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Changes for high school students who participate in music ensembles

on August 15, 2016

High school students will no longer need to miss academic classes to take music lessons

As part of the District’s renewed focus on academics as a priority, a new initiative beginning this fall means that high school music students will no longer need to be pulled out of their academic classes for music lessons. Instead, lessons will be scheduled as a separate class.

Students who wish to play more than one instrument or participate in more than one ensemble can now earn credit for their participation in private lessons, as permitted by the New York State Education Department. This approach allows students to participate in multiple music and academic programs without missing crucial instructional time.

See important information below about earning credit for private lessons:

Regulations for Private Lessons at the High School Level

Student/Parent Responsibilities

  • Student must be enrolled in two ensembles
  • Must keep track of hours and submit to ensemble teacher quarterly. Teacher will submit to high school administration quarterly
  • Student must have taken at least one year of study in an ensemble prior to doing private lessons
  • Agreement that the student practices a minimum of 5 hours a week independently for EACH ensemble
  • A formal application to move to private lessons must be made before October 1st, 2016. All subsequent years, the deadline will be Sept. of the current school year. This needs to be filed annually
  • All practice books, materials, and cost of the lessons will be the financial responsibility of the parent or guardian
  • Student will need to pass a formal quarterly performance-based exam as developed and administered by the Warwick Valley music department

Private Lesson Teacher Responsibilities and Criteria

  • Must be willing to submit a grade at the end of each quarter, no later than 1 week prior to the end of each marking period, for the work completed
  • NYSSMA member preferred
  • Credentials of the teacher must fall into one of the following:
    • Former music teacher in a public or private school with an instrumental concentration for band or orchestra instruments or vocal concentration for choral
    • Submitted record of former students that moved onto college study of music
    • A music performance or music education degree with an instrumental concentration for band or orchestra instruments or vocal concentration for choral
  • Fill out and sign all regulation paperwork needed for the state.
  • Curriculum from the Warwick Valley music department will be followed to ensure topics, techniques and methods taught will be covered in private lessons. Alignment and coverage of school lesson curriculum is achieved or exceeded.

If you have any questions regarding this change, please contact James Yap, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Services:, or Shari Blauner, Department Chair for Art/Music:


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