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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000134.txt from 1998/03

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re: marching bands
Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 00:31:36 -0500

On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, Jason Hsien wrote:
> :3. Marching bands often are used by the teachers of that area as a
> :political means - as a device to prove worthiness to non-music
> :administrators.........I believe this is very a prevelant and dangerous
> :practice that negatively impacts on music education in the public schools.
> :i also believe it negatively affects the music literacy of high school
> :aged students.
> This is _NOT ALWAYS_ the case, just to clarify this, and I hope that you
> agree with me here, for you used the word "often". Some administrators feel
> that the music program is very worthy, and I am very proud that my HS admins
> come in occasionally to listen to us simply to enjoy the music. They also
> attend almost all our shows.

My experience extends beyond your I am afraid that I stand
by my posting using the word "often".

> Of course they cut band instead of football. Without football, this wouldn't
> be america, a sad but true fact. You don't ever see NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX
> fighting over the rights to show DCI championships and charge $1.5 million
> per commercial.

I'm afraid you are misinformed Jason. Many schools have cut their entire
athletic programs and kept the band program. Why? One had to go, and the
music program was healthy and effective in producing literate musicians.
The music program must function in a way that makes it unique - otherwise
it is susceptible to budget cuts.

> :6. Marching bands are an equal musically to their counterpart on the
> :concert stage........
> : Sorry.......this is an indefensible position. Sadly, there are
> :people who truly believe it. They may never know or understand the beauty
> :of the music form that the marching band evolved away from.
> But, sicne most high school students have never seen a "classic marching
> show", we have to work with what we have, and in our opinion, we enjoy what
> we do and are very proud. No, we may not be playing Sonatas or Symphonies in
> G (okay... SOME of us are), but we play music that fits with what we march.
> Example: This years, we are doing a New York theme, so we did a lot NYC-like
> stuff, including a traffic jam along with the song "On Broadway". No a
> traffic jam is not something I would call art (okay... again... some people
> may think so. I've seen b/w professional photos of Los Angeles freeways and
> interchanges go for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.) But, it fits,
> the music fits, and the marching fits.

Classic marching show has nothing to do with the marching band being less
than a musical medium than the concert one great composer
who wrote a piece specifically for a marching show on the football field?

> Seriously though, Roger, I think all of us read your letter to the best of
> our ability. Those who interpreted it the way you intended, sided with you.
> Those who interpreted it differently sided with Karen and I (Karen, thanks
> for supporting my position, btw!), but this list of issues has clarified
> your position tremendously, and I apologize about attacking you in my
> previous letter. I am still not in FULL agreement with you, but I think I
> understand the general idea of what you were trying to say.

Thanks for your post(s) do not need to agree with my
position. Hopefully however, as you enter the world of music teaching,
some of this may come back to you......and I know, based on your writing,
that you believe strongly in what you have experienced and you have the
ability (and probably the desire) to do what is best for your future music
students. That's the best any of us can hope for......good luck to you!

Roger Garrett

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