My trumpet project

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Heavens2kadonka, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Not to rub it in Dylan's face, I'm just stating it as example, but my Studio I paid 355 for. My dad's Ambassador was around 100 or so, I think, and it's also quite a good horn.

    Remember the advice I got from here when I was told off by the tuba? It applies here.... :evil:
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    One of my heroes in life is a gentleman named Dennis Prager who has a motto that goes "Clarity is more important than agreement". In the interest of clarity (and to somewhat play the devil's advocate) let me offer the following for consideration in the hopes that it'll strengthen your argument or help you clarify your position:

    1) Are younger students, with less experience, the best judges of instrument selection? Are they more likely to get taken advantage of because of the lack of experience?

    2) Is it your position that students shouldn't overlook the value of a used instrument merely because it is used?

    3) Do you have a clear opinion and justification for what represents a good value, money-wise, for an instrument, used or new?

    Again, I don't have a strong opinion one way over the other. I'm a fan of not throwing the baby out with the bath water. In other words, don't discount good advice if it comes from someone who delivers it in a less-than-civil way.

    At any rate, it sounds like an interesting project. Good luck with it.

  3. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I do have a very, very, very, very, strong opinion on this thread. I'm one of those "old band directors" with over 25-years of experience. I have built a band program of over 400 students and turned out fabulous students for years. My students have played in district level and all state honor bands, and many have gone on to major in music. Many of my former students have fulfilled every teacher/performers dream in that they have become better players than their teacher.

    As a young 18-year-old I'm sure I knew everything, in fact I knew I knew everything. Wow! Let me tell you how much smarter all those old band directors and private teachers got as I got older! I suggest that instead of trying to prove the teacher wrong, that you sit down with him and take advantage of his experience and find out why he feels the way he does. Then explain your points to him, in an adult like, professional manner, and have a discussion with him pro to pro.

    As time has gone on, and my health has started to fail, I have brought in young people like you to help out. Let me tell you that as one of those "old guys" that if you made and attempt to prove me wrong with the attitude that came off in the posts in this thread that I would listen to you, examine your findings to see if there was something I could learn from them, and then I would pull all of my band students from your studio. Chances are that you would also be "black-balled" from taking students in the schools where my friends teach, and may I remind you that the music community is a tight community. You may be taking a chance with your future by moving forward with what I am seeing as a bizarre show of extreme attitude.

    Remember that right does not always equal might. So if you are right do you think this teacher will actually change what he suggests for his students? Instead, work with him and find out what his favorite horns are, and work with him within his boundaries.

    A few final comments -- blutch's comment about euphonium players "does not compute" to use his words. There are man fine euphonium players in this world who are very fine band directors. Over the years players like Falcone, Ray Young, and Roger Berand, to name a few, were considered among America's elite musicians and music educators.

    Studenttrumpet's comment "A degree doesn't mean a thing, what matters is if you can teach or not." is also out of line. Heavens2kadonkas never questioned his abilities, in fact he stated that he is ".... a 43 year old band director with a Masters degree, and years of experience on the road, with directing and performing experience out of his ears." I think that a degree and experience does make a lot of difference, of course that statement comes from a guy with years of band directing and playing experience.

    In closing, I have been impressed with your posts since I have been reading this board. You seem like a nice young musician with a great future in our business. I would hate for you to say or do something that might affect your future. Sometimes even when you are correct it is best not to prove it! Remember that music is a largely ego driven profession. Step on the wrong ego and in the future you may find yourself without a job. Remember that band directors (and music supervisors) talk among each other. You don’t need to get a bad reputation, even if you are right about something. You have many years ahead of yourself to make your point by producing fabulous students, and by playing your rear-end off. You will get much more respect by producing validating results than by producing valid information.
  4. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    While I agree with a lot of that, especially the "rash actions" portion, there's one thing that just drives me nuts. You're assuming that this guy is actually gonna sit down with a kid (no offense, Van, I'm in the same boat), and talk like a pro. I have a few problems with this. First, and at this hour my brain has shut itself off so I'm struggling for the wording, there's no guarantee that this guy can do it. Yes, I'd like to think that he is, but some guys are just so hard headed that they feel that unless you have a bachelor's degree behind you, you don't know a clue about what you're talking about. Second, even if he DOES hear Van out in a calm discussion, there's no guarantee that it'll make everything better. Some people, again, are so stubborn that they refuse to back down, and he could see Van's calm attempt at peace as the exact approach you described.

    This creates a moral dilemma. What if some kid is just amazing, I mean really really talented, but he can't afford something from WWBW, not even the B&S. What then? Who's gonna tell this kid that he can get some amazingly good stuff off of eBay, or what his other options are, such as Doc Fox and his Kanstul sale right now? I know the scenario seems improbable at best, but I have experienced it myself. One girl at my high school showed a LOT of potential, but her parents couldn't afford to get her an actual horn. She was playing on a crappy, and I mean, just AWFUL King cornet that shoulda been trashed. What if this guy had been there? I doubt that he would have obtained a used Getzen 700 series.

    Again, it's not so much that I disagree with your saying that the guy might be a good director, it's that I just have a few contentions with your "let's just talk this thing out and all will be right in the world" approach from personal experience.

    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    I have been avoiding this thread ... but what the hey, I am jumping in.

    Let's start from the beginning. Some band directors take the easy way out and recommend solid horns at reasonable prices. Why do this? Because eBay can be a challenge for even the eBay savvy and used horns can cost as much as a B&S Challenger if purchased from the store.

    Asking "what" as in "what is your reason" and "why" as in "why is that important" goes a long ways toward good communication. No one who is in charge of a program will want to hear anything that may even resemble contradiction or back talk from an 18 year old.

    Now that leaves the question. "What do they want?" They generally want an 18 year old with talent, enthusiasm and a willingness to listen and learn. That does not mean you need to agree -- just ask lots of questions and respond with ideas like "do you ever recommend used horns?" or "would you mind if I helped a few students find some horns that might suit them better?"

    Van, you have shown us on the TM that you DO KNOW your stuff. You need to communicate that in a positive, non confronting way if possible. I could understand why a band director might have a problem with an Olds Ambassador -- they haven't been made since 1979. All of them are at least 26 years old. They are bound to have problems -- valves especially. A new B&S has a warranty. Less worries.

    Now, I am the last one to suggest anyone buy a horn from a big retailer simply because of price. Ugh :thumbdown: And I can sell a Kanstul Mariachi (a Conn 36/38B replica in Nickel -- great sounding horn and tough as nails) for about the price of a B&S Challenger. For just a bit more I can sell a Chicago series horn (fantastic playing horn). A B&S Challenger is not a bad horn to recommend. A step up from the usual recommendation of a Strad (cheaper, and probably better quality).

    Enthusiasm and respect -- even at my grand ol age of 46 with 4 college degrees, I show enthusiasm and respect for everyone unless they are total dingdongs (i.e. CookieMonster). I figured the best compliment I ever received was one day at church, someone read in the directory that I had my doctorate. They asked me about it. "Yes" -- I answered. "Well" this person said "you don't act like it." :D

    I guess I am supposed to be a know-it-all-jerk. Bah :bleah:

    College degrees do show you have had the perseverance to learn your subject to a certain level. But, not all people apply what they learn well, or even think for themselves.

    At my age, and with my experience and education, I have had band directors challenge me. I simply do what I suggested to you. Feel them out politely by asking why and what. Then moving forward. Everyone benefits from that kind of interaction.
  6. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    You’re right – so just think how this teacher will feel when he walks in with this booklet he has put together!

    You are helping me make my point. Like I said about the book, I’m a pretty calm guy who is always willing to help young band directors, and potential band directors, and I admitted that I myself would pull all my students from his studio, and would also suggest this action to my friends,

    This is when the band director gets very involved, and you don’t want to mess with this relationship between the student and teacher. I have 25-years of producing about 100 beginners per year. I am a major income producer for the local music store. If I have a potential music major (which the music store now sees as a potential income producer in the future) and I go to the music store with him I can pretty much insist that he/she gets a great price. The music store will help out because they see this kids as a future customer. And if I have a kid who is not at the point where we can see the music major future, but is a great player, the band director still has great stroke with the local retailer.

    No matter what anyone will admit, the music stores survive off of beginner band students and pianos. If I sell 90 beginner horns in 5-days (about 10% will have a horn or buy used horns) I make them relatively easy money in a short period of time. That music store is going to want to keep me happy, even if it means selling a student “of need†a Yamaha Xeno or Bach Strad at cost plus 5% plus shipping. Dare I say that no 18-year-old has that kind of stroke. I wanted my local music store to start carrying Kanstul horns. I ordered the first one that they sold as they began their relationship with Kanstul. Would they have done that for an 18-year-old who talks about frankenhorns? Now all local students/players will have one more option when it comes to top end horns!

    My main concern in my response was Van’s (Heavens2kadonka) future with working with local band directors and students. As you said, it is obvious that he knows a great deal about trumpets, and I respect that. I would hate to see him lose his working relationship with these folks because he was trying to prove a point. What he wants right now more than anything is for them to embrace him into their community so that soon they will be open to listening to his creative ideas.
  7. old geezer

    old geezer Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2004
    I used to play in a lot more bands then I do now, and had a lot of contact with the local band directors. Playing in groups with them and helping in their school musicals. I got along with them well but anytime I suggested that their students would try something other than a Strad or even check the prices at a different music store other that the large local store that services most of the bands in this state I was imediatly shut down and there was no discussion. Dr. Jim knows what store I am talking about (starts with P). Do not - I repeat do not challenge a band director. You will have to leave the area to advance your career, you are not challeging that band director- you are challenging all the band directors in that state. Just a little advice from an old geezer. Dave :cool:
  8. blutch

    blutch Pianissimo User

    Dec 25, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for fine Euphonium players. I've heard a great many of them over the years with military bands and at the Leonard Falcone Competition at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp where I served as a faculty member backing up the finalists. There are some wonderfully gifted players.

    My point is that it is doubtful this guy has much "road" experience playing the euphonium unless he was in a military band. There just aren't traveling road gigs for euphonium like there are for trumpet or trombone.

  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Back in 1988-89 when I was a Senior in HS, I had a band director who was a tuba player (tuba, euphonium, what's the difference?) WITH a masters degree that I thought was an absolute moron at the time. Now, 15+ years later reflecting back on it....I STILL think that the guy was an absolute moron.

    One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein. It reads:

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a person does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary predjudices but honestly and courageously uses their intelligence."

    The point is, just because you are only 18 doesn't mean that you don't know what you are talking about just because you are young. Likewise, just because this band director is older doesn't mean that he DOES know what he's talking about.

    However, I agree that you should sit down with him and really get the scoop on why he thinks the way he does about ordering a B&S Challenger from the WW&BW. I'll bet he has some pretty good, well thought out reasons for it. However, he should also work toward keeping an open mind about things and hopefully he will listen to your point of view.

    If I had to guess, I would say that he would probably acknowledge the idea of the good used horn or the Frankenhorn as being a good idea, but his logic probably has something to do with money vs risk vs time. There is much less risk when you buy a brand new horn, and even if it costs a bit more, over the long haul the cost is mitigated because you don't inherit the problems that used horns can have. Also, there is less time involved when all you have to do is go online and order the horn. You have the horn in less than a week, no fuss, no muss, whereas any time you go on the hunt for a good used horn, or do a Franken horn project, it can take weeks or even months to find what you are looking for at the price you are willing to pay.

    That's how I would look at it. The same type of argument came up less than a week ago on one of the drum builders forums that I frequent. The question was, do you buy a decent semi-pro kit, try to find a good used vintage kit, or do you go to the effort of building your own kit? Yes, there is great value to be had in finding good vintage drums used, or building your own kit, but wouldn't it be much less of a headache in the long run to just order a set of maple Pearl Sessions online and be done with it? I did a workup on it and the extra cost between off-the-shelf and home built was less than $300, (and even less if you go with equivalent mounting and hardware) plus you save weeks worth of time and headache, and what you get is brand new out of the box.
  10. bigaggietrumpet

    bigaggietrumpet Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Nazareth, PA
    Sorry, reading back over my post, I really didn't make my argument to well. Guess that's what I get for being up that late anyway. I agree with you 100% that Van should NOT give him the brochure. And I'll concede the point about the poor student.

    My main problem is with this guy's attitude. Now, let's assume that Van does the adult and mature thing to do and just asks talks to this guy, similar to what Doc pointed out above. There are 2 options for this guy. The first, and the one that is ideal and makes the world happy, is that they come to an understanding. Van understands why the guy feels the way he does, and the director realizes that Van is a very talented 18 year old with an actual brain. Life goes on, nothing bad really happens. BUT, there is another possibility. In today's society, my generation has done SUCH a wonderful job of showing disrespect to our elders, showing we don't care about anybody else's ideas, that a lot of people discount us immediately as not being able to have an intelligent conversation. It is possible, and realize I don't like this thought, that the guy could interpret Van's attempt at reconciliation as an attempt to challenge and rebel. And then the very scenario that you depicted would occur. Stupid? Yes. Very stupid. But unfortunately, it's possible. I'm sad to say I've met some like that.

    My point? You know, now that I think about it, I'm not real sure. It's not a pleasant situation. I think what I would probably do, is not just sit down and have one large conversation on all of this. I'd do it gradually. Continously show the guy that I knew what I was talking about.

    But yeah, throwing the brochure in his face....not so much of a good idea.

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