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Summer Music Program

Sullivan High School, MO

Sullivan High School, 1073 E Vine St, Sullivan, MO 63080, USA
Sullivan School District
Directors: Natalie Moore, Chuck Moore
Category: Retention Program
Award: Gold, 2020

Project Description

The purpose of the summer music program is to keep younger students playing their instruments and singing and having the older students mentor the younger students and/or learn a new instrument. The summer music program meets for four weeks as part of the school district’s summer school program. We currently have three paid instructors (2 band directors and 1 choir director.) All students play in band and sing in choir regardless of whether they are a part of the band or choir in the regular school year. At the end of four weeks, the band and choir present a concert for the community, parents, and school faculty and staff. The final objective of this program is to maintain and retain students in the music program into high school. It is especially a heavy recruitment tool for instrumental students to become a part of the high school choral program because as the choir director, I don’t have the opportunity to work with middle school students outside of the summer music experience. Mr. Chuck Moore has started this program and it has developed into a huge part of why our students are staying involved in music in high school.

Target Audience

Instrumental and Vocal students grades 6-12. Students from Sullivan Middle School, Sullivan High School.

Overview of planning and execution process for this project

Early planning stages are getting the program approved by the school district. (September/October timeline)
Included in the approval comes what the district is willing to commit to as far as staff and music budget.
After receiving approval, our music teachers talk with middle and high school students about the upcoming program and the benefits for both younger and older musicians. In January, information must be sent out to parents about the upcoming summer music program with specific dates and times and an overview of the experience and the positive learning opportunities it presents for their students. Special emphasis is placed on the program being free to attend, along with free meals as a part of the summer school program. Students attending this program reap the benefits of a long music camp but without having to pay.

Community Impact

We aren’t sure that we can put into words or the measurement of the improvement of our instrumental and choral programs. We feel like without it, that students would not progress and would sometimes lack the confidence to continue into high school. The retention rate has been off the charts and the growth of both programs has been impacted greatly. Our administration comment regularly about how this experience for the students has greatly improved the retention rate in our band middle and high school and high school choir programs.

Overall budget


Specific Budget Breakdown

We used the money for purchasing band and choir music for the end performance.

  • Choral Music- 3 pieces of music: 60 pieces x $2.25= $135.00
    • 60 pieces x 2.10= $126.00
    • 60 pieces x 2.10= $126.00 Choir total = $387.00
  • Instrumental Music- 6 pieces of music:
    • 5 pieces x $75.00= $375.00
    • 1 piece x $100= $100 Band total= $475.00
  • Teacher salaries for 4 week program: $1380/teacher Salary total= $4140.00

What was your total program enrollment during the prior school year?


What is your projected program enrollment for the current school year?


New or recurring project?


How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?

Initially the summer music program was strictly instrumental. The program has grown to include choral students. All choral students were invited to learn an instrument and all band students learned how to sing.

Challenges/obstacles that were encountered

Being able to get all stakeholders on board was difficult. Mr. Moore presented the benefits and how they outweighed the obstacles.
There were challenges with enrollment when the program was first implemented. Students had to give up their personal time and summer vacation to commit to the program and going to school. The district had to hire staff and purchase resources for a new program that they weren’t sure was going to succeed.

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

Each year, the band program increases by approximately 10% at the high school level each year. The summer program creates not only an educational experience but a bond between the band students. By the time they enter their freshmen year, they have become an unbreakable bond and continue in the band program. For the choral program, each year the choirs grow because of the sheer number of band students who join choir going into high school. Many of these students don’t sing in middle school but join in high school. Both the choir and band programs have grown exponentially since starting the summer music program in 2013.

Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?

We feel like it’s important to take the steps mentioned earlier in the planning stages for starting a new summer music program. Reach out to others who are directing a similar program for advice on their successes or failures.

The biggest suggestion is to expect years to judge the success of the program once it is implemented.

Our administrators advise that other districts are committed to supporting the program for several years to collect data on the level of success.

We encourage that directors allow students to have excused absences for vacations or camps during the program. This will assure that students and parents buy in to giving up their time in the summer.

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