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NOTES FROM AN IRATE WIFE OF A BAND DIRECTOR

NOTES FROM AN IRATE WIFE OF A BAND DIRECTOR

This is my week of rants. Yeah, I ranted yesterday too. I feel I deserve it. If I keep the words all bottled up inside, I sometimes feel I may explode. What are the chances? Anyway it makes me feel better to write it all down and then I can be on my way again next week with more pleasant things to say. I’ll be happy. You’ll be happy. Some may not be happy. Oh well…

This is what no one gets:

  • Don’t hold grudges when things don’t go your way.
  • Patience is a virtue of a musician. Practice it.
  • It’s all in the attitude.
  • You don’t have to like the band director or any other teacher, but you are still required to do the work.
  • If you hate band, drop the class. It’s not a requirement.
  • After school rehearsals and sectionals are homework. Don’t do your homework and your lowered grade will be evidence.
  • Know your music before you walk through the band room door.

With a small band everyone plays a solo. Missing a rehearsal or two or three holds the rest of the band back. It is a big deal. Rehearsal time the next day is given to you – the absentee – so that you can catch up with what the rest of the band learned the day before. The rest of your classmates are being bored to tears waiting for you to ‘get it’ and that escalates into boredom, frustration, and anger. If attendance was greater and consistent there could be less rehearsal time. A win-win for all.

Oh parents, this isn’t all about your student. It’s also all about you and how you hold your child accountable for his actions and how you take care of situations because you are on the ‘board’ of the band parent organization. “Of course it’s ok for Sally to miss rehearsal. I’m the president – vice president – secretary, etc.” Wrong answer!

Where is the parent when the percussion captain announces one week before the most important performance of the year, “I’m not going to do the concert this year.”

Can he do that? It’s a class that comes with a grade for heaven’s sake. Apparently he can. I wouldn’t want to bring home that grade home to Mama!

Where are the parents that should be out there in the audience cheering and supporting their children? I don’t care if ‘The Voice’ is on tonight or sister Grace is visiting from out-of-town. There’s always room for one more spectator. Bring Grandma, Uncle Thomas, and all the cousins to that concert or marching performance. The more the merrier.

While Billy or Sue are out for a birthday dinner or family obligation the rest of the band is working hard to learn their parts so they can be bored to tears when Billy and Sue return to the land of the living.

All rehearsals are mandatory as are all performances. Why would they not be? Be there or be square. Evidently,  H has a lot of square students.

Marching MPA and Concert MPA are your bands grades for the district. It shows what your band is made of and what others can expect from you. You can’t just expect a superior and it happen. You have to work for it as a team. Sometimes you are lucky and squeak through – sometimes not. Hard work and determination should make you feel better about the superior score you just received.

Sadly, this rant all comes on the coat tails of receiving a straight superior score – the eleventh in a row – at Concert MPA. Yes, even in sight-reading.

I’m just saying – it doesn’t have to be so hard. Do your part and the tension lessens. Don’t and it all comes crashing down on your head!

Yep he’s persistent. He’s old school. He believes in accountability, hard work and coming out on top. It’s all or nothing. This isn’t a popularity contest and no one promised it would be easy.

Again…be there or be square.

~Elle

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About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress.

19 responses »

  1. I hope the people who need to hear this read it. It does open ones mind to see what is happening to their children because of their lack of teaching responsibility for your own actions.
    I remember the day Rob came home in fourth grade and asked if I could send a note to the school saying he could not get a “whipping” for any reason. Asking what brought that on, I found that one of his friends mother’s had done this for her child. ( The same mother who did her child’s homework, because he was smart and needed time to play.) I replied, ” No. If you get a whipping at school you will get a worse one when you get home. You better be sure you don’t do anything that warrants a “whipping”. I wasn’t the favorite mother for a while, but one NEEDS to be responsible for their actions! Needless to say, I tried to distance the relationship with this “friend”.

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  2. If you want to be successful in anything in life, you’ve got to do the work! Brava, Elle! Now I need to go do my “work” and put on my thinking cap and figure out what my next post will be…. 😀

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  3. I’m glad you got to rant! Now I understand what you said yesterday.

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  4. I did six years of band in high school so I know a lot of what you’re talking about and I’ll bet our band director would agree. Especially with the knowing your own music before you come to rehearsal. So many students (myself as well, sometimes) would come without knowing their parts.

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    • Good for you doing band and for admitting you may have floundered some David. hahaha Its a different world than what we knew though. What instrument did you play? ~Elle

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      • I played trumpet for the first while and even had my own but then I started playing tuba, which I really enjoyed but was way too expensive for me to buy my own. I really envied the piccolo players though, lugging that around to various concerts and whatnot. 🙂

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        • My husband plays trumpet and my son played trumpet for four years even being selected for All State one year and then switched to percussion in the 10th grade. Now he is doing what he loves and majoring in music in college hoping to perform one day. He does not want to teach after what he sees his dad go through daily unless it’s at the college level. I have no music ability what-so-ever! If I had to play I think I would choose that piccolo over tuba too David! ~Elle

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  5. Mr. Hollands Opus – well said Elle. I wonder if the other organizations in the school has similar issues. It sounds like a lack of commitment from parents and students. I can remember the excitement in getting a chance to learn techniques under my HS band director. Mr. Carnegie was a great teacher and mentor – more than a band director. Band was my social group in school. It’s a different world out there now. Kids are different, and parents are just as different. I think you deserve a cream filled do-nut or cinnamon twist.

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    • I’m going to get fat from all these virtual donuts! haha. Yes, a different world and I blame parents! If the parents would back away things would be just fine. They are kinda like the mother of the bride! ~Elle

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  6. I think you deserve another donut! I also think you should print that out and have it handed out to band members and their parents, but then I have no filter and don’t have to deal with the aftermath. Easy for me to say then, right?

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  7. Confession of a former English teacher: It one day occurred to me that I had some subconscious biases toward band students and track and baseball athletes. In my experience, more often than not –but, of course, not always–they and their parents seemed to have a strong commitment to personal responsibility, a drive for excellence, and a sense of teamwork. I’m sorry that isn’t always the case, but I hope your rant helps!

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    • I believe it all comes down to the fact of the size of the school and the band and how much support you get from the administration. Small bands – small towns, small schools, and small minded people do not make for a good mix. This has really been a hard group of kids and you and I both know it starts with the parents. Kids learn from their peers and mimic the attitudes of their parents. Sometimes these rants – particularly ones like this build up and I have to say something somewhere and whether it helps or not it’s off my chest now! ~Elle

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