Re: HS band woes - argh

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Posted by Dave on April 09, 2002 at 21:55:10:

In Reply to: HS band woes - argh posted by Dan Mordhorst on April 09, 2002 at 18:52:08:


Not all band directors are created equal. Some inspire, some solder tuning slides in place on school horns because that's where they think they're best in-tune (true story), others are imperious jackasses more interested in making a point in front of the group than they are in really taking time to consider a problem/situation.

Disclaimer - I'm not advocating any "civil disobedience" - but let's forget who your director is for a moment and take his statement out of its original context - "all professionals play this way. That is the correct way to play. They manage". I've never heard a blanket asinine statement like that on any gig I've been on. The closest I got was a college band director who was prone to making occasional gross generalizations. While working with a guest soloist/studio pro, he stopped the group after a somewhat rocky run-through of one particular passage and adressed the group. "What was that?" Pointing to the guest, " You know, guys like this never miss, that's why they're pros", to which the guest immediately countered with "Hey, we're human, we miss all the time. It's unrealistic to expect that everything coming out of the horn will be gold-plated." That's a partial rough paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

What's the lesson your band director's trying to impart? That pedantic know-it-alls run rampant in the "real world", and that you'd better suck it up and get used to doing whatever it is they say, no matter how ill-informed? Well, I dunno. Guess it happens. In deference to him, we're only hearing one side of the story here, although I don't necessarily suspect horribly unreasonable behavior on your part.

Reality outside "my window"? Nothing I learned in high school or college specifically prepared me for dealing with dull pennies who thought they were shiny quarters. I'm not going to lump valid points like "How does a tuxedo make you play any better?", or "What difference does it make to your playing if your hair touches your ear" in with "Play to the ants because that's how the pros do it." Sometimes there are valid extra-musical considerations to take into account within the context of different performance/gig situations. Based on your description of the events, though, I'm not so sure that's the case here.

I don't feel that challenging your band director in front of the group is the right move. In private, in his office, that's the opportunity to hear each other out. There's a difference between "lack of respect" and "disrespect". However, an uniformed opinion is just that - an uniformed opinion.

The great thing about respect is that nobody who's *truly* worthy of it ever has to demand it. You don't necessarily need to "burn a bridge" here, but that doesn't mean you can't walk across it and move on. If your director wants to take that personally and hold it against you, so be it. Just move on to the next gig, show up early, play the part, and keep the monkey business to a minimum.

As always - IMHO, FWIW and just my $.02...


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