State Music Association president pushing for formal guidance from the state

Local News

(WETM/WSYR) – With high-risk sports getting the green light to start back up, the New York State School Music Association is calling on the governor to release formal guidance on music and art programs in schools.

Throughout the pandemic, there’s been a movement in the music industry to “Let Them Play” and program leaders say it’s no different when it comes to students and school music.

Earlier in the year, 18 News spoke with several Corning-Painted Post School music educators and the challenges of virtually teaching music are far-reaching and difficult. However, with a hybrid learning method that CPP has recently been on, things have improved. “Honestly, I think the hardest most immediate struggle was handling how heartbroken our students and families were with performances and competitions were postpones, and then later canceled.” Said Karen Bryson, K-12 Music Coordinator at Corning-Painted Post Schools.

18 News reached out to the president of the New York State School Music Association, Dr. David Brown, who provided some answers.

“In order for us to reduce from 12 feet to 6 feet, Superintendents need the guidance changed in order to change the procedures.  While this is a recommendation many have taken it is a mandate.  Aerosol studies have been done that have shown that with proper mitigation like wearing a mask and bell covers students can be in ensembles with six feet separation.” Said Dr. Brown regarding the 12-foot recommendations that the state has provided.

When asked if there was a potential for regression in music and art students he said “Absolutely!  There are many programs across the state that have canceled music ensembles in their schools because they can’t fit in a room 12 feet apart.  Many schools are not singing in elementary music.  The social and emotional well being of children is suffering.  I am asking that the Governor bring a group of experts, including myself, together to look at the science to counteract this music decimation.”

He said that there were no positives that he could see with the music and art education world having to switch to virtual and called the 12-foot distance recommendation arbitrary. “I am not asking to change this willy nilly. I want to inform the Governor, Commissioner, and anyone who will listen. Let’s talk and let put music back in children’s lives. They need it now more than ever. Whether I am President of NYSSMA, Superintendent of DeRuyter, or Dad to Sophia and Nick, everything I do or say is to create systems where children thrive and build a place where children are safe.”

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