What is he doing to the band?!?!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpet blower88, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. trjeam

    trjeam Pianissimo User

    Dec 5, 2003
    I'm only 20 and yes I'm still a kid myself. I don't consider myself a seasoned verteran, I'm just sharing opinions based on my experiences. I don't know first hand what he's dealing with so I'm just strickly going by the information that he has giving... but regardless, after reading back my post I can see how the delivery was a little harsh... I apologize for that because that wasn't my intent...

    This is true, however trumpet blower88 admits that he has a good band director. From my experiences, when good band directors make what seems like bad decisions is either because:

    1. As you said. They burn out
    2. Pressure from parents, supervisors ext....

    From what I've seen, reason 2 is usually the case. Also reason 2 is so complex and often makes the director look like the bad guy and that's what students don't see....

    I agree with you hear also. That's why I said if it really bothers him that much he can do something about. I know that in H.S. I never just sat back.

    Students can have a influence on the decisions being made. The student just better really know what's going before he steps up the that level, is all I'm saying.

    yes, from my perspective it also looks like the band director is making some changes. But all I'm saying is to have consideration for the band director. Is it really all his choice? Don't automatically make him the bad guy. Think about whether or not it's really all his choice? What kind of outside pressure is he dealing with? What politics may he be dealing with? ext...

    The reason I bring these things up is not only because my band H.S. band director exposed to things from a directors perspective but also because my father (aside from being a musician) was also a H.S. band director and I heard about the things he dealt with....

    just trying to bring a difference perspective. I hope that I was able express it clearly.
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I think that some things that should be considered that TB88 might be missing are the visions and goals of the band director. It's been studied and documented that people tend to burn out in the jobs and get restless after a number of years and that has to be considered. The director might simply be trying to retain his own sanity and keep his own restlessness at bay by trying to do something completely different than anything he had done before to challenge himself as well as the kids. Besides, change is necessary for growth as a musician.

    If this band is as good as TB88 says, then the director must know his business, which is probably why TB88 is questioning it so much because it's such a radical departure from the past successful status quo, however, once again I have to stress the idea that since he's going to be leaving the program and school completely at the end of this school year, it's simply not worth worrying about - let others who have a greater stake in the matter worry about it.
  3. Bruce Lee

    Bruce Lee Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Great posts! Of the major points that have been mentioned, I like this one:

    This, too, will come to pass.

    I think that it was wilcox96/Brad that made the statement about the Band Booster/Parent's Group losing their focus as having a significant effect on what is going on. Just like there is "Senior-itis"... adults tend to burn out, too. Maybe the officers of that group have been around for 3 or 4 years, and they see the same old chronic problem that exists within many organizations... all of the work gets done by a few people, while everyone else sits around and complains about things. Those people are part of the problem... not part of the solution.

    With regard to trips... they are the "candy" that keeps students interested in the program. More importantly, they provide the recognition for the program that is critical for its survival. Case in point.... who is the audience for a typical concert band performance? Answer... parents and relatives. How many more people see you perform at a football game, or a parade? Answer... lots more! Some members just don't enjoy these activiities, but they have become a necessary part of maintaining a program. Without them, "John Q Public" does not know that your music program exists. Why should they support it?

    That's not the at the forefront of the issues that have been presented here. As many have already pointed out, the cost involved for participating in these events has become prohibitive, in many ways. A trip past the gas pumps will point out a major obstacle as to why. Budget cuts, scheduling, and administrative support are other major factors which effect many music programs.

    Again, what wilcox96/Brad has already said is great:

    More than anything... it's not the Director.

    Best always,
  4. rwingman

    rwingman New Friend

    Apr 6, 2006
    Hi everyone, I am new to this forum although I post on TH quite a bit. I would like to give my perspective as a public school teacher. As previously stated you may not know why the director is doing a lot of these things but many times students and parents don't realize the pressure from the administration or the school district when it comes to these things. So you have some writing assignments, are you going to college?? Get ready to be swamped with school work , find time for a job, practice your horn, and try to have a social life. A lot of things that you learn from a school music program have nothing to do with music, you are learning life skills. If it seems excessive though, have your parents kindly address this to the director. There has been a lot of pressure in my school district to incorporate reading and writing assignments into class time, and then the principal still wants his award winning band at competitions, parades, etc. Most administrators do not understand what it takes to have a sucessful music program.

    As far as changing marching shows or styles, you said your band program is running on a near professional level?? Well I cannot tell you how many times in the professional world you play music or are asked to do things that you dont like but are expected to perfrom your best. If your group is trying to think on a professional level, then do what pros do, suck it up and do your best, then move on.

    As far as money and fundraisers, that is a tough one. If you guys really want to do these trips bad enough you can make it happen. Maybe it means cut back on luxury spending for awhile so you can save for your trips. Maybe it means a part time job on your part to earn a little cash and help your parents out. Again, most people dont realize how much it costs to run a band program for a year. But, it should be public info if anyone wants to know.

    These are just some of my thoughts, take them for what they are. I also like what someone else said, in time this too will pass.
  5. trjeam

    trjeam Pianissimo User

    Dec 5, 2003
    this is what i've been trying to say.. well said.
  6. watchluvr4ever

    watchluvr4ever New Friend

    Mar 31, 2006
    I can't believe I am even reading this, it really disgusts me. It seems to me that schools no longer care for their fine arts programs. Don't tell me the schools have no money either, I pay my taxes. Schools would rather use the money to build a new football stadium than put the money to some educational use. It is my opinion that if the schools didn't care so much about sports we wouldn't be having this problem with the fine arts.
  7. highbrass

    highbrass Pianissimo User

    Dec 31, 2005
    Honolulu, HI
    Like some others here, I am speaking as a public school teacher certified in music. I wasn't able to check out the Arizona standards for music in detail, but in practically every state in this country (including ours), every public school teacher has to be accountable for the type of learning that goes on in their classes (thanks to NCLB and high-stakes testing). Teachers in grades K-12 have to prove through their lessons and lesson plans that they are following the standards and must show tangible proof of assessment that they are reaching benchmarks to help students succeed in the subjects taught. And in some cases, the assessment is necessary to keep music classes in the school curriculum, especially in "failing" schools that really need to justify why they must have music classes when the students are unable to read or write or solve math problems (although I doubt that this is the case in TB88's school).

    Although I feel that 4-6 hours/week is a bit much for assignments, I second the opinion that (if you really respect your director) you and your classmates hang in there. Speaking as a librarian, you could also save some time by doing research online as well. There are many research portals online, and universities also have some really comprehensive collections in music literature and other research resources (and don't forget to ask the librarians for help, too! :-) In this day and age when the "powers that be" are trying to find ways to cut music, arts and other programs from public schools, I applaud all music teachers for really making the effort to make their programs work.

  8. rwingman

    rwingman New Friend

    Apr 6, 2006

    It is sad but true in most places. They just passed a bill here saying that a fine arts credit is no longer required to graduate from high school. As far as money for the schools, yes, they still get the taxpayers money but most music programs dont see it unless you have a great principal. About ten years ago our principal took our money from our uniform fund that we had been saving for a couple of years and bought new uniforms for the football team and cheerleaders. He could do this because it was money given to us by the school district and not money raised by the band.

    Now I teach middle school and my budget is $500 for the year and I have almost 300 kids in my program. Last year I asked them to hire me an associate director or even just a part itme director and they told me that I was doing a great job and hired another art teacher. I still have more students then both art teachers combined. With all of the crap, I still enjoy my job, am very thankful, and make the best out of what I have. We took an over night band trip this year that cost close to 20k. All of the money came from fundraisers and mom and dads pockets. Our school is close to 60% free or reduced lunch, but if the kids want to go bad enough they will find a way.
  9. Greg5850

    Greg5850 Pianissimo User

    Jan 10, 2004
    IMHO if your band director is half as talented and dedicated as you say he is, and if he has developed a band program that is one of the best in the state, I think you would be remiss not to give what he asks your best try. You and your bandmates may love to play and work together but that didn't happen by itself. In most cases the director is the program. Your school didn't develop it, he did. The whole situation reminds me of Moses story, where he works miracle after miracle, gets his people free, then he goes off for a couple of days and they immediately doubt him.

    I wouldn't panic on the "analyzing", unless your standards are much different than ours (Wisconsin). Most states derived their standards from the National Standards and are similar. What we have the students do is to list the main elements of key, style, and form, and write about your impression of the piece. These can be knocked off fairly quickly. They call this "Comprehensive Musicianship".

    As for being "almost professional", I find the main difference between HS and and college trained pro group is sightreading. HS kids can perform at almost as high a level but it takes many more rehearsals. I direct one of each. The pros read 10 grade 3-6 pieces once through, then perform them the next evening. I also find that the HS students need to be coached on stylistic and interpretive elements, while the pro group just follows the stick and does the job.

    Hang in there and support your BD! Also, stop in a share your concerns in a non-accusatory way. What you describe sounds severe but I'm sure there is another side to the story.

    Greg (34 years HS Director, 18 years City Band director)
  10. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    I'm curious -- my band fees are $35/year and my band will be traveling for 5-days to Orlando for $530 for band members and $370 for parents. Orlando is 760 miles from our school, so it’s not like this is a small trip.

    I understand that it costs more for a high school band than a junior high school band, but I also know that the way tour companies work the price goes down when you travel with a larger group.

    I’m very tight – especially when the money is not my money! I pinch every penny I spend for the band, but we buy all first class school instruments, and we buy a lot of new music per year. My music budget from the school is only $2000, and the instrument budget changes from year to year.

    I’m sorry, but the $500 is very high in my opinion. I try to make it possible for every student in the school to be in the band. I never want money to be a reason for a student to not take part in my program. I’ve played national level festivals and clinics through out the country. I just don’t get why fees need be so very high, when I have run a program on a tight budget and never sacrificed quality.

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