160 watts of eerie silence.
Rant 1 of many to come.
Published on September 20, 2008 By Omegasaxon In Music

 Alright, so, I mentioned I am musician and love music. Well, I am a senior at Prince George High, and first chair french horn, and section leader of mellophone section in Marching Band. Well, the marching band at PG is pretty crappy. Hell, it down right sucks. A lot of the band does not care. Between the new guys who just do not like it, and the old guys who like it prolly less, the only people left to carry the band are the experienced people who really actually like the band enought to try. There are less experienced players who mean well, and in a year or 2, they may be the ones who have to actually get the band anywhere, but real experience comes with time, no offence to them or anything.

 But this really sucks because I want to leave marhcing band this year with a VA Honor Band status to be proud of, but the hell if it actually happens. Even considering the fact that the new people lack experience, a lot of them, let alone people who have been here a year or 2, just do not care enough. We have not managed to field our last song yet, most of the kids do not even have thier music memorized yet, and maybe 2% actually know the National Anthem. Admitedly, I do not fall under that 2%, but I will fix that. The fact that I actually want to fix anything is more than what half that band can say.

 But still, marching band is marching band, if we do not get an honor band this year, then I will move on. It is all good.

 Still, we had our first real game yesterday, and I think it turned out half decent. We did not play our closure, Magnificent 7, but for what we had, it was good enough for football games. Still come Oct 4th, if we do not get at least a 2, I will be mad, and very let down.

 Back on the subject of football games, the one yesterday agaisnt Monocan High was intense as all mess. Marching band factor aside, the game went into double overtime and we lost but 1 point, but that is PG for ya. Being a section leader, I got to meet the Monocan band's section leaders, which was pretty interesting. They were pretty cool I thought. They did a Beatles show which, considering it is the start of the season, was pretty good. They were also a VA Honor Band last year, but from what the mello section leader said, and from what I saw, I do not think it will happen this year for them. Still, wish 'em the best of luck.

 I will rant more on marching band later, I meant to actually play Final Fantasy 12 for the first time since July, but I got caught up with this. Until tomorrow then.

~ Ray Champion III

on Sep 21, 2008

Once upon a time you had to "make" the band.  Meaning, you showed up at summer band camp your first year, and if you didn't perform well and show the right attitude, you weren't in the band.


At some point band directors got hamstrung by spineless principals buckling under the pressure of idiot parents that thought every kid deserved to be in band (well, not every kid, but definitely THEIR kid).  Gee whiz...I never saw Fumble Fingers Fudpucker wobbling down the sideline to fumble the winning touchdown pass...doesn't every kid deserve to play football even if he can't run and can't catch and can't remember what a post pattern is?  Doesn't Larry the Midget deserve to play Basketball even though he couldn't sink a free throw with a laser-sighted basketball cannon?


Wanna turn some heads?  Ask to see your principal with your band director for a talk.  Tell him you really want a good band, and the policy of letting people in that don't care is hurting morale, and making the school look stupid.  Use my examples of sports policies.  Principals often want all the kids to fear him/her.  He/she is the holder of judgement and punishment.  BS.  You're the student, he's YOUR servant.  If you wanna fix it, it's gonna take more balls than a blog post requires.


Being a band director was the most frustrating job I ever had.  I'll never go back.

on Sep 28, 2008

Oh how ironic, I'm a horn player, too.  Actually, I went to college for music and now I teach it so here's some advice:

Just get through it, with a smile, set a good example, be enthusiastic about your section and I promise it will seem better.  Don't let others spoil the music making process for you.  Transcedence is a good thing. 

Do you plan on studying music in college? 

I have a story that sort of relates to what you are going through:

In college I was in every ensemble imaginable.  I played many gigs on the side and always worked my ass off on whatever rep I could get my hands on.  Even though I was putting in all of these hours of practice, the seating in orchestra always went by seniority.  I remember getting so angry because when I was a sophomore, I could easily outplay the seniors.  I then became very bitter about playing in all of these groups because like yourself, I felt like the directors didn't get it.  Looking back, now I wished I had been more positive about all of it instead of wearing it like a burden, and just enjoyed playing music when I was always given the opportunity.  Now it seems like I have no time to practice or play in a performing group!

on Oct 12, 2008

You're in a tough spot.  My daughter played in school bands in middle & high school as well as a couple of world acclaimed local marching bands.  In her case, the director of her HS  band totally blew the experience for her.  He loved music but absolutely hated kids.

My story is similar to hers (and to some extent, yours).  I'm 57 and play first chair in a pretty good community band.  My point - hang in.  You need to focus more on what your getting from the experience than the frustration you have over the lack of commitment from the other players.  Alison speaks well. 

Good luck.