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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000806.txt from 2001/05

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Requirements for grade
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 22:55:41 -0400

At 08:59 PM 5/28/2001 -0400, Dee Hays wrote:

>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Bill Hausmann" <>
>To: <>
>Sent: Monday, May 28, 2001 7:07 PM
>Subject: Re: [kl] Requirements for grade
> > 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
> > 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?
>If you sign up for marching band, of course you must march but you are
>making the mistake of equating band and marching band. They are really two
>separate activities. At college, a student could sign up for either or
>both. You know how many you have for the marching band and the shows can be
>planned accordingly.

As a matter of fact, I made note of the difference in the above post. In
most of the schools I know of, there would simply not be enough band
members available to separate marching and concert bands to any degree. If
the band course that is available in first semester is marching band, then
that is what you must do if you want to be in band at all. If marching
were completely optional, you would have only a handful of students
participating, meaning it could not be done at all, and valuable
performance experience, comraderie, bonding, physical exercise,
self-discipline, etc., would be lost to all. I still believe that, while
marching band may not be the epitome of music, neither is it the
antithesis. Music learning continues, even while the feet move.

>Public school students don't have this choice. They are signing up for band
>not marching band but in high school are required to start marching if they
>want to continue to play and perform in the concert band.

Yep. Or, in some schools where the marching band program is especially
strong, you are REQUIRED to be in concert band to be allowed into the
marching band.

>Band does not have to equate to marching band. As I said before, define the
>goals of the music/band program and design the curricula to match. If the
>primary function of the band is to support the sports program and rally the
>school spirit, that is one situation. If the purpose of the band is to
>teach music performance, that is another situation. If the purpose of the
>band is to teach the students how to play an instrument and then further
>develop that ability that is yet another situation. Public school programs
>generally present themselves as the last category.

My high school (parochial) did not even have a marching band. We did have
a pep band in the stands, and I would not have missed a performance for the
world! I learned to perform music, as well as show school spirit. I fail
to see a downside there. I also went to nearly ALL college pep band
performances, even though I was only required to do half of them.

> > >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.
> > >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...?
>Point is although fun and even useful, this doesn't do much for the
>students' musical abilities or development and they don't get the attention
>of the audience for which they are performing. The attention is going to
>the sport not the musical performance. Why perform if you don't have the
>audience's attention? Because of this, I scarcely consider them to be
>adequate performance experiences for the students.

I disagree with both premises. There is no reason why marching band cannot
develop a student's musical ability. I know it did mine. As for the
attention thing, maybe the band does NOT get undivided attention while it
is playing, but it would be sorely missed if absent. Like the score of a
motion picture -- if you could see, say, Star Wars with all the music
deleted from the sound track, you would probably find it boring, but,
except for the Main Theme and the Canteena music, can you hum any of it?
Besides, band geeks like me DO listen closely when the band is playing!

>It is simply not proper at the high school level to make one course so much
>more arduous than the others. High school is not college. You cannot take
>a low number of courses one semester when you have an exceptionally
>difficult class and then make up total credits later with a higher course
>load when you have an easy combo.

Like I said, if it is too much, drop the course and continue private lessons.

>Besides that, examine the purpose of high school in any subject. It is to
>provide a solid basic grounding in a broad range of subjects. This way the
>student can then settle on what he wants to specialize in for college or
>other advanced training. This is another reason that course requirements be
>kept reasonable. High school is not to turn out a finished product.

It would be nice if this were true. And in my own high school, most kids
did go on to college. But for many, high school is the end of the road,
educationally. What comes out IS a finished product. I agree that high
schools should provide broad grounding, but mollycoddling kids is not the
way to achieve that. Let them spend some of their TV/video game time doing
something constructive.

>College/university bands are setup quite differently. They may have an
>orchestra, audition only wind band, open wind band, plus a marching band on
>top of all that. The college student can choose whether he is in the
>marching ensemble or not. The high school student has no such choice.

In most places, perhaps unfortunately, this is true, due to the size of the
high schools. In a college with thousands of students such choices are

>In some areas high school bands are losing membership because of the arduous
>requirements put upon them to support the athletic programs. The students
>feel subservient to those athletic programs and feel that music and music
>performance is not recognized in its own right. They want to play and
>perform but they want the recognition for their efforts not as an adjunct to
>the sports teams.

Even at Notre Dame, where it might have been very easy to feel
"subservient" to the athletic program, I never gave that a
thought. Instead, I was proud to represent my school, and even thought of
the hard work I was doing as giving something BACK to the
University. Maybe a little bit of solid PR work could improve the
self-esteem of your local band members.

>Actually if the marching and pep activities were held to a reasonable level,
>it wouldn't be objectionable to require it but we've had postings here and
>on the bulletin board where the band puts in their regular band class
>session and then on top of that practices an hour or more per day outside of
>school hours to prepare shows. That is too extreme for high school
>especially when the music educators are trying to raise high school band
>classes to the level of other subjects in school.

I cannot say I favor excessive rehearsal OUTSIDE school hours, and I do not
personally like the competitive marching thing. But many kids THRIVE on
it, and gain a great deal of self-esteem and self-discipline from doing
it. More power to them.

>So I implore you don't equate band with marching band. These are really
>quite different entities. Don't equate college systems with high school
>systems. Their goals and programs are of a necessity radically different.

Yes, band and marching band are different, but not as different as you make
them out to be. Performance is still the goal. I don't quite understand
your distinction between high school and college band, however.

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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