Monday, January 16, 2006

It's Not Fair

How old were you when you realized certain things about life were inherently unfair? I'm not talking about the childish sense of unfairness when we don't get our own way and we pout or rage about it. I'm talking about knowing that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you work, you are going to get shafted.

Diana is there. She loves playing her trumpet. She has worked hard to develop as a musician. She derives great joy from being able to play well. In the band, she wants her fellow band members to give it their all like she does. She dispalys leadership qualities and skill. She has been the second chair trumpet player for the last 3 years. She has been very close to overtaking first chair, which is held by a good friend of hers. They have a good natured rivalry in which they spur one another on to growth. They support and encourage each other. Diana has not yet succeeded in winning first chair during the formal challenges. She had, however been rewarded for her hard work with two solos to prepare for the spring concert. She was elated with that consolation and determined to show she had the chops to be first chair.

Chair tests were held last week. The students have to demonstrate muscial proficiency in several areas. They must understand music theory, demonstrate a mastery of basic skills for each level, and perform certain pieces of music for judging. Diana is once again, second chair. This was a disappointment for her after her hard work but the bitter part was having her solos taken away from her. Apparently the band director keeps a policy that first chair gets all the solos. However, it has been observed that he breaks with policy when it suits him.

I picked up Diana and the girl who plays first chair trumpet and listened to them in the back seat. The other girl already has 4 solos. She said Diana plays the other two solos she just lost much better. She is the object of the band director's favoritism and is aware of it. Both girls agree the entire band is aware of it.

After we had dropped off the other girl Diana climbed in the front seat and told me how frustrated she is. This guy will be her band director for the next 3 years. She feels stymied. This guy gives private lessons but only be invite. You don't ask him, he asks you. To be honest the first time I ever met this guy I thought he was one of the most arrogant men I'd ever seen. I think he handles his students in a negative, demeaning manner and I don't like it. It does nothing to instill a love of music. A very notable drop in band participation is apparent every year when he gets the freshman class. They sound great, but the only ones who stick it out are the ones with egos strong enough to cope with his belittling. I kept those opinions to myself for the last year but now I was hearing Diana outline the same thoughts. She's going to have a long 3 years under his yoke. I just hope she can cling to her love of music and not let his attitude grind her down.

Oh yeah, and I told her to remember that HER private teacher for trumpet is the band director of this arrogant guy she is under. So there! TTHHHHP!

16 comments:

bsoholic said...

Something about band directors it seems. A guy I work with has very similar complaints about his daughters band director. It must be a requirement for band directors to be arrogant and belittling.

Good luck Diana, stick with it!

snavy said...

I hope Diana knows that she is wonderful & talented and this guy is a jerk - and, that she should never give up.
I hope she can turn her disappointment around and show this guy he is dead wrong.

I wanted to be something entirely different when I grew up but I had an evil, EVIL teacher who just crushed me. Some poeple are not meant to teach children.

logo said...

I know it is inevitable that realization come to everyone, but it is so...
I remember that, and I didn't care for it.
Be strong, Diana, you are a better person if you don't allow the smallness of other to cramp your soul.

barefoot_mistress said...

Gimme that guys address, I'm sending my cousin Joey over to break bot' his kneecaps....

Edge said...

Welcome to band! I was a good trumpet player and the politics were just as bad then as now. I do think he steps over the line by inviting only certain people for lessons. He's not THAT good or he wouldn't be a band director in a school system.

I saw favoratism kill the espit de corp of our trumpeters. The band director put a sophomore as first chair. His ego went through the roof. The really good trumpeters like me and my friends settled for second part and chairs within. It wasn't worth the politics. All the first parts were arrogant and egotistical.

You know what. My life is better now then theirs ever will be. I got a good job and kids and a great wife. Stories I hear about the first part failures astound me. Keep with it and just let the director cut his own throat. There are so many other opportunities for your child.

~Jef

lime said...

bs, some days i think so!

snavy, why do people like that go into any profession with children involved?

logo, yes, we all get there. it's part of growing up

bare, you rock!

jef, yes it's amazing how politics start so young. and yes, she will live a rich life with or without this jerk's acknowledgment of her skill. the loss of the promised solos is what stung her the worst. she'd practiced them for 2 months

Fred said...

I get disturbed when I hear teachers who play favorites, both as a teacher myself and as a parent. And, you never know. Diana is better, and maybe, just maybe, the director will come around.

James Goodman said...

that sucks, but if karma has anything to do with it, I am sure he has a miserable life outside o the classroom.

lime said...

fred, and goody.......one can only hope, on both counts!

FunkyB said...

My God, some things never change. I distinctly remember my band director being every bit as selfish and conceited. I was one of the freshman dropouts though.

Seamus said...

What they are doing and the level that they are playing is really difficult - it doesn't need a jerk to make it any harder. I wish her well - tell her to hang in and not give up - there will come a time when someone else will recognize the talent! :)

Chickadee said...

AAARRRGHH!!! How frustrating. That certainly creates a situation where promising young musicians get discouraged and want to quit.

Without sounding like a tattletale, is there anyway someone (not saying it has to be you) can approach the principal of the school with this situation? If you could come up with enough factual evidence, something could be done, especially if this arrogant yahoo is belittling his students. Isnt' that considered a hostile atmosphere to learning?

Sheri said...

As Robin said, somethings never change. I was in the band all through school and sometimes it was great and other times it was horrid. As a freshman, I worked my ass off and made 1st chair flute and regretted it horribly. Ignored and snubbed by the other older flutists... I intentionally did bad at tryoouts so I would lose my 1st chair and go back in the ranks. The girl who took 1st chair from me had a terrible chip on her shoulder and was the band pet for a couple years until a new one came along. I didnt have aspirations to be a famous flutists.... I just liked playing music but NOT the politics that went along with it.

To Diana: Just continue to do your best and march to the beat of your own drummer. Mr. Bandman will get his due someday.

Jodes said...

I hope she sticks it out, it is very important that she does not give up if she is so talented.

Bridget Jones said...

to all they said up there, me too!

As to your question, the day I found out that women get periods and men don't.

Have been really really ticked ever since.

Hey what's the band teacher's address???

Bridget Jones said...

p.s. I tagged you at my place