future for band musicians?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by mimic, May 14, 2009.

  1. mimic

    mimic Pianissimo User

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    May 3, 2009
    Pennsylvania
    I just wanted to get some feedback from you guys about something I've been considering for some time now. What is your opinion on the future of band musicians in light of the declining band enrollment and general musical interest in the schools today. I'm well into my middle years and in my youth school bands were huge in ratio to student populations with really exceptional talent being not all that rare. It seemed when you were surrounded with many good players it spured you on to be much better not to mention the sharing of talents and student to student abilities that happened. Mykids, some of which have graduated and some still in h.s. all participated in band in a larger h.s. than I attended. I have been involved in their programs and seen many other h.s. bands. It's pretty pathetic compared to a few generations ago. One thing that I think clouds the issue is that there are some great musicians out there but the available pool of future musicians is getting smaller and less well taught. Some friends of ours lived in Italy for 15 years and in recent years moved back to the US. They said the level of musical talent and availability in Italy was fantastic on all school levels and they too were sad about the trend in young people towards band instruments in the US. I'd like to hear from some seasoned musicians about their observations. thanks
     
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    There's only so many dollars in the county system and so many school hours in a day.
    Band needs to move over so computer classes can be taught and forensic science classes for those students who wish to go into criminal justice at college.
    When I was in school, I never left my horn at school. I always took it home and practiced. Now, band directors require students to keep their horns at the school and are not allowed to take their horns home except for the weekend. At least this is how it is in my area. Hopefully it is not that way in most areas.
     
  3. mimic

    mimic Pianissimo User

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    I think you hit on a big reason there. The music programs are squeezed to the edge in many schools. One thing I'd like to know, if you have noticed a lessening of general abilities in the musicians around you. I play infrequently with a group of area musicians at holiday times. This draws from an entire county in my state. It has been run by the same directors for many years. They privately lament the level of talent coming in as the age of the musicians goes down. Have you seen this happening around you?
     
  4. RG111

    RG111 Piano User

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    Nov 12, 2003
    I can't speak for the school situation, but my private studio has some great young players that outdo anything I did at their age. Their talent, work ethic and love of music are an inspiration to me.

    Roy Griffin
     
  5. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    HELL YES!! Band directors might privately lament but they are the problem. Instead of bitching, they need to recreate themselves and the nature of their bands. The bottom line is the band directors need to work with what they got. This requires creativity, a good work ethic and an iron will to be the best band. I just love the latest weak excuse I've been hearing lately. "That school has a better band because they have more money"
    I have a real intolerance for this type of thing.
     
  6. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi RG,
    That's great!! PLEASE keep up the great work. Our education system needs it.
     
  7. mimic

    mimic Pianissimo User

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    May 3, 2009
    Pennsylvania
    I don't know if all of the blame can be placed on band directors. A good teacher can develop to a point but if the child isn't being supported at his home there is an important part of the learning process omitted. School boards can pare the budget on bands and this further reinforces a kids perception that a music program isn't a high priority. Our band had top rate uniforms and newer big band instruments. This made us proud and involved in trying to make our band top rate, along with dedicated directors and tutors. That same school today barely has a band , who up until very recently had the same director as when I was in band in the 70's. They now wear colored tee shirts and blue jeans for marching and concert settings. Have a third the members, it is really sad.
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with Markie, instead of whining, the directors of successful programs (not necessarily well funded) have established a value add.
    It is VERY easy to hide behind the victim of circumstance excuse. Sorry, if you need that, you are in the wrong job.
    Another TMer asked recently about how to better teach, I said it had NOTHING to do with music, just like the difference between a great pastor and a not so great one has NOTHING to do with faith or religion.
    To be successful, you need people skills, the ability to manipulate the school board and PTA, have the patience of Job and the creativity of Steven Jobs. The movers are what we need.
    Granted, torn up homes, zero funding and kids that only want to play an iPod are a real challenge. If anybody could do it, we wouldn't need YOU.

    Now go out and do the right thing! TM can be used to inspire the downtrodden too. Just start a thread, not as a whiner, but as a mercenary!
     
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I've noticed that most of the bands I play with are aging right along with me, and there are few younger players. Don't know if it's a function of younger players not being interested in band music (brass band, wind band, big band, etc.), not having the skills to play with better groups, or just not being in the loop. Replacements and subs almost always seem to be "seasoned" players like me, but there are exceptions, of course. I've had discussions with a few of my 50-something friends about it, and we wonder what will happen to these groups when we're gone.
     
  10. mimic

    mimic Pianissimo User

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    May 3, 2009
    Pennsylvania
    Rowak I love your enthusiasm. And what you are saying is right. I can think back to when I was in h.s. Our basketball team had been the worst for years. A new school board member got elected and he used to be an assistant coach for the Unv. of Maryland. He simply would not be satisfied with the current situation. He pushed the others around him to find a good coach and do whatever it took to make our team great. In 2 years we went to states as the smallest h.s. team and made it to the finals. Amazing. This however took money and comitment from the school and the players and by extension their families. The same could be done for band programs. I just simply don't know if there is the support to do it. As the last poster stated he doesn't see much of the younger crowd getting involved. This is the same story where I live. I have been probably the biggest supporter of my kids band programs but it is a lonely walk. Does anyone have a band program that is flourishing to share with us. What was done that precipitated this. I'd love to know more ideas that anyone has.
     

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