Jazz band 1 or Jazz band 2

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by VincentPuleo, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. VincentPuleo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Ok, so here is the deal. Our Highschool has 2 jazz bands... one is known as the A band and one is known as the B band. (A is considered superior)

    I played in the B band for freshman and sophomore year and won the audition for the A band so I played in that this year (junior year).

    after a year in the so called "better" jazz band I am wondering if I really want to try out again...

    In the A band we practice every morning from 7 to 8 along with 2 night rehearsals a week. The director is a guy who ONLY cares about winning, and every single year the band plays the same songs at the same ridiculously fast tempos... nothing new. I have come to the conclusion he makes the songs so fast to hide mistakes. It sounds horrible when the band plays them at a slower tempo. The drummer of this band is also very closed minded and bossy... not fun to play with.

    The B band (the one that is thought of as worse) director is way better in my opinion, he knows much more about music and is open to the students opinions... we can do a lot of creative stuff. This band practices 3 times a week with one night practice. This would also give me more time to practice on my own instead of spending all my time practicing 3 competition songs that in the end aren't going to make me a better player.

    I know the decision is up to me, but I am curious to hear some outside opinions, based on the information I gave you would you want to play in the B band or A band?
  2. RyKnowOdadjian


    Dec 25, 2007
    Unless there's a ridiculous amount of money being thrown to you for being in band 1 (GAS relief?) I actually see no reason to stay.

    If band 2 has some half decent musicians in it there's very little incentive not to.
  3. VincentPuleo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Haha, well no money involved I am a high school student and it is a part of school... I even get a grade on my report card for jazz band... ha.

    There is definitely some great players in band B.

    Any more?
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I never really got the music-as-competition thing, so personally I'd stay as far away from that as possible.
  5. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Without specific experiences with your school and the teachers involved it would be very difficult for anyone to make any judgements.

    Is there another music teacher, Dean or Principal you could discuss this with in confidence who could help guide you locally in your decision?

    If the teacher of the "A" band seems to be a fairly reasonable person you could write him a letter or email, politely addressing your concerns and ask him if he'd be willing to sit down and discuss this with you.

    Best of luck...
  6. lovernotfighter


    Nov 2, 2007
    This past year my highschool jazz band went through 2 directors. One was like the guy you described in band A. the other was cool and just wanted to have us play the best we could and make us better musicians. With that in mind I say go with band B.
  7. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: DNA Amplifiers, Lākland Basses
    While Peter makes some very eloquent points, I doubt that the "A" director will bend for you. I played music in school all the way from middle school to getting a bachelors degree in music, and my experience has been that all the school stuff is what you make it. If the "B" is good enough for you to keep learning and improving and it's fun for you, then I would switch.

    I would also encourage you to consider taking some of that extra evening time to look into a jazz or blues jam in your area, or even gigging out. I was never more pressured for my time than when I was in high school, but the more time I spent in school doing music, the more I wished I had gotten out to play earlier and more often.
  8. The answer seems simple to me. Do whatever you think you'd be happier doing. It sounds like that would be joining the B band.

    As I see it, there would be only two reasons to join the A band:
    1) If joining the A band might help you on down the road with college applications or something like that. I can't imagine it would make a huge difference.
    2) If you think you can turn things around in the A band. This might be way more work than it's worth.
  9. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Endorsing Artist: DNA Amplifiers, Lākland Basses
    Yeah I agree Chickencha, and in my experience auditioning and helping out with auditions, the schools don't care what ensembles you were in, as long as you can play.
  10. Amen.

    It seems to me you've made up your mind already.
  11. Croox


    Sep 16, 2007
    South Side Chicago
    I'd go to jazz band B If you don't enjoy playing the songs, you shouldn't play them at all. and "B" sounds more enjoyable to be in and play with.
  12. If the "A" band plays the same charts every year...does this guy take you to different festivals every year? Meaning...he has to be running out of festivals before people start to smack him about on the music...

    I teach high school and we have a "programming" section of festival adjudication sheets. This is completely on the director.

    I don't like the competition thing...but the adjudication thing is great. Everybody learns.

    What charts are you doing?
  13. Before making a decision like this, I'd recommend you go talk to your band director(s). There may be more to it than you are able to understand and your take on it as a Junior in high school may not be broad enough to have the complete picture.
  14. VincentPuleo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Well actually he rotates the same 2 sets of songs and makes some changes...

    This year we played Alexander's Big Time Band, Georgia On My Mind, and The Little Clam (almost 2 and 1/2 times higher then the recommended tempo it was not fun)

    And I definitely understand the whole picture... I mean I have played in both bands the B for 2 years and the A for 1... and like someone else said the director of the A band is not going to listen to me... and another problem is also the drummer, while in band B the drummer is a very open minded, musically creative, nice person.

    And I also hate the competition thing, and in band A the whole focus is practicing every day for almost a year to get 3 songs down to win competitions. In band B stuff changes all the time to make it interesting... I still need to think about this.

    More opinions are welcome!
  15. GianGian


    May 16, 2008
    Music is not a sport...there is no such thing as best or worst band. Go back to band B and be happy.
  16. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I say screw the stress and strain of band A and go with band B...its not like anyone but parents and the people on stage actually care about HS music anyway, so you should pick the one thats more fun and relaxed, where you can miss a note and not get chewed out and maybe even improv and fill and learn some stuff other than how to read really fast. Plus you already proved you can hack it in band A so there isn't even a challenge anymore...my 2 cents.
  17. What state? What high school? and the the directors name is? PM me...

    I live in Sacramento. The vocal jazz director of Folsom High is in our area and they are ranked #1, and have been for 15 years, by Down Beat magazine. He is also the instrumental jazz director. We have Rio Americano and a couple of others that are heavy hitters in the state of California and the western region of the US.

    They are competitive. But they are also educational.

    I know of one director that has four books for the regular part of the jazz band (latin, swing 1, swing 2, fusion/etc.) and charts that they use for competition/festivals. Not all festivals are competitive.

    Maybe a change of things for that director might be nice. :) Like using Maria Schneider (cutting edge composer/arranger) or Kerry Marsh (also a cutting dge composer/arranger)

    Just some thoughts...

    PM me and we can chat about this off line. :)
  18. Your A Band guy isnt running jazz band like a..... jazz band
    Hes running like like the olympics, plus, you need that drummer man, yous is a bassist

    If B guy is open to suggestions and digs a more creative feel, isnt that what it's all about?
  19. Mr_Krinkle


    Apr 28, 2008
    Definetly, definetly go back to Band B. If it were me in this situation, it wouldn't really be a decision. If there is no incentive for you to stay in Band A (better musicians: no. better pay: no. better grade: well, you sure as hell aren't doing anything else better so, no.) then go with what you enjoy playing. If the only reason you can find to stay in Band A is it's supposed superiority, then switch back to Band B. Would you rather be in the band that everybody thinks is better, or be in the band that is ACTUALLY better?
  20. Dude -

    I think you've already made your choice - at least your brain has. "You" just need to recognize it.

    But please allow me to offer a little advice based on my high school experience. This year marks my 30th HS reunion, so this is one of those "If I had just listened to my band director" stories -

    My band director sponsored me into our AFM union local (Pittsburgh) when I was 17. In the summer after my junior year, I got to play some gigs with him and his little jazz quartet - they always had trouble finding bass players that could cut charts. I also got to play in a 17 piece big band since I could read well. His advice to me - skip college and go to LA or New York. I really didn't want to go to either place, but nobody told me about Nashville. I've spent the past 30 years trying to get back there, since many of my musician friends keep trying to get me there (just don't tell any employers there you're a musician).

    I followed what I thought was a good plan, and went to music school - and found out since I couldn't play piano well enough to pass Class Piano, I had to transfer into another field (I picked communications - another STUPID major).

    And here's stupid choice #3 - during my senior year in high school, since I was on the union "availability" list, I got a call to play for The Temptations - yes, those Temptations - since their bass player came down with the flu. I was asked if I could read charts, and when I said "yes," I was offered the job for their gig that Friday night - which was the same as opening night for our high school musical. Since this is stupid choice #3, guess which one I picked - especially since our band director read us the riot act about being committed to rehearsals and dedication to show times, etc.

    At intermission, he layed into the band because they weren't watching him and were watching the show.etc. After everyone had left, I said, as he was leaving the room, "Do I really need this - I could have been playing for The Temptations tonight, but NOOOOO - I take to heart all this talk about obligation and then get yelled at." He turned around, asked what I said, and then he went off on me again for how stupid I was for being there and not taking the professional gig.

    So, after all that, here's my advice - which band - A or B - will get you where you want to go? If it's just to play with musically creative people, then pick B. But if band A is the band with the connections, which will further your career with good connections if you want to go into music, then you might have to suck it up and go with A.

    The best answer is what choice is aligned with your goals as a student and as a musician. If you don't have any goals or never thought about it like that before, THAT's your first choice.