Ignorant High School Trumpet Player needs help!

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

  1. wilcox96

    wilcox96 Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 31, 2005
    charlotte nc
    I get it. I understand that this is a collective disappointment, not just "one" thing. Plus..you have a rather important event coming up where it would be nice if it were "you" who were recognized with a solo.

    Okay...I suggest you meet with the director in private. Explain that you appreciate the accolades that you've been given and enjoy doing them. However, it seems those duties (to you) should be duties of the section leader. Can he (the director) explain his concept? Maybe it's just semantics. Maybe it truly is just the politics. He has YOU doing the work because he knows YOU are the best to handle them. Maybe there's something else political (like the girl's parents are heavy supporters of the band boosters...or some kind of garbage)_...who knows. At the very least, maybe your director can help you understand where he is coming from. I would just hate to see you give up...sulk...(not negative...I don't mean it that way towards you)...and not be who you are. Heck, your director may even say relinquish the duties to the SL. In a case like that... you will have no choice but to take your place. It truly is the director's decision. Right, wrong...stupid or not.

    I hope you can end up enjoying your amazing opportunity to play in famed Carnegie Hall. It will be an experience you will long treasure. Don't mess that up for yourself with dread/worry over this situation. I would hate that for you. I had a ball there... (that's me on the left)

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2008
  2. habitatchad

    habitatchad Pianissimo User

    Aug 18, 2008
    Clinton, TN
    Harry Truman once said, "You can accomplish anything in life as long as you don't care who gets the credit."

    Just my .02

  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Instead of whining, there are 2 things that you can do, quit or bust your chops to get the teacher to change their mind. I don't see the drama, or the problem. You are getting what you need to get more playing experience, you are being exposed to the reality of life being that the best does not always win, and honestly, if your teacher has already set up the girl as the boss, you can't change ANYTHING to help the kids after you are gone.
    What would I do?
    Tell the teacher that YOU want credit for what you do. Get a certificate that YOU are the ACTING section leader. That leaves the girl the original title, but gives you the piece of paper to help get auditions and maybe a better chance in college. If she is not a senior and you are really busting ass, he should have NO problem with this. If he has a hard time admitting that a mistake has been made, then you really have no course of action. If you just stop the extra activities YOU lose experience, if you make her life hell, you will be labled as the troublemaker.
    Nope, professionality often demands that we keep our mouths shut and perform, or get out - provided that there is an alternative.
    Please, no whining!
  4. Sauer

    Sauer Pianissimo User

    Mar 20, 2007
    Rowuk is right. Oh well, i guess you can say. I've had my problems with my section before. For example, 8th grade band, my friend Mason and I are both of equal playing ability, but he shows off more (i dont really show off at all) and he gets all the credit and first chair. I played my 2nd chair (still 1st part) all year and was fine with it. I actually improved so i could beat him out the next year.
  5. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    First, I think the use of the term "whining" is unnecessary.
    A question was asked and answers should be given in a civil tone.

    My answer is simple: Lead at all times. Take charge of your section when she doesn't. Thirty years from now at your high school reunion your section players will know and talk to you about the great performance at Carnegie Hall. She can bake cookies.

    Watch the movie: "Saving Private Ryan." Be the Tom Hanks character.
  6. nosray

    nosray Pianissimo User

    Aug 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    I think you should talk to your teacher, and do what Rowuk says. Either that or you just lay back and just forget about it. If it really matters you could get a reference from your teacher when you are going into college that says you were the section leader. But if she really bugs the hell outa ya, tell your teacher that you plan on having a musical career and this last year is really really important for you and her being useless is no help to the band or you. You have to learn to make these decisions yourself because you will encounter similar ones quite often later in your life.
  7. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I was a band director from 1980 until this past December when I moved into administration. I took a job that I really didn’t want because my school needed me to step up when we were going through a hard time. I gave up the band, which I loved, and now serve in another capacity, which helps the entire school.

    The greater good of many must always be more important than the good and glory of the individual. You took the position of band president to help everyone, and that means that in certain times you need to step back and let others have the glory whilst you do the work. That sounds exactly like what is going on right now in your band, specifically in your section.

    As band president you took on the responsibility of making sure that the entire band reached maximum success. I suggest that you do the following:

    1) Teach the young lady to play the solo. As president you need to work with her until she reaches a level of proficiency that will make her, and the entire band proud.
    2) You need to keep offering quiet advice in sectionals. If she is the section leader you need to give her the advice she needs to run a successful sectional, yet stand back and watch her succeed and allow her to take the credit.
    3) Remember that your role as band president is to advise the director of things he/she needs to know from within the band, and to perform any duties he/she asks you to do. As a student you HAVE NO POWER. The band council is a very important form of volunteer labor. A committed group of people who are there to perform any actions necessary for the band to succeed while taking no credit for that success.

    It sounds to me like you really want to be principal trumpet in your band. My suggestion would be for you to work out a trade – she gets to be band president working with the director behind the scenes, and you get to be section leader/principal trumpet. You would get to work the trumpet section, and you would get the solo you obviously want so badly. She would get the job she cried for, and would probably do a very good job at it.

    Leaders don’t need titles. If you are the leader in the band the rest of the band knows it. Your leadership ability as a musician would still be used, and if your band director has two brain cells to rub together he would still ask your advice on important issues. The thing you will need to remember is that if you chose to give up your power as president you will need to accept the fact that you may get the solos and the section back, but you will need to respect the title of the person who took your place.

    Remember what I told you - The greater good of many must always be more important than the good and glory of the individual. Do what is best for the entire group, not what is best for you. In the end the rewards of helping the group will come back to you in the great feeling that you helped them accomplish the goals of many – not the goals of one!

    Good luck!
  8. NotAJock2Day

    NotAJock2Day New Friend

    May 29, 2008
    Well, she's a senior also so it's not as though I'm refusing to pass down my knowledge to a younger player. Part of the issue is that she makes no time for band- I'm doing her work because she isn't, so the trade for president wouldn't work towards the greater good would it? She's proven she would do a terrible job as president by doing a bad job a section leader. That's kind of why she lost the election to me in the first place, she hasn't been demonstrating the goods for the past 3 years.

    Outside of that particular solo, I am the principal trumpet player. She doesn't know her music, she plays scared, and I play with confidence. I do all of the extra playing that the music department traditionally depends on the section leader for. Obviously part of the reason for my qualms in this situation is my inability to be completely selfless, which is understandable if you're not too much of an idealist. But consider this, if the "greater good of the band" involves making it sound as best as possible, why pick a bad solo player? Every other section leader earned their position on pure skill, except maybe bassoon because there is just one person. Having it given away as a consolation for losing does dishonor to what it should stand for in the small, insignificant world of high school band.

    I'll let you all know how my chat goes tomorrow!
  9. Bonasa

    Bonasa Pianissimo User

    Feb 9, 2008
    Western New York
    You mentioned that you were "pegged to be section leader." Does this mean you actually auditioned for that chair?

    I know of some HS bands and orchestras that hold blind seating auditions for every chair. Chairs are assigned at the start of the year based on this initial audition, and any member may challenge for a different seat at another mid-year audition. This keeps everyone on top of their game, rewards players who strive and work hard to improve their chops, and wards off complacency.

    Perhaps in your leadership role as president you could suggest adopting a process similar to this in your band. It would certainly re-focus your band on the most important issue--who plays best to earn and keep their seat--and toss out the arbitrary practice of divvying up rewards and awards to eliminate tears and keep everybody sort of happy. This practice would certainly be a long step closer to the real world and be especially helpful and instructive for any students who intend to pursue music in college or continue playing at a high level after HS for the personal enjoyment of it. Learning to prepare for and complete an audition that actually means something is a tremendously valuable experience for anyone--not just those who intend to pursue music professionally. Learning to do it in HS seems to me to be a valuable, and certainly a not-too-early, introduction to the real world.

    Maybe you could bounce such a suggestion off your band director and shee what the response is.
  10. miles71

    miles71 Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 8, 2004
    Bandman and Wilcox are giving some good advice, read carefully my friend.

    I am presently a HS band Director and have done it for 12 years. I also remember that one solo in the all state band I didnt get to play, but I can look back and wonder why I was so self centered to worry about it. You need to sit down with your director and voice your concerns, in a civil fashion. One of the worst ways to approach a HS band director is in a "Know it all" fashion. When that happens teachers just see some kid who is mad about something. If you act like a young adult you will be treated like one. I hope I can see this type thing in my students, and actually I am responding from my office at school. I appreciate you posting, I keeps me on my toes too.

    I cannot agree enough with the idea that the greater good is most important. Also, I try to make oppurtunities for all of my students to play solos or first parts, if they chose and can do it successfully. Again, I dont think it is to much to ask the director "why?"

    Quick story young grasshopper. When I was in HS we had the McDonalds All American Marching Band that was chosen out of all of the All State groups. Two kids per state and they marched at the Macy Parade in November, how cool. Well, me and another trumpet player had made all state our junior year and this made us booth eligible to send in an audition tape. We made our tapes and our Band Director sent them in IN THE SAME ENVELOPE. About a month or two later we got word the other guy made the McDonalds band and I had not. (Did I mention the other guy was the directors son). I felt I was a better player but I was able to gather enough maturity and congratulate him on what he had done. Of course it was a big deal, even bigger when my audition tape came back with a label sayng it didnt make it by the deadline and sorry. Kiddies we keeping up, they where sent in the same envelope!!!!!! Even though I was dissapointed I was able to contain my rage at this point. This was the begining of my senior year. My father said to me "let you talent do the talking". By the end of the year I had First Chair in All State, Played Lead in the State Honor Jazz Band, was recruited by several colleges and recieved a full ride for music.

    I look back and realize this changed me for the better and made me a better musician and person. I would have never aimed so high without that spark. Talk to the director and remember to truly be called a musician is to earn a title of respect and honor. I hope it all works out for you.


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