Is it Really Enough? A Look at The Music Department Budget

Danika Boquist

A lot of students have at one point in their school career decided to take a class that is a part of the music department, whether it’s choir, orchestra, band, or another class. With the amount of students who take interest in these classes, the department must need quite a bit of money to keep it running well, and to keep the students coming back to these classes. So the question is, does the Stevens Point School District give enough money to the music department every year?

How Is The Budget Distributed Anyway?

The budget for vocal music for the 2021-2022 school year is $12,573, and the budget for instrumental music for the 2021-2022 school year is $43,436. Now, how is this money distributed? Well, Connie Negaard, the Director of Secondary Education, says that “50% is for instruments and maintenance, roughly 10% trips and the remainder for supplies.” So, to put it in perspective as to how much money that actually is, about $27,000 dollars would go towards instruments, about $4,350 goes towards trips, and then about $17,375 goes towards other needed supplies, like sheet music, music stands, and other things. 

How Much Can Music Stuff Even Cost?

Now, thinking about how much money goes to each of the different things that make up our district’s music department, it poses the question, how much can this stuff really cost anyways? Well, the average cost for band and orchestra instruments can be anywhere from $100-$1,000 dollars, and can even be more. Some of the costs of more popular instruments are typically $100 for a violin, $270+ for a drum set, $1,000 for a saxophone, according to What Is The Cost of Musical Instruments, a website with average instrument price estimates. Now, that can get pretty expensive if there are a lot of students. If each music class had around 30 students, and each instrument is at least $100, though they are typically more expensive, that would be $3,000 per music class to all have an instrument. Sheet music is also another thing the music classes need, and that can be very pricey as well. According to the Waco Tribune, sheet music for a whole band and orchestra is usually around $800, but can be as high as $4,000 for more popular tunes. Factor in marching band music,which in itself is about $75-$100 per song. There is also instrument maintenance and now Covid considerations that need to be paid for, so now, the real question is, is the budget enough to pay for all of this? It is. The budget has plenty of room to cover these costs. Music teachers can reuse music to avoid paying for all brand new music every year, and many, if not most, students buy their own instruments, so there is no need to pay for the instruments for every single student.

Why It Could Be Said It’s Not Enough

One could say the music department budget really isn’t enough. Connie Negaard, Director of Secondary Education, says that the district does not get any special school discounts on instruments or sheet music, so paying full price for those could be a struggle if most of it costs hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars, also keeping in mind that students might have irreparable damage to instruments or other supplies like music stands, and those cost money to replace as well, and the rate that things may be damaged and need maintenance or replacing is unpredictable, so the budget could need more money to keep that in mind. Also, the new Covid restrictions, including specialized playing masks and bell covers for the bands, cost extra money too. Though these things make a lot of sense as to why the budget could need to be more, the budget actually has quite a bit of room for the new Covid equipment, and for maintenance and item replacements already built in. That is why the budget is enough.