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Should I quit band? Please help.

lizardgrapelizardgrape 0 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hello! Let me give you all a little bit of backstory. I go to a high school in Virginia and ten years ago we were the southern state champions. I’m talking we went to Macy’s day parade and things of that nature! Which to me- absolutely blows my mind. Nowadays, we can’t even win grand champion and our band is a sliver of what it use to be. Granted, I wasn’t around for that time, but I’ve heard stories! I am a junior this year and I am very unhappy in the band. It isn’t because of our size or our awards- it is because of the people and the band director.

My freshman year we had a band director well call Gary. Gary was an amazing conductor, teacher, mentor, you name it! We didn’t win much but he always encouraged us to do our best and lifted us up after a loss. Ex. At marching assessment we got a two, and we had to go to a competition right after. He told us to go out there and show them the mistake they made. We took home reserve grand champs.

Fast forward to sophomore year, and we get a new band director we’ll call Henry. Henry is nothing like Gary, but change is good, right? So we all give him a chance. We are only signed up for 3 competitions (vs the 6 we had the year before). Despite our efforts to try to pay for travel registration- the lot- he still says he has better things to do. Okay, that’s okay.

Flash forward to the end of sophomore year. My brother has just gotten into a car accident. He promised us the season before we would have many more competitions the next year. We receive our schedules and there are only three. I ask him about it in front of a few of my friends, telling him we would be more than happy to pay for the cost of the competitions. He tells me before I can buy us more competitions, I need to buy myself a new mouth piece. (THE INSTRUMENT I PLAY AND EVERYTHING WITH IT BELONGS TO THE SCHOOL. It is not my responsibility and my brother just got into a wreck a couple of days prior so clearly we don’t have any money. Yes he knew about this because my brother was in band too, and my mom emailed him.)

Then, it’s time for section leader pickings. He eliminates my section. (The low Reeds.) there are four of us, the same amount as the French horns. But he tells us we didn’t have enough people, and merges ya with the alto saxophones. Clearly, we don’t have the same part. I apply for saxophone section leader two weeks before the due date (day he told us to write them). He makes a kid younger than me section leader who didn’t write an essay. I confront him about it at graduation, and he Tells me he never got my email (though I came in and told him as soon as I had sent it the next day) I ask him to read it. He says he’s made up his mind.

Fast forward to band camp this year, I’m marching, doing my best when my friend Halee in the guard thinks that I started my period so clearly she is checking my shorts. Henry, over his loud speaker, says ‘(my name) you’re not in your spot. It’s funny how you aren’t even close when you’re the one who always tries to correct everybody else.’ Everyone heard it. Many laughed at me. For the record, I had started my period, and it couldn’t wait. I was humiliated. Heartbroken. All week, his favorites had been yelling at everybody. Being extremely rude, but they were given a pass because ‘they’re section leaders’ yet he called me out. They were the ones bossing people around. All I did was try to mark off and get ridiculed because I’m ‘not a section leader’.

He hates me, of that I’m certain. So do his minions, and that’s probably a big part of it. Marching is something I am passionate about. I forced myself to stay last year despite the conditions. This year I don’t know if I can take it anymore. I want to be a band director so I can show kids how they should be treated and uplifted instead of constantly getting torn down.

Will colleges even take me seriously if I drop band? Please help. Thank you. (I would not stop playing tenor sax, I would buy my own and get lessons.)
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Replies to: Should I quit band? Please help.

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6984 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If this is your planned for career path and your passion, do not quit. Don't let a director ruin this for you. Be the best tenor sax player that you can, and focus on yourself.

    The reality is that there are always going to be bad teachers, conductors, fellow musicians, etc.... Finding a way to work with them is a life skill. Truly this is a learning opportunity.

    FWIW, in my adult community band, our section was all the saxophones and low reeds, and an alto player was always the section leader. It is what it is. - A fellow tenor sax player.
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  • SchoolLover22SchoolLover22 19 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My band director seemed the same way when we first met him. A extreme change from our high school band director. He does seem rude and will make fun of students. It pushes the students.

    In my marching band the section leaders may seem rude and cold but it’s because they want you to do good. Your section leader and band director calling you(or someone else) out is better than a judge doing it.

    The reason you don’t like him is most likely the fact that you don’t like his personality. I think our band director being rude pushed us. In some instances if he hadn’t called me out by name(in front of the whole band) I would have never known I was wrong.

    Our band only does 3 competitions. But we want to do more. The problem is that while some students(like you and me) are willing to pay extra for the competition, others aren’t.

    Your band director most likely chose an alto sax. to be the section leader because in professional music settings the tenor sax is considered a auxiliary instrument. You will most likely never become a section leader while playing the tenor sax.

    If you enjoy music you shouldn’t quit. Your directors personality will teach you great life lessons. A kind and sweet band director is a rare thing to find. You will most likely never have one again. While most are kind on the inside, they will not show it if you are blocking out their way of teaching.

    As a fellow low reed(bass Clarinet) I feel the pain of not being a section leader. I march clarinet and since it’s not my main instrument in concert band I can not be the clarinet section leader.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2099 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you quit band, what other opportunities exist in your community to play your instrument? On top of that, it sounds like the school provides your instrument, so, if you quit, will you even have an instrument available to play?

    How is it you can afford to pay for additional competitions, but not a new mouthpiece? This question is not a trap. I'm confused whether your priority is winning competitions or producing the best quality of music you possibly and personally can. Yes, it is fair to say that it is the school's instrument, but when it comes time to turn in your instrument at the end of senior year, you're free to keep the new mouthpiece, and turn the old one back in. You'll want it for college if you go to study music anyway.

    Does your high school offer AP Music Theory and if so, does the band director teach it?

    I admit the band director sounds like a piece of work, but then you are producing music, which is art, and art is subjective. And there are two sides to every story, and we are only hearing one.
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