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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000623.txt from 2001/05

From: rgarrett@-----.edu
Subj: Re: [kl] School Board
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 00:19:00 -0400

At 09:46 AM 5/25/01 -0600, you wrote:
>I'll be at the opening recital, Roger. Are you going to be performing?
> Roger, of course I know that having the same letters as the
>athletes doesn't matter now. But it did then. I still have my Mickey
>Mouse Club ears, and when I was 10 (that was before the clarinet) they
>really meant a lot to me. Even though I was never invited to be a
>"Mousekateer", I still felt like I was one in my heart. If anybody had
>told me that I wasn't good enough to wear those ears, I would have been
>devastated. ANNIE

One of the important skills and responsibilities a coach, band teacher,
and/or mentor must have and use is leadership. Leadership is that quality
that allows a band teacher to lead his students to the point where they
understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what it is doing
for them. Students at the high school age (Shouryunus' long email
notwithstanding) can learn and adapt quite quickly to great
leadership. However, the band director who leads students by worrying that
they are not being recognized via an article of clothing or a trophy (yes -
I am implying......) is not demonstrating leadership that educates students
to understand why they are playing.

Yes - recognition is important. But frankly, there are more appropriate
ways to lead students to a more mature outlook than to go with the flow.

When I taught high school, we had band jackets with names embroidered and
our own logo. I remember the first year there was some kidding by the
athletes. All it took was one or two amazing half-time shows (different at
each game) that had the audience in the stands watching and listening to
the pride and enthusiasm demonstrated by the band students (who never
attended a marching competition while I was the teacher!) to change all of
that. Being in band can be a cool thing - especially when the state MENC
association recognizes a particular school with high honors. When 50% of
all graduating seniors receive scholarship money to a university of choice
because of their musical ability/training/etc., then feelings of failure or
not fitting in are reduced considerably.

I have two boys - ages 10 and 12 right now. One swims competitively, and
the other does not compete athletically (although he is the more gifted in
terms of speed and coordination). The oldest does not place swimming above
his music - in fact, it is the opposite - even though we encourage both
equally. Both study music - piano for both, and cello and viola
respectively. Both boys take great pride in what they are doing musically
- with no rewards other than their own accomplishments and the opportunity
to perform for an event. Peter, my youngest, performed his cello yesterday
for the 4th grade class at school. Sure - some of his friends kidded him
about his public expression - but they were very supportive and, dare I say
it, envious of his developed ability. Rapid technique, great intonation,
shifting, and double stops are impressive at this age - and the other kids
know it.

I stand by my earlier comments - and I believe that students at any age can
develop pride in their accomplishments without the athletic
letter. But......it takes a strong teacher with excellent teaching skills,
a developed program, and.........superior leadership.

Best wishes,
Roger Garrett

Roger Garrett
Clarinet Professor
Director, Symphonic Winds
Advisor, Recording Services
Illinois Wesleyan University
School of Music
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900
(309) 556-3268

"A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes
another's."
Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825)

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