West Desert High School


This is West Desert High School where I graduated in 1985 as the salutatorian of a graduating class of two–me and my cousin. Grandpa was our guest speaker. Graduation program music performances included a song from the teachers, a song or two from the elementary kids,  a song from the high school choir, a performance from the orchestra, and a duet by the graduating class.  Music was an important part of our education K-12. Of course, there weren’t enough faculty members to have a specialized music teacher, but we had great teachers who also taught us music. Both elementary teachers sang and played piano and our high school teacher sang and played guitar. Many of our programs were natural extensions of family and community musicing.

You know, there are a lot of small remote schools in North America. In the United States, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there are roughly 8,038 rural public schools (3, 218 of them are “remote”).  That’s 56% of the total number of public schools (14,166)! I wonder who’s teaching music at these rural schools. What sorts of musicings take place? How are these rural programs different from the ”standard” suburban school music program? If there are any rural music teachers, students, or music teacher educators ”out there” who are tuning in, I would love to hear from you.

Here’s the URL for the NCES statistics on rural public schools:http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ruraled/page2.asp#many.

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