Posted by Phil Lewis on April 10, 2002 at 10:08:13:
In Reply to: HS band woes - argh posted by Dan Mordhorst on April 09, 2002 at 18:52:08:
This is an unfortunate situation, to say the least. Reading through some of the other messages is also very disconcerting. However, being a band director at both the middle school and high school level I can honestly say that not all band directors are created equal. Yes, some are jerks. But, hopefully, some of us aren't all that bad. For example, I had a flute player in my band who has since graduated and gone to study at a conservatory and hopes to become a professional with a major orchestra. Now, being a tuba player myself, there is no way I could possibly give this young lady very much instruction beyond the basics of playing the flute. I could give her help with breathing, which to my notion means sitting/standing in such a manner that you have plenty of room to get a deep breath from the abdomen, no matter what instrument you play. This young lady been taking from a professional (in this case her father), such as you have been, and so I certainly did not feel disposed to disagreeing with his instruction. The only time she altered her stance was during marching season when flutes are expected to hold the instrument straight out for competition purposes. I agree with some of the comments made on this board about getting students to enjoy music and not turn them off. First and foremost, music should be enjoyable. There are always going to be personality differences, but this may go beyond that. I also agree that since I wasn't there to witness first hand the attitudes of both parties it is difficult to call the shot. As has been mentioned, the bottom line, unfortunately, is that the director is "boss" and what he says can affect your future in getting into state groups or into certain college organizations (it is not, however, the end of the world and colleges will take you with or without his recommendation). My guess is that you're probably right about losing out on high school awards during your senior year and that is truly sad. No director should let their ego get in the way of rewarding meritorious performance. Based solely on your description of the events, his comments and requirements "sound" unreasonable. I would like to think that in my band things would have been handled differently, but therein lies the rub. It's not my band. You just have to do what you know in your heart is right and only you can know what that is. Good luck. You'll be fine as long as you follow your conscience.