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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000866.txt from 2000/04

From: "Randy S. Miller" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Studio teaching and the Band Director
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2000 01:01:42 -0400

!Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 10:27:37 EDT
!From: "Sam Jones" <>
!Subject: Re: [kl] Studio teaching and the Band Director
!Message-ID: <>
!Amen, Laurie!
!This thread will certainly open a can of worms. Mr. Platter and
!Ms.Schwaegler, I think you fail to realise that middle and high school
!students are very impressionable. Even if you don't say to them, "you must
!take private lessons with me" , they may still feel obligated because you
!are their band director.

I ran into this when I was in high school, 25 years ago. It was made very
plain, but not verbally, by the high school band director, that if you did
not study with Mr x. (who was a professor of clarinet with a very prominent
music school in the Baltimore-Washington area) you could expect to get
nowhere as your high school career advanced. I think I was the only one who
did not go this route of blackmail because 1) I was paying for my own
lessons (my parents never spent a dime, except when I was in elementary
school, for lessons. They told me, if I wanted it, then dammit, get a real
job and pay for it yourself,) and 2) even if they would pay for it, they
would never send me to this teacher since they couldn't afford him. Suffice
to say, I never got the #1 position. I was always #2. Granted, I never had
that great of a technique, but I could (and still can, even though I haven't
had the horn out of the case in 15 years. I do vocal work nowadays, as I
have better voice technique that I had technique on clarinet) play circles
around my contemporaries musically.

!Consider this. If all those clarinet students you teach decided to take
!another studio teacher, wouldn't you feel inclined to pressure the student
!into re-considering. Wouldn't you admit, at the very least, that you would
!be tempted to persuade them to change their minds? Students in Middle and
!High School are very impressionable and they will pick up on your
!frustration, even if you don't say anything about it to them. because they
!sense your frustration, they will reconsider taking private lessons with

I have booted students out of my studio in the past, and, if I were still
teaching, would do the same now and in the future. Some of them did better
with another teacher. I have no qualms about showing a student the door if
I think they are not making progress with me. Of course, I'm an extremely
difficult person to please in the first place. If your work doesn't meet MY
standards, be prepared for me to make your life miserable until you can meet
my standards. (Of course, part of my problem is my background in music
history as well as library and information technology. Add to the fact that
I worked 5 years for some of the worst bastards in the U.S. Department of
Defense in regards to Information Technology, and you'll understand why I am
the way I am.) When I was a senior in High School, I had the priveledge of
playing in the 1976 National High School Honors Band, under the direction of
the late Dr. William D. Revelli. Most of us know of his legendary pursuit
of perfection when on the podium. While some of my contemporaries
complained, I was in ecstacy, as well as awe. While I don't think you have
to be as mean-spirited has he could be at times, I feel that you ask nothing
more, and expect nothing less, than perfection from your students.

!You, nor any band director, should teach private lessons to your own
!students. It violates the teacher-student boundary. Of course, you are
!probably going to defend your position because it means $$$ for you.

Amen to that!

!Why don't you recruit students from music stores or from schools other than
!your own? This way you would be competing fairly, in the free market, with
!other studio teachers.

!Laurie - I believe that this deplorable situation is unlikely to change
!because too many band directors are lining their pockets with private
!lessons fees from their own school students. Band directors have too much
!to loose by establishing a code of conduct in regards to matters like

>From: "Don Platter" <>
>Subject: Re: [kl] Studio teaching and the Band Director
>Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 08:43:02 -0400
>This string is likely to open a can of worms for you, but I am a middle
>school band director. What I do is post a list of all teachers I know of
>instrument, location, and phone number. I put the names of the teachers I
>know to be better and whom I have had success in bold type for convenience
>of choice. I do include my own name in that list. When a student in my
>school indicates that they want to study with me, I am very careful to
>indicate to the parent that if they perceive a conflict of interest on my
>part that I would prefer that they choose another teacher.
>In order to become better known in the area you choose to set up your
>studio, I would consider doing some clinics in local schools for free, and
>offering your services for sectional rehearsals, etc. In that way, you
>become better known and more likely to be recommended.
>Good Luck!
>Don Platter

and the hellhounds of 5th Ave.

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