Arts FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
You know that question you've been really wanting to ask?
Your answers may be here! These are some questions that often come up. You may also find helpful forms located here. If you need more information on any item, please contact the Director of Fine and Performing Arts at email@example.com.
NOTE: The first few questions are specific to our current situation with Covid-19 and hybrid learning.
Hybrid Question 1: Will our students still have art and music instruction?
Yes! our students will continue to have instruction in both art and music at all levels....with some adaptations from the norm. Those will be shared below.
Hybrid Question 2: What about instrumental lessons and ensembles?
We have continually provided string lessons to our students in grades 5 and 6 who played previously. By maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, we saw little to no interruption for strings. With the spread of aerosol spray from wind and brass instruments, we had until recently NOT been playing those in school and instead having students on those instruments practice at home. Fortunately, we recently purchased bell covers and masks so that our bands can once again play in school! Many thanks to the district for understanding the importance of our music program for students.
Hybrid Question 3: I've heard there is no singing this year! Why?
Out of an abundance of caution, the district decided to start the year with no singing in school. While that made teaching music in our elementary schools challenging and teaching chorus to our secondary students almost impossible, we found ways to provide good music instruction to all of our students. Fortunately, the district recently purchased masks specific to singing for our secondary choral students who are now able to sing in school! For our elementary students, clear guidance and scientific research indicates that singing is safe while wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate distance. Our new guidelines ask elementary music teachers to limit singing to short periods of time when indoors and require 6' distancing and masks. We are hopeful that by next fall we can expand this possibility!
Hybrid Question 4: If we have chosen the full distance learning option, will my child still be able to take art and music?
Absolutely! With very few exceptions, your child will be taking art and music as they would have before the pandemic hit. Obviously, teachers are getting creative about how to incorporate students in school and at home (at the same time), but your student will have exposure to the arts. The only exception is a course like CERAMICS at the high school. When we are not able to teach a course remotely, we will do our best to offer an acceptable alternative. Thank you for understanding!
1. At what age do children enrolled in HPS start music and art education?
All students in kindergarten at any Hamden Public School receive 60 minutes of music and art instruction each week. This instruction continues through elementary school. once they enter Hamden Middle School, students are given choices about which art form they would like to study. In high school, students are required to get one full credit in the arts before graduation. This can be done via classes in visual arts, music or theatre.
2. At what age do children start receiving instruction on a musical instrument?
While students in primary grades are exposed to a variety of instruments including Orff and percussion instruments, we introduce formal instrument study to all students in grade three with the recorder. In grade four, students are given the opportunity to choose an instrument that they would like to study in the brass, woodwind, string or percussion families. Students are given small group instruction on that instrument and many advance into our elementary band or orchestra ensembles. INSTRUMENT CHOICE FORM
NOTE: Due to restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we will not be offering beginner instrumental lessons to 4th graders to start the 2020-2021 school year. We hope to resume beginner instruction as soon as guidelines allow us to do so successfully.
3. How do we obtain an instrument for my child to play in grade four?
There are several ways to obtain an instrument. A detailed explanation can be found here: INSTRUMENT VENDOR FORM
Students are encouraged to rent an instrument from a local vendor. We suggest several local vendors including Family Music Center of Hamden, All Things Musical of Hamden and Creative Music of Monroe. Please be careful about buying very cheap instruments on line. They are often substandard and break easily causing more problems than they are worth. Also, students tend to grow out of instruments quickly. Renting allows them to always have an instrument that fits them at their developmental stage. For students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch, students may rent an instrument through Hamden Public Schools. HPS subsidizes or fully pays for the costs involved in these cases. As students get older, we recommend a "rent-to-own" program through a local vendor. We work very hard to ensure that every student who WANTS to play an instrument is able to play an instrument.
4. My child is entering THIRD GRADE. Do we have to buy a recorder?
In order to ensure that all students have the same type of recorder (there are dozens!), we offer students two options. They can purchase a recorder from us for the cost of the recorder (between $5 and $6). That becomes THIER recorder. They keep it when they are done. It helps build a sense of responsibility and ownership. We encourage this. Students may BORROW a previously used recorder from us (the recorders are thoroughly sanitized) for the year. There is NO CHARGE for this, but if a student loses or destroys the recorder, the parent is responsible for the replacement value (between $5 and $6). Students may also choose to use a recorder purchased for an older sibling. We do suggest that parents check with their music teacher before purchasing one on their own to make sure it is the proper recorder for our instruction.
NOTE: Recorders will be provided to all 3rd grade students for the 2020-2021 school year (only) at no charge to families.
5. What is Recorder Karate?
HPS uses the Recorder Karate method of progression in recorder instruction. Basically, as students become more competent and are able to play more challenging songs, they receive recognition in the form of either a colored band or colored string to attach to their recorder. Most students are motivated to practice in order to obtain the next color "belt". However, this method does not overtake the purpose of recorder instruction in our classrooms.
6. Do you accept donations of any kind?
So glad you asked! YES!!! YES!!! We gladly accept donations. Although not all donations are suitable for our use, we appreciate any offers. Examples of donated items include: period or specialized clothing (theatre department), new art supplies (art), musical instruments (music), monetary donations (to allow our students to go on field trips etc.). We get many offers each year for piano donations. Unfortunately, most pianos meant for the home are not acceptable for our use. However, the Director of Fine And Performing Arts will look at any piano. We appreciate anyone thinking of us when moving or downsizing. Whenever possible, we accept the donations. Please contact the Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Can my child take more than one arts course at the middle school and high school?
At Hamden High School, students can take as many arts courses as can fit into their schedule. With careful planning, a student can take multiple arts courses in a single year. Unfortunately, the schedule at Hamden Middle School restricts what choices a student has. Currently, all students in grade 7 take art and music or theatre. In grade 8, students may select only ONE arts elective (band, chorus, orchestra, acting, visual arts).