Ignorant High School Trumpet Player needs help!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by NotAJock2Day, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. NotAJock2Day

    NotAJock2Day New Friend

    May 29, 2008
    High school band drama!

    I'm a senior now and since freshmen year I was pegged to be section leader. It was all nice and peachy until last year the girl a chair behind me decided to run for president against me. She lost to me and broke down into tears right on the spot- later, the teacher gave her section leader as some sort of consolation prize. He said "I don't want her to have nothing" which is nice I guess from an objective standpoint.

    I gave her the benefit of the doubt that if she's going to cry for a leadership position she would at the very least, do her job and make an effort to play better. It's senior year, and she doesn't do anything at all. I've become section leader, without the title. The teacher asks me to run sectional lessons, I lead the pep/marching band, and I am principal trumpet in the Pit Orchestra for the play, all jobs that are reserved for the actual section leader. She comes to me for playing advice, the section comes to me for playing advice and it's just crazy. I don't see the justification for her position at all.

    If you were to look at it from a musical point of view, her playing ability is suspect also. The teacher, in my eyes, made a mistake by putting someone who's been playing scared for the past forever in a high stakes position, but doesn't want to admit it. We're playing An American Elegy at Carnegie Hall and our winter concert and the massive beautiful off stage trumpet solo was assigned to her. Never had a solo before in her life, too scared to take one in jazz... it might be a nice underdog story, but why risk the underdog when there was someone hardworking and more skilled to play the part in the first place?

    It's driving me bonkers, I need to find some way to rectify the situation. If I'm going to be doing all of her work because she's too lazy to and she's getting rewarded and acknowledged as some kind of trumpet corner stone, I'm not going to stand for it. What would you do?

    Maybe I just need a hug.
  2. edcon1981

    edcon1981 Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 25, 2008
    Central Jersey

    okay, first off i think your director is making a big mistake with assigning her the solos if she can't hack it. solos need to be assigned to whoever can do it, not whoever "should" be able to do it.

    second, regarding the extra burden placed on you because she is too inept to do it: stop doing the work. you're in high school, it's not a job, you don't get paid; tell the director it's not your responsibility. hopefull when he/she sees that the woman he put in there to placate her crocodile tears can't handle it he'll give the position back to you. you'd be surprised how easily you can get through to a teacher. his job is to help educate you. go into his office in a closed door setting, and tell him because of the extra work you have you are forced to put other responsibilities on the side burner. if he wants you to do the work, tell him you want her out of the equation and the title given to you. make it an "all or nothing" scenario.

    good luck, and be tough.
  3. wilcox96

    wilcox96 Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 31, 2005
    charlotte nc
    I'll provide the opposite view point from edcon...ha. It will then be up to "you" (notajock) to decide which course or something in the middle. ;-)

    How many more accolades do you need? From your description, you are doing most of the high profile stuff, getting to play, et al. Then, you tell us you are bummed about ONE solo? (stay with me...).

    There "is" life beyond High School. I don't know if you are going to continue to play. If so, then you cannot let something this small get in your way of - not only doing what your director and fellow band mates need (obviously based on your superior leadership and ability?), but also not to let it stop you from being the best trumpet player you can be. Now, you are basing your success, failure, and attitude on this girl. It is how "you" handle this that is important. Believe me, you will have MANY more situations like this.

    First, know that EVERY part in music is important. Do "yours"! Hey, life isn't always fair. Your job is to do your best, strive for excellence...and guess what? More and more opportunities to shine will come your way naturally. Do I blame you much for how you feel internally? No. I understand that. Still, you can't let that part determine everything else.

    I say, do what your director and band mates ask of you...with pleasure. Meanwhile..keep practicing and getting better FOR YOU. I don't care if 10 other people get solos. Everyone knows your worth and ability...and they also realize the politics of what else is happening. Who cares. This is one situation. If you maintain a good attitude through all this (and maintain a positive practice regimen)...it will be you who will be considered the better person and you who will be better for it (personally and musically).

    Hang in there.
  4. Zlatko

    Zlatko New Friend

    Apr 26, 2008
    Ajax, Ontario
    It seems that you are effectively the section leader and everyone knows it. The title shouldn't matter so much unless the title affects your opportunities after high school. Maybe that could be fixed with a written recommendation from your teacher.

    Are you doing more work than you would be doing as the official section leader? If not, you can't really complain since you are willing to do the work with the title.

    Another thing to consider is that high school exists for everyone to get an education and opportunities for growth should be spread out even among students that are not the best.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  5. NotAJock2Day

    NotAJock2Day New Friend

    May 29, 2008
    #2: The presidential position is one that requires me to be whatever the band needs me to be. Should I just leave younger trumpets in marching band without a leader? Should I allow the play to have a big gaping hole where a trumpet should be? Most of all, should I kick back and accept that she can't do her job while the younger players in the section have no guidance?

    #3: The issue I'm having is less about the solo- that's just the icing on the situation cake. I don't necessarily want credit for doing her work. I want her to do her work so there's some justification for her being section leader. If I am doing a section leader's work, why should I not hold the title? Rather, why, if she is NOT doing the section leader's work why should she hold the title?

    What makes it so much more difficult to accept is that someone who displays less musical ability and leadership qualities got a position that is heavily dependent on both. I refused to run the sectional a few days ago and I ended up telling her that the teacher told me to tell her to run one, so she did. It was absolutely dreadful, she didn't even know the music and had no idea how to help the underclassmen (so I did, because it's necessary). Also, while I agree that her playing should not affect mine, the band program at my school is a kind of unique family- if something is affecting the music negatively, the band as a collective suffers. It's an injustice to the other players in the room and the lives lost to have her play that solo badly at Carnegie Hall, especially when we're fund raising a good portion of $13,500 to go there in the first place.

    #4: Well, my complaining stems from her negligence of the position that she apparently wanted so badly.
    irishcornetboy likes this.
  6. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    I sincerly hope that I am wrong in my personal assesment of your teachers decision about that girl. Is it possible that he was trying to force her to bring herself up to the level of playing that he/she,( the teacher ), was in his/her opinion capable of doing? The teachers prime job, as has already been mentioned, is to educate. This includes pushing a recalcitrant student to try harder. You have, according to your statement proven yourself. In an educational setting, is that any reason to just allow the rest of the section to just 'float' along on your tailcoats? They all need challenges, just as you did in your rise to your present position. The mature position for you to adopt is to let the teacher find out for him/her self that the girl is just not working to make herself worthy of the solo.

  7. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

    Apr 28, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    It's often difficult to see someone with a title not living up to the duties usually associated with the title. It does however, seem that you are recognized by the section and everyone else as the "go to" person. The title really shouldn't mean that much to you and as long as she's not ruining the section it shouldn't be a big issue. If the title means that much to her, then so be it.
    As far as the solo in American Elegy goes, maybe this will push her out of her shell of insecurity. Plenty of people are afraid to play solos. Only by facing that fear and playing it successfully, can you start to break out of that mode. This may bolster her confidence and make her a better asset to your section. If she has huge problems with the solo in rehearsals, likely you'll be called upon to perform it anyway.
    The other thing to look at is, if she's doing a crappy job as section leader, be thankful she wasn't made band president instead of section leader.
    I have 3 daughters so I'm familiar with the power of tears, but equally immune to it over time. I can say no and usually am less inclined to back down if there's crying. I'm trying to make sure they aren't used to getting their way in the world by crying.
  8. NotAJock2Day

    NotAJock2Day New Friend

    May 29, 2008
    I wish there was some big justification for her being SL that I missed, so I tried my best to respect her position and back off. She's not performing as a nurturer to the budding trumpeters or as a player so I can't see what the teacher is getting at.

    Anyway, is there not a point where potential simply isn't enough? If she was a younger student then okay, but if you're going to alienate someone that cared enough to make an effort realize his potential is that fair? It's both of our senior years, after all.

    I'm sorry I'm being difficult, all your responses are very helpful!:-) The nature of my Socratic responses just reflects what's going on... we have off from school today I'm going to talk to my teacher, definitely.
  9. jscahoy

    jscahoy New Friend

    Oct 10, 2007
    I'm with Wilcox. Your very first sentence says it all: High school band drama.

    You're not being difficult. I know how much thought you've put into this, how unfair this seems. I've been there. But ten years from now, when you're living your real life, you'll wonder how this could have possibly seemed so terribly important.

    One older guy's advice: let it be. Help her when you can, do what the director says, keep your mouth shut. Let your playing doing the talking. If she blows the big solo, that's on the director, not you.
  10. Wlfgng

    Wlfgng Piano User

    Aug 15, 2008
    Talk to your teacher for sure, but do not push it. Continue to be the go to guy for your secetion, remember:

    Actions speak louder than words( or solos)

    Somedays you just have to take one on the chin and solider on. Sooner or later she will be exposed through events or circumstance as a fraud.

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