The Mercer Island Band Program is proudly non-competitive and strives for excellence resulting in international awards and performance opportunities. Close to 300 strong, one-in-four high school students and over 700 students district-wide participate in the grade 5-12 band program.
What is 'Team Teaching' and why does it make our MISD band program so strong?
This is a great question and it starts with 5th grade. Most other school districts that offer a 5th grade music program have a dedicated director per elementary school. That teacher would meet with that one set of 5th graders once a week (much like how we do enrichment rotations now for P.E., Library, etc). This works but it can be a 'one-size-fits-all' type of program. One teacher facing all the instruments. Personalized instruction is incredibly difficult.
We are able here in the Mercer Island School District to provide instrument specific instruction once a week to our 5th graders by an expert on that instrument (Mr. Bentley on trombones, Ms Smith on clarinets, Ms. Kaminski on flutes, Mr. Bixby on trumpets and percussion). And then one other day as a group of instruments which exactly imitates most other district's programs. The extra MISD instrument specific pull-out and time with a dedicated instrument instructor has paid off in amazing dividends for our students and our program as a whole. The level of progression is accelerated. The level of individual musical success of each of our students is quantifiably enhanced. And the level of retention of performance skills is at the highest range of measurement.
In short, this model really, really works.
We carry this team teaching through all 8 years of our student's MISD band experience. All of our directors have different talents and skills. Having access to this talent pool and the ability to share it across grades 5th thorough 12th is the ultimate best professional use of this resource. We stress collaboration to benefit our students in all our MISD classes. In the case of our MISD band department, we are able to implement this theme to benefit all our band students.
We are lucky to be in a district that believes in individualized instruction and professional collaboration. Thank you so much for supporting this wonderful team teaching music instruction model.