What is Opening Notes?

We are a community-based organization supporting instrumental music in Littleton Public Schools. Under the umbrella of the Littleton Community Music Association, our basic objective is to increase the number of kids who participate in middle school and high school instrumental music programs. We want to provide more students with the broad benefits derived from participation in instrumental music, as outlined elsewhere in this website.

We are taking two paths. The first is to develop elementary school band programs to serve as a feeder to the middle school programs. We are currently operating seven such programs, with plans to add two more in the near future. The second is to provide funding for middle school teachers to bring in instrumental specialists to work with individuals or small groups as need to improve skill and confidence.

Elementary Focus

Our activity is in two related areas. The first is to develop a feeder system of elementary band programs that feed into the middle school programs. We currently have existing programs that cover students at the following elementary schools in the District: Lenski, Sandburg, Wilder, Highland, East, Field, Littleton Preparatory Charter School, and Twain. In addition, we assist and support existing programs in several other schools in the District, culminating in an annual Elementary Band Festival in April combining students from all programs. It is our goal to have elementary band programs in all District elementary schools by Fall 2015.

To allow us to provide this activity to a student population that is quite diverse, we have collected donated instruments from a variety of sources. While we charge tuition for participation in the classes, we offer partial to full scholarships, and instruments, to students unable to participate for financial reasons. Students in some of our classes take private lessons from qualified instructors, but some of the students in our Title 1 schools cannot afford that opportunity. We are hoping to provide private or small group lessons to those students at no cost to them to enhance their skill and confidence.

Also, in 2014-15 we have initiated Concerts and Kids, a program in which we have musicians perform for elementary kids during their lunch periods. We want to have instrumental music be as much a part of the students’ experience as other activities. We want them to realize that the saxophone is every bit as much of an option as soccer.

We are currently exploring new elementary violin classes in the District, possibly to start in January of 2015. Four such classes currently exist, and we hope to double that number by the Fall of 2016.

Middle School Focus

Several years ago the middle school and high school directors agreed to devote a portion of their annual instrument budget to allow middle school professionals to bring in instrumental specialists to work with individuals or small groups, primarily sixth graders. In 2012-13, we provided funds on a trial basis to Powell Middle School to allow them to bring in those same instructors to work primarily with 7th and 8th graders.

The following year we expanded that effort to include all four middle schools. We will not have sufficient data to assess the effectiveness of this effort. However, the 2014 freshman band class at Arapahoe High School, whose primary feeder is Powell, is the largest in the school’s history. This program in support of the middle school instrumental programs will continue into the future.

The middle schools are responding to a significant increase in the number of students by creating levels of 6th grade classes, to make sure that students are challenged and growing musically.