August 25, 2020
SOA High School Band Students and Parents:
I hope that this message finds you safe, rested, and doing well! I am looking forward to seeing and working with you all very soon, either in person, or virtually. It is my honor to serve as your Director of Bands here at the Charleston SOA High School! I am excited to re-connect with all of our returning band members, and to enthusiastically welcome our new students and parents to our amazing band program. As we prepare to begin our 2020-21 school-year, I want to take this opportunity to share some things with you which will help you plan to have a successful start to the year in the SOA HS Band.
Whether or not you are receiving your instruction from me virtually, or in person, band classes will mostly be performance based. You will need to have a properly working instrument, a device (computer, laptop, Chromebook, IPad, phone, etc.) that you can receive virtual instruction from, and any accessories that it will take for you to be able to perform daily on your instrument. (Reeds, valve oil, etc.) If you do not have reeds, percussion sticks, etc., please make arrangements now to secure these important items prior to the start of school on Sept. 8. If you need a school-owned instrument, please email me ASAP so that we can make arrangements to get you the instrument before Sept. 8. If you are planning on being in school receiving face to face instruction, you will be required to have some sort of instrument bell cover, flute air director, etc. You can google search instrument bell covers and get many options.
All class content and structure (assignments, handouts, web links, etc.) will be delivered through our new learning management system called Canvas. I am still in the process of setting up those classes and their content in Canvas. Once completed, class information will be shared almost exclusively through Canvas. At least until we are all back in school together, band literature (music) and performance assignments will occur using the program called Smart Music. Every student in the SOA HS Band will be provided with a Smart Music subscription, which will be funded by the band boosters. The subscription info will also be shared with you very soon. In the meantime, you can access a free trial subscription at www.makemusic.com. I would highly recommend you doing this, to become familiar with the program, and all that it has to offer.
One of the defining characteristics of the SOA Band has always been the use of supplemental professional musicians from the Charleston area to enhance your music experience. This will continue this year, but due to Covid-19 and the risk of bringing in additional people, the format will most likely be through Zoom Masterclasses, at least until it is safer to do so in person. In addition, if you can possibly afford it, PRIVATE LESSONS are strongly recommended. Let me know if you need contact information on private instructors. They are almost all teaching lessons virtually, so go ahead and get started if you can!
As a way to provide performance opportunities for us this year, I am looking into possible outdoor venues to hold concerts. I have a few leads, but if any of you have any ideas on places (outdoors) that we can perform, socially distanced of course, please let me know.
Finally, as we approach a new school year with LOTS of unknowns, please keep an open mind, be willing to work with us, and be flexible, as we do what we can to provide a positive, meaningful, musical experience for all of our band students. There will be MUCH more information forthcoming very soon.
Kenneth D. Turner
Director of Bands, Charleston School of the Arts High School