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[INST] Spartan Instrumental Music - Preview of the 2020-2021 School Year

Sent: Fri Apr 3, 2020 • 3:00 PM PDT
From: Kneebone, Jason
[INST] Spartan Instrumental Music - Preview of the 2020-2021 School Year
2020 Banner 8in Black.png

To Our Current and Future Music Families,

As we approach the remainder of this semester engaged in Distance Learning, we would like to give you a sneak peek at what the next school year will look like within the walls of Packard Hall. Since a few large systems are changing (new bell schedule & later start time) we have plenty of opportunity to reflect and evolve. Every decision that we've made has had the students' needs and best interests in mind. We are confident that if students remain our priority, the strength of the program will stay at the high quality that our stakeholders have come to expect from Mountain View High School Performing Arts.

We understand that change can often have a wide variety of effects on people and institutions. The purpose of this email is to outline the changes that will be implemented next year in hopes that the transparency and early heads up will help mitigate some of the confusion and speculation that may have already trickled into the community. Please realize that your two Directors (with the guidance of a few well-trusted colleagues) have been engaged in many hours of brainstorming and advocating in order to make the best and most well-informed decisions.

-= MV Spartan Music 20-21 Changes =-
  • Marching Band will populate 8th Period in the Fall Semester. With 'Zero Period' effectively a thing of the past, the biggest adjustment we had to consider was where to place Marching Band during the day. We felt that it would not be a prudent option to schedule it within Periods 1-7 since students are only engaged with that course for the first semester. This would negatively affect their academic course options and make it more difficult to participate in other electives. This plan is most similar to our current schedule. The weekly rehearsal schedule has not been set yet - we will send separate correspondence about that, but you can expect typical after school and Saturday rehearsals. Marching Band will only meet before school when we have special engagements like our annual Middle School Tour.
  • Winter Guard & Winter Percussion will populate 8th Period in the Spring Semester. After Marching Band season ends, we typically transition to our two Winter Auxiliary programs. Keeping them in 8th Period allows them to operate with a flexible schedule, similar to Marching Band.
  • Auxiliary Unit (Color Guard) will be removed from the Master Schedule. With electives being impacted the most by the shift to 1-7, we felt that our supplementary 'Color Guard class' was a logical component to remove. This will allow a year-long ensemble course to populate 7th Period. All Color Guard members will only have to enroll in Marching Band.
  • Jazz Band will be a year-round Ensemble. With the removal of Zero Period (and the shift of all athletics to after school) it is now practical to finally run our Jazz program all year. This means more performance opportunities while providing a healthier place for our Jazz-only musicians. 
  • We will be adding a Third Band Class to the Master Schedule. This is the one we're most excited about! 'Concert Band' will be the first step for our incoming Freshmen band students. This course will be co-taught by both Anna and Jason. It will focus on musicianship, entry-level music theory, Brass/Woodwind/Percussion fundamentals, and help unify the sound of our newest musicians.
-= How We Will Navigate These Changes =-

In an attempt to facilitate the transition into next year, here are some helpful nuts & bolts:
  • Next year's Jazz Band will be 'open enrollment'. We will not be holding auditions during the first year of this new rollout. We invite all Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet, & Rhythm Section musicians to enroll in 'Jazz Ensemble' (email your counselors!) if they are interested in playing. We will try our best to craft at least two appropriate-level groups.
  • 'Audition Groups' will move forward with a slight procedural change. As per our newly published Remote Audition Guidelines, we will be listening to current MVHS students who are interested in our advanced ensembles through the end of April. These guidelines have been posted on our website and have been sent to our current Symphonic Band and String Orchestra students who have expressed interest. Incoming Freshmen will be listened to on a case-by-case basis at the beginning of the first semester.  
  • Music is a Team Sport. The best part about this department is the sheer amount of high-quality parent, admin, & community support that we receive each and every year. This is one thing that we don't anticipate will change. In fact, if you know parents with first-time students joining MVHS Music, get them involved! We've seen our school and local communities grow and come together in wonderful ways lately and that's not going to slow down.
This information will be available shortly on a new page on - if you know folks who aren't on our eLists, they can be directed there to stay up-to-date with our plan for next year. At this time, we aren't able to sufficiently answer any questions that don't directly relate to Instrumental Music. We try hard to determine which information is the most necessary and relevant for our students and parents and we can imagine that more questions will arise. Instead of addressing those on an individual basis, we will send a follow-up FAQ when it's appropriate. Thank you for your understanding!

We wish you a happy & healthy end to what has been a very trying semester. We respect the difficult decisions that are being made around the state and local communities and will do our best to communicate to you the ways that Instrumental Music fits into those decisions.

All Our Best,
-Jason Kneebone & Anna Linde


Jason J. Kneebone
| MVHS Performing Arts Department
| email: jason.kneebone (at) MVLA
| office: 650.940.4608 web:
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." ~Gustav Mahler

"Burn the land and boil the sea, You can't take the sky from me." ~The Ballad of Serenity

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