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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000789.txt from 2001/05

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Requirements for grade
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 19:07:47 -0400

At 05:08 PM 5/28/2001 -0400, Dee D. Hays wrote:
>First of all let me say that I personally enjoyed marching band and so on
>but I really don't believe that for a credit course it is appropriate to
>require any student to attend so many functions outside of class hours. No
>other credit course requires this kind of commitment. These additional
>activities should be optional.

I enjoyed it, too, although I did it only at the college level. Some
practice was outside of normal "school" hours, although most of it was
between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Performances were on Saturday, outside of
normal class hours. We received ONE credit hour, with a
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade which did not figure into GPA.

Marching band, by its very nature, absolutely REQUIRES attendance by all
players. In a concert, you may not notice a 3rd clarinet missing, but on
the marching field that person leaves a huge, ugly gap that detracts
significantly from the whole performance. Emergencies come up
occasionally, but anyone who regularly does not wish to perform should stay
home. Permanently. It is a teamwork thing. How would it be for the
football team if the quarterback and ends decided they did not feel like
playing today? What do you suppose the odds are that they would still be
on the team next week?

>Actual performing can be satisfied by quarterly concerts, a perfectly
>reasonable expectation. Even the class practice can be counted towards
>performing. The band could give concerts in school during school hours.
>Individuals and small ensembles could perform for the rest of the band.
>School band should be for the development of the students abilities not to
>treat them like developed musicians. What is their primary function at this
>point in time? Is it to study music or to provide entertainment,
>performances, status etc for the school system? How this question is
>answered will have a major impact on how schools shape the content of their
>programs. Do you want students who can "guide right" with perfection but
>have no idea what the "Circle of Fifths" is?

Band is a performance-oriented course, by definition. Music SHOULD be
taught as well, and the more that IS taught, the better the band is likely
to be. I think daytime performances for other classes DURING school hours
would are excellent way to introduce other students to band and music in
general. But you also need to perform for the parents, who are generally
unavailable during school hours.

>Marching bands and pep bands are really more geared for "rallying the
>troops" rather than providing a venue for musical expression although of
>course music is played. However, go to a high school basket ball game. The
>music keeps everyone pumped up but the audience only hears it as a
>background to the game rather than as music.

And your point would be...?

>You might lump this in with their "homework" but that puts a greater burden
>on the band student than any other class they take if that student takes
>his/her music seriously and practices daily. Let's add it up. 1 hour per
>day practice at home is 7 hours per week. Then add on the 2 to 3 hours per
>week required for participating in the marching/pep band activities. That's
>9 to 10 hours. If all their classes required that much homework, the kids
>wouldn't get any sleep. Even if they practice only half hour per day, that
>is still 5.5 to 6.5 hours per week. If they are taking a total of 5
>classes and all the teachers gave that much work, the student would be
>putting in 26.5 to 31.5 hours per week outside of classes. Add that to the
>30 hours per week that they spend in school for all classes and it gets
>unreasonable. Yes, I know that most teachers don't assign that much but why
>should we make an exception of band and allow them to place excessive
>requirements on the students in comparison to other classes get their grade.

And that's why band is an elective. If you can't keep up, drop the course.

>Besides that, there is far more to music than actual performance. People
>need to be trained to include the support functions. Theory and composition
>should be included. Some one has to know how to write the stuff.

Agreed. But how many composers can you name who were not at least capable
of playing one, if not MANY, instruments? You have to learn to crawl
before you can walk, and need to be able to PLAY music to even have a
REASON to compose. You need to do NEITHER to enjoy music as a LISTENER,
though, and music appreciation courses are OK by me, but in no way do they
replace performance courses.

>Given the extreme amounts of time that some bands seem to be required to put
>in, some of them ought to get music credit, physical education credit, and a
>school letter.

I'm all for letters. And music credit. And for marching band, phys ed
credit certainly seems reasonable to me!

>Let me also address contest. Once again I personally loved going to
>contest, All State and the whole bit. But again what other credit course
>requires a student to compete? None that I know of. When you take Physical
>Education, you don't have to go out for a sports team or compete against
>other schools. When you are in English Composition classes, the teacher
>requires you to write but submitting them to writing contests is seldom
>required. The teacher grades the compositions and gives the students an
>appropriate grade. Entering composition contests is optional just as music
>contests ought to be.

As far as I know, contests are purely optional, or at least they are at the
40-some schools I visit every week. As they should be.

>Then there is another question to be asked. What is wrong with a person
>wanting to play just for their own pleasure? They don't want to perform for
>an audience but simply want to be able to sit down and produce beautiful
>music themselves for their own relaxation. This is a valid function of

Nothing wrong with it at all. Get a private teacher, play all you want for
your own enjoyment. I play in this mode frequently. Find like-minded
people to play WITH, even, although since they will constitute an AUDIENCE
for YOUR playing, that might prove awkward. Still, a person with this
attitude does not belong in a band, by its very team-oriented
nature. Besides, playing in a band without a performance to prepare for is
like playing basketball without a hoop. You can DO it, but it gets boring
REAL fast!

Bill Hausmann
451 Old Orchard Drive
Essexville, MI 48732 ICQ UIN 4862265

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

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