with Games
To support athletics, we recognize that games are a time when your team needs you. Therefore, a student can be exempted from attending a rehearsal if they have a game that conflicts. It is expected that if you are able to attend a partial rehearsal that you do. We handle these on a case by case basis as well, and it is the student's responsibility to alert their music director of the conflict well in advance.
The only exception to this is for the final rehearsal and the concert itself. If you have a game on one of those nights, you need to make the choice between missing the concert (see handbook for consequences to your grade) or your game. There is no make-up assignment. The dress rehearsal and concert can not be recreated.
Conflicts with work
Some things, you don't have control over (like your athletic schedule). But work is something you do have control over if you manage your time and calendar effectively, and this is an important life skill and lesson to learn. Sometimes, kids learn it the hard way, and that's ok. Learning is what we're all about.
It was stated very clearly at the beginning of the year in class, in an email, and in the handbook that students were expected to make a note of our concert and rehearsal dates. This means that it is your responsibility to let your boss know way ahead of time that you will not be available at these times. Approaching a director and saying you tried to find coverage but couldn't does not excuse you from missing a rehearsal. Only you can make the decision if your grade or your shift/job is more important, but that may be a choice you do have to make if you didn't manage your time effectively. If that happens, learn from the experience.
If you think having a director speak with your boss will help them understand the situation, we are happy to do so on your behalf. We can usually let your manager know that this is a mandatory school activity for a class, not a club. But you have to be fair to your manager and provide them the dates well in advance of when they schedule shifts. If you don't do that as the student, that is on you and you must accept the consequences of your choice (your job or your grade).
We give a window in September to let us know if there are any potential conflicts from doctor appointments, dance, and other activities with the dates provided at the beginning of the year. If you are reading this now, it is probably from either an e-mail we sent at the beginning of the year or a reminder we sent checking on how to deal with conflicts. If it's the former, we might be able to work something out. If it's the latter...sorry, but it's too late. Unless it is an extraordinary and unavoidable circumstance, you will have a choice to make.
We have to treat students with consistency or having an attendance policy doesn't mean anything. It might as well be "show up if you feel like it." We try to be reasonably flexible but still true to the expectations that these performing groups require these rehearsals, and the success of the group requires that all of its members be there. It's not about you knowing about your part; it's about your contribution to the ensemble.