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Revival of Framingham's Elementary Instrumental Music Program in Progress

Tonight, June 10, there is a free instrument fair at Framingham High for parents of fifth grade students in the 2014-15 school year, who are interested in participating in the instrumental music program and the elementary band.

Brophy, Barbieri and McCarthy elementary fifth grade students perform at Fuller Middle School in June 2014. Credit: McCarthy PTO
Brophy, Barbieri and McCarthy elementary fifth grade students perform at Fuller Middle School in June 2014. Credit: McCarthy PTO
In 2010, the Framingham Public Schools eliminated the elementary band program, when it cut two band directors and a string instructor to save $116,351.

The following school year, the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest and Centre Music House stepped in to keep the love of music with elementary students, by offering paid band lessons for fourth and fifth grade students.

The program went from more than 700 students taking music lessons to just about 200 students. The following year, the program dropped again to 150-160 students participating.

Each of the town's eight elementary schools had students participating in the before school or after school paid music lessons, but Wilson Elementary had less than a handful of students in the program. Parents paid $325 for 32 lessons during the school year, in addition to the cost of renting the instrument.

In fall 2013, Framingham Public Schools, under the leadership of K-12 Arts Director Donna Wresinski, resurrected the fifth grade band program.

Of the 640 fifth grade students in the Framingham public district in the 2013-14 school year, 440 participated in the fifth grade instrumental music program said Wresinski.

Tonight, there is an instrument fair at Framingham High from 6 to 8, for parents of incoming fifth grade students for the 2014-15 school year, who are interested in participating in the instrumental music program and the elementary band.

Fifth grade students are being offered free, in-class lessons in clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet, trombone and drums.

Lessons in string instruments, including the previously offered violin and viola prior to the budget cuts, is not being offered still.

Students can handle and try out the instruments Tuesday night, said Wresinski.

There will be vendors, who will answer questions about renting an instruments, said Wresinski. There also are a limited amount of scholarships available for those who can't afford to rent, she said.

Lessons will start in the fall. Students will not be pulled out of academic classes but a music class once a week, said Wresinski.

Depending on the elementary school, lessons will be either 45 or 50 minutes a week, she said.

Students participating in the free, in school instrumental music classes, will learn to read music and play their instrument of choice.
FHS Mom June 10, 2014 at 06:01 AM
Best thing they ever did was make this voluntary. Great to have available for those kids interested, am glad it's back for them. Absolutely brutal, on the ears and the wallet, when your kids have zero interest.
Donna Wresinski June 11, 2014 at 07:39 PM
It has always been voluntary- just FYI
Mark W. McClennan June 10, 2014 at 11:21 AM
Outstanding to see although will be interesting to see what they do with horns, tubas and euphoniums.
Leslie Miller June 10, 2014 at 02:10 PM
Well, it's something, but if the school has a good music teacher, it is criminal to pull the children from music class. They only have music once a week, and if the music teacher is like two that I had in my school, it is important for the children to be in music class. The arts are not a frill. they are what make us thinking and problem solving adults.
Donna Wresinski June 11, 2014 at 07:42 PM
I promise..band is more than just playing an instrument. The kids who select band will also get music theory and world music- they just get the added benefit of playing an instrument/ No one agrees more about the value of music.

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