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What is school band going to be like in 2020?

By Sydney Henry
September 18, 2020
The Birmingham School Band Report 2020

So, you wanna know what band is going to look like in 2020? We took the entire month of August to talk to band directors, parents, students, and more to learn more about school band in 2020 for the greater Birmingham area. Here are the highlights you need to know from the full report.


Instrument Coverings

In national studies, instrument coverings have been found to be effective in reducing the spread of airborne viruses, but 0% of the schools sampled in Birmingham will be using them for the 2020 school year.

However, all band students who are attending in person are required to wear masks. For band class in particular, some schools have allowed their students to modify their masks to have mouth holes when playing certain instruments. Despite some concerns, this has also been found to be effective.



The registration for new band students is lower than average for most schools. This is likely caused by the lack of recruiting by band directors. Only 40% of Birmingham bands actively recruited for the 2020 season. For subsequent school years, it is generally recommended that band directors and parents alike focus on encouraging students and other parents to join band through marketing messages via fliers, social media, and more.



Class sizes are also changing like never before. 90% of bands are offering some type of online instruction, while 10% of bands require in-person attendance to participate.

Even with both decreased participation and decreased sign-ups, 70% of bands are having more than one section, mostly in an effort to further reduce class size.


Parent Concerns

The #1 stressor reported by directors was parent and student concerns. And it's no surprise, given all that 2020's thrown at us, that this is the case! Many instructors feel that they do not have answers to all the questions that their band community has. The majority of the types of questions asked are related to the students' access to band instruction, with many concerned about the quality of instruction online.




General Recommendations

Taking all of this information into account, there are some general best practices that authorities both locally and nationwide have recommended:

  1. Cover your instruments:  

    Face masks are helpful, but if the majority of your band needs their mouth to perform and are practicing indoors, the best way to limit air circulation is through instrument masking. The fabric should be double-layered, thick fabric that stretches taut across any opening of an instrument that lets out air. Asking these students to cover their instrument would be simple, but cheap options for bulk fabrics and DIY solutions also suffice.
  2. Be patient:  

    This is true no matter if you're a student, parent, or director. If you're a student or parent, understand the unpredictability of the situation and do your best. Take extra time to learn at home, set up additional talks with the director, and stay connected to your fellow band students and parents.
    If you're a director, stay calm. No one has to have all the answers... even you!
    Talk to your community honestly and transparently. Come up with a list of common questions and write your thought-out answers and post it to your band's social media pages or website for all to see. This will save you time and unnecessary stress!
  3. Advocate for band: 

    If you're reading this article, you're probably a fan of band. If you want band to continue to thrive, it's important that you talk to friends about joining band or having their child enroll. Band recruiting in the past has found success when their messages involve the scientific, social, and learning benefits of band.
    Tell your school's administration how much you and your child enjoy the band program. All of these things will help others see the value you get from band and will nudge them to join next year.


We hope this short post has taught you some important info about school band in 2020. To download your copy of the free full report, click the link here or go to the School Band Rentals tab at and click on "School Band Report 2020."

Or revisit this info by watching the video down below!




And for all your band needs during this crazy year, Bailey Brothers Music is the place to go. We rent instruments and sell accessories, but more than that, we have dedicated band experts who are ready to answer your questions.  Though the future is uncertain, we will continue to do our best to support the entire band community in and around Birmingham so that we make musicians for years to come.

About Author
Sydney Henry

Sydney Henry is the marketing specialist at Bailey Brothers Music Company. In her spare time, she can often be found with coffee, a book, and her three cats.


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