The vocation classes have suffered," says Jim Sleater, former music teacher at Sunnyside High School. Sleater
retired this summer after 31 years of teaching.
To help parents with costs, the Sunnyside School District
began buying 10 to 12 instruments per year and introducing them to elementary school students, with the idea that they would use them all through middle school and high school as long as they stay in music.
That started about three years ago, Sleater
says, and resulted in more interest in music in the younger grades.Next year's seventh-grade band should be bigger than usual, and the swell should reach the high school ranks in a few more years, he
says. The Grandview School District
also purchases instruments, especially the more expensive ones like baritone saxophones, which can run $4,000 each.
Meanwhile, more music students are using their scarce elective hours for specific genres like jazz band, choir and mariachis.While overall music participation has waned, Grandview High School
will offer two mariachi classes next fall, Sleater