Choir vs. Band

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Pakatak, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Pakatak

    Pakatak New Friend

    I have a bit of an issue with my band director. My school runs on a 4-period schedule, with one semester counting towards a full year's credit. Anyway, the varsity choir and band are both offered only during 4th period, which obviously presents a minor problem. However, two other students (our only oboeist and our top tenor sax player) sing in choir every other day as part of a deal between the choir director and band director. I talked to the director beforehand, and she cleared me to audition for varsity choir, but she said that she needed time to think about whether to let me in. Knowing that, I auditioned for varsity choir and our band director was... not happy, I'll say, about it. She explained to me that I'm too important of a leader to the band to be an every other day person, and told me directly that if I were to join varsity choir she wants me to drop band.

    What doesn't make sense to me is that I'm being denied an opportunity to do both choir and band (like other people) BECAUSE my leadership is so important. I was wondering if anyone has had any sort of experience in dealing with this, or has any advice to give (either as a person or as a teacher/band director). I don't feel like I've adequately explained the situation, but I'll fix it if anyone finds a major fault in this that blows this out of context. Thanks for any help you might be able to offer.

    Also, it might be a good thing to add that she was hired over the summer as a one-year replacement for our old band teacher, and ended up having it made permanent after something happened.
  2. RG111

    RG111 Piano User

    Nov 12, 2003
    I don't have any advice for you, but its a shame you can't do both! Are there higher powers in the system where you might protest this?
  3. Pakatak

    Pakatak New Friend

    Yeah, the choir teacher wants me to be able to do both because she played Clarinet and sang in choir in high school. I'm not really sure how to get to this "higher power," as my counselor has every slot filled up between now and the time where I'm supposed to make my decision. I also don't want to play the card of vicious attack dog-parents (which they're ready to do) in order to do it. I'd much rather be a nice, happy diplomat than just have the demanding parents get their way.
  4. miles71

    miles71 Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 8, 2004
    I am a HS Band Director and hate to see any student be denied an opportunity musically, however what do you want to do in college? If you want to pursue music as a trumpet player than get as much time in the ensemble as you can. If you want to sing then go the other route.

    Yes, I know vocal music is a great preparation for college music no matter the discipline. But make sure you are working on your major focus, not dividing your efforts.

    At my school we make a real effort to schedule the large ensembles on different periods of the day so student can do more than one. However we also make sure students understand they should focus on their major performance medium. In your situation I am not sure I would be ok with ANY students missing rehearsal every other time, and I am sure the choir director would feel the same.

    I hope things work out, dont worry you will get to sing in college.
  5. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    My situation was, in the late 50's, my high school had a very good chioir program and also band and orchestra opportunities. They way the academics were structured, you were not allowed to take many electives, so being more intersted in band, I did that route and was able to do orchestra also in my senior year.

    Fortunately, I had been in a fine church choir program since the age of 6, so had a regular outlet until I was out of college and to this day, which has meant much to me for musical fulfillment and growth.

    Maybe an outside choral opportunity may be available outside of school for the poster? In more recent times, our daughter's were in band in high school, but also were able to take part in the musicals put on every year
    and summer productions that are put on in the community.

    I agree with Miles71 observations. Doing both activities would be disruptive, I think. Too bad the other persons were allowed to bend the system which could have unwanted consequences down the road.
  6. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    It seems that your Band Director is willing to gamble on the fact of losing you completely. Otherwise why would they make such an ultimatum? If you are so important to the band program why would they gamble on it all? I would decide which I felt was the most important to me and make a decision that way. If you feel they are of equal importance then I would say that they need to share you or one of the directors not have you at all. The real question is which do you enjoy the most and what type of music do you see yourself doing after you leave high school. If it is the trumpet, stay in the band. If it is vocal, go to the choir. Only you can make these decisions.
  7. bobmiller1969

    bobmiller1969 Pianissimo User

    Dec 13, 2008
    Mays Landing, New Jersey
    My Dad was the band director of my high school and shared his office with the choir director. About 25% of the band was also in choir and it never caused a problem. If I remember the schedule correctly, it was band on Monday and Friday, choir on Tuesday and Thursday, and Orchestra on Wednesday. I played the viola in orchestra. BTW. Anyone know the difference between a violin and a viola? Violas burn longer!

    Vocal music is just as important as instrumental music in my opinion. If you can't sing something, how are you supposed to play it?
  8. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    Where I grew up (Colorado) they called this a "Block" schedule. It usually killed music programs unless it was modified specifically to avoid this type of conflict. The kids that were interested in more than, choir, orchestra...had to choose and all the programs ended up suffering, not to mention losing some kids altogether because of conflicts with an acedemic class that's only offered once a semester. It's a flawed system, in my opinion.

    I wish I could give you a solution, but the reality is that you probably just need to pick one or the other. The band director is in a tough position in that it's hard to do much with a band when you've got a bunch of players missing every other day, and the school can't exactly change everything for you either. If it was me, I'd get my parents to talk to the school administration directly and show them how their schedule is making it impossible for students to take advantage of what the school offers. If there are other kids in the same situation, their parents can do the same. My high school had four different daily schedules for the four years I was there, so it's possible that a change could be made for next year.
  9. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  10. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Being, probably, the senior respondant here, I will tender my opinion. As a Junior High, ( middle school for you youngsters ), student, my sole focus was on my cornet. Heck, my voice was changing and I went from a spoken squeek to a Basso Buffo rumble several times in every sentence. This meant that vocal music was not for me. I focused on instrumental, and have never regretted it. My voice finally completed its change and I ended up with a rumbling ultra deep singing voice that I used in church and college, and eventually singing as the bass section leader in the local Barbershop Quartette chorus. I also play in two community concert bands, play in a 12 piece brass ensemble in a local mega church and do a good bit of solo work in local evangelistic churches, and in those times when I am requested, I sound taps for military funerals.

    I have been fortunate to have a talent both vocally and instrumentally. I personally feel that I probably learned more about written music in my trumpet instruction than I would have in vocal lessons, and this just made the vocal endeavors much easier for me. I had a trained musical ear, understood everything that I saw on each chart, and could then sing or play any printed music that I encountered. My advice? Stick with the trumpet at least until you get to college. You will become a better musician more quickly with the trumpet training and will be able to enter any vocal endeavor with the confidence that you can 'read music'.


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