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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000257.txt from 1998/03

From: Richard Hays <>
Subj: Re: Band Policies (was Marching Band)
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 14:42:00 -0500 wrote:

> Dee Hays wrote:
> Both the challenger and the challenged improve through this mechanism.
> *************
> I disagree with this. Music is competitive enough without the challenge
> system. Jr High and High School students have enough stress already.
> Challenges can create antagonisms and divisions in a band and waste
> valuable rehearsal time.

Challenges should be heard outside of rehearsal time. However the antagonism
and division is not a good argument. ANYTHING can create such problems if the
instructor doesn't know how to handle a class.

My own 17 year old daughter believes in challenges. When she was in junior
high, she played the clarinet (now plays oboe) and was challenged regularly by
the second chair. She practiced hard to stay ahead and the second chair
practiced hard to try to beat her. AND they still stayed friends. It is all
in how the people and director handle the situation. Due to this extra effort
resulting from fending off the challenges, the following year she made all
state band in Illinois, which is not all that common for a freshman.

> I believe directors should place students based on their overall ability
> and make adjustments as necessary, but infrequently, probably at the
> semester.

Unless you can point to an objective system of measuring this, the director
will always be accused of favoritism. We had "blind" challenges. Each of us
took a number (1 or 2), played into a reel-to-reel recorder in that order and
then turned the tape into the director. He then posted the tape ID and number
of the winner within a day or two.

> If players are very close in ability, seniority can be used as part of the
> seating mix. If top players are very close solos or even chairs can be
> alternated on a regular basis.
> Gary Van Cott
> Las Vegas, NV

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