JohnStacy

If you were in band in school, what do you wish your band director would have done differently?

7 posts in this topic

I am a band director at a small town somewhere in Texas (there are about 30 kids in band there).

The title sums it up pretty well.  If you were in band in middle/high school, etc, what do you wish your director would have done differently?  Yelled less, been more strict, played more, anything. 

I'm just curious, and figured this would be a good thought experiment.  If you have a story you connect with your thought, feel free to share.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@JohnStacy We had a strict band director in high school, but you could ALWAYS, always, always tell that he cared about the music, about the band, about what he was doing, and about what we were all doing. For this role especially, I think, any scent of apathy is absolutely toxic.

He'd occasionally provide some background on a given piece, or its composer, but I wish he'd done a little bit more of that, actually... not sure if most students would be interested in that, but I was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pfft I wish my band director was strict. My band class was pretty terrible in high school. Bunch of students that just took the class and saw it as free time; totally distracting and disrupting band practices with constant immaturity and negligence for simple instrunctions. we would hardly practice anything cuz of the same few people that went out of there way to do the exact opposite of what our instructor said. There was plenty of times that I confronted them but that was all I could've done since the school was strict towards inter-district students, and me going "out of Line" would essentially result in expulsion.

Only good days were whenever those students skipped class and we would actually be able to practice properly or learn other composers and there styles, definitely wish there were plenty more of those days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say... I wish he challenged us more. So much of the music was just too easy. When he threw some of the more complex John Williams stuff at us, I was a happy camper. The magical day he introduced unusual time signatures, I was blown away. 7/8 and 5/8 gypsy music, played by a high school band, now that was something special.

I also got quickly bored with the old-timey Sousa material, the showtunes, the Wagner operatic stuff, and so on. Weaving movie music into the mix helped a lot; the high school band renditions of Jurassic Park and Star Wars were pretty cool. And I absolutely loved playing the Olympics theme.

There's a piece floating around out there that I played in college that was really epic too, I believe it was called "Mutanza."

Edit: aha, I found it, by James Curnow; perhaps a bit long and difficult for high school, but man, this was FUN to play: 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/31/2017 at 5:19 PM, Mazedude said:

I'd say... I wish he challenged us more. So much of the music was just too easy. When he threw some of the more complex John Williams stuff at us, I was a happy camper. The magical day he introduced unusual time signatures, I was blown away. 7/8 and 5/8 gypsy music, played by a high school band, now that was something special.

I also got quickly bored with the old-timey Sousa material, the showtunes, the Wagner operatic stuff, and so on. Weaving movie music into the mix helped a lot; the high school band renditions of Jurassic Park and Star Wars were pretty cool. And I absolutely loved playing the Olympics theme.

There's a piece floating around out there that I played in college that was really epic too, I believe it was called "Mutanza."

Edit: aha, I found it, by James Curnow; perhaps a bit long and difficult for high school, but man, this was FUN to play: 

 

ahahahah fuck Sousa. My high school band director was a tuba player so he loved that stuff...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You guys seemed happy being able to get challenged to do more complex pieces, while I was just content with following instructions and doing my best.

Problem is, this is my third year of being in my University's Musical Theater group that I'm recounting here.  I had a great year with my first year's Musical Directors; the second year had staff casting the wrong roles to the wrong people, but the third was just really painful - their ways of dance choreography was terribly amateurish, sheet music printed for vocal parts had many parts that were off-key for very familiar songs, and unlike the first two years their fumbling meant they never had an Autumn / Winter semester recital.  I was that upset with it all that I quit after January and put all of my focus into equal parts exam prep and equal parts getting started on Youtube...!

Alas, what I wish my director would've done differently?  From what I wrote, it would be to get to know your students' strengths and what they like doing the most; make sure you have music on hand that is not only accurate but fun for most of them to play; and if you are to get them to perform at recitals, it's best to keep to promises and give them something to look forward to.  If you've got students being happy with what you're doing, then you know you're doing the right job :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now