Re: Re: HS band woes - argh

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Posted by Rick Denney on April 10, 2002 at 14:52:53:

In Reply to: Re: HS band woes - argh posted by Mary Ann on April 10, 2002 at 12:12:29:

I agree. A battle, however politely waged, between a band director and a student is a mismatch, and the system will always support the band director. And when anger is involved, the student is guaranteed to be the loser.

But parents and professional teachers can engage the band director as (at least) an adult equal. The student should remain polite, and never give any adult in authority a valid reason to complain about him. For example, if the band director comes to the student and asks, "What's the deal with your parents being on my case?", the student can reply, "with all due respect, you'll have to discuss it with them." This takes the student out of the field of conflict. A band director who is a jerk may still take it out on the student, in which case the student should remain polite but document everything that happens and report it to his parents. As Teddy Roosevelt is credited with saying, "Speak softly but carry a big stick."

The more the BD acts like a jerk, and the more polite the student is, the more the jerk will be isolated and exposed for what he is.

With that strategy in place, here are some tactics for this situation: A (written) letter from your private teacher instructing you on the proper posture for playing would be a good idea. That way, you are the innocent victim of conflicting instructions from those in authority, and it is up to your parents to resolve such conflicts. They can use that letter in discussions with the band director (and, if necessary, his principal) as an excuse to force the band director to put his request in writing, making it subject to external review by real experts. I suspect he will back off before it comes to that. A principal can support a band director only so far. Calm and purposeful parents with expert support will most likely trump a band director, especially if the principal has had previous trouble with the director.

Of course, lots of band directors get trumped by unreasonable parents for reasons that are without merit using these tactics, and to me the only thing that would set this situation apart is the letter from the recognized professional teacher providing the written instruction on proper posture.

Rick "who thinks respecting authority does not require blind obedience but does require courtesy" Denney

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