I have to vent this out. There are a couple of band teachers in my area who I think need to be fired or at the very least severely reprimanded. These teachers have tenure in California, which makes it pretty much impossible to get rid of them. One of the teachers openly flaunts that they are tenured and pretty much has a carte blanche to do whatever he wants.
These teachers openly swear in class, and basically verbally assault kids. One of the teachers last week had a meltdown (again) in class and called the class “F***ing Idiots”. A friend of mine has a private school teaching job, and if he did ANYTHING like that he would be terminated immediately.
My concern is, besides the total lack of professionalism, what good does this do? In this age of instant gratification, where we think American Idol constitutes real singing, where we have iPad applications like Garageband which makes anyone pretty feel they are a musician, we should be ENCOURAGING students to play and enjoy music. Not having the students DROP music because of fear of Mr. X having a meltdown or because they intimidated them to play. This certainly was NOT the environment I was exposed to when I was in school, and if it was I seriously doubt I would have stopped playing in High School.
Comments? I think a lot of the problem is that these guys, and teachers in general, are tenured and they pretty much cannot be touched. Given the state of California’s budget and such, I kind of wish the district didn’t have funds to pay these guys.
3 thoughts on “The Problem With Band Teachers”
Sooo true. My band director has a similar issue, however not in the sense of intimidating students so much. He’s professional and polite enough that he would never insult us (directly that is), however he never gives us enough credit. He’s constantly talking down to us as if he’s disappointed and frequently downgrades our music (the Jazz band, as well as the concert band at times, plays middle school-level music sometimes)
Now, I will admit – there is a severe lack of devotion and practicing in our school. We have several hard-working, devoted, passionate musicians in our band, however there are many who just don’t seem to care enough. I feel, though, that this is partially due to our director’s attitude towards things. He spends quite a bit of our (Only daily 45 minute (less once you figure in warm ups and such, which are dull and useless with how he runs them)) rehearsals working 2-4 measures at a time. Nothing wrong with taking it slow…but that’s almost all he does. He treats us like children that must be walked through it constantly. He rarely just lets us ‘plow through’ a song, which can be quite advantage at times. We barely work on things enough to just practice enduring the whole thing and linking all the parts together.
I never used to pay it much mind, but a few times we’ve had a substitute who used to direct this very band (and, in fact, taught the current band director) who moved into the computer field (and, I must say, is an excellent teacher in computers as well) and it has changed my thoughts. We played a march one day, which our director had specifically said we weren’t doing to do as a gallop because we couldn’t do it. The sub was positive, energetic, and polite with corrections. There was just something about how he knew exactly what to say to a section to get them to correct some bad playing. He reminded me almost of a father or grandfather with the respect he gained and the command he had over the band. We played beautifully, nearly perfect, and he even had us play it at gallop speed and, once again, it sounded great. All in one class period.
The current director just doesn’t have that aspect about him. He gets flustered easily, and quite honestly depresses a lot of students with the way he acts so depressed and so unfulfilled by his work, especially when a former director came in and had a fun time with us and showed that composure, authority, and professionalism. I would never insult the current director – he’s a great musician. However, he’s just not cut out as a teacher to run the middle school band, high school concert, jazz, pep and marching bands, and then help with the pit orchestra for musicals and, starting this year, run academic challenge. He’s a nice guy, but he just can’t connect with the students, and I believe that, in addition to the lack of devotion, that’s a huge factor in the decline of our band. We can’t have spirit and motivation when our director clearly doesn’t believe in us and prefers to dumb things down and give up as opposed to working hard and pushing us. It’s laziness on both the students part AND the directors’ part. It just makes me sad that our band isn’t performing at its best when we have an amazing director on the next floor teaching computer classes who could quite easily whip us into shape.
all we have is favoritism in Atlanta. It’s still discouraging, while not as severely, but it seems like there are perhaps NO good band directors in schools. Don’t have time to write a full reply, but I do have a lot to say
Band teachers with bad attitudes! It would be a good idea to get their misbehavior publicly examined, and soon!
I’m feeling lucky that my kids never had a band teacher like those ones!
While I’m not a school teacher, I have known and performed with many school music teachers in various professional situations over the years, they are mostly a good bunch of people; not usually prone to tantrums, cussing, and intimidation, that kind of stuff doesn’t cut it on the bandstand. Those band teachers who know how much their student musicians look to them for knowledge, leadership and as role models find their way of getting the job done to be easier than the poseur who is just drawing a paycheck and getting their kicks terrorizing a bunch of students.
It appears the problematic teachers who intimidate and threaten their band students aren’t being sufficiently intimidated and threatened themselves.
Maybe if some students and parents asked that a member of school administration monitor the teaching method of those abusive teachers, they could end the misbehavior. I’ve seen this as an effective way to give notice to the teacher that kind of act isn’t tolerable.
Every H.S. that has an instrumental music program also has a ‘Band Booster” group of parents, who aren’t there to boost the teacher but to encourage their musician kids. They can apply unbearable pressure to a school when they’re convinced that their kids are being abused.