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Problems with my band director... (LONG RANT)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mike Money, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    When I started band in High School, I started in beginning percussion... then played drums in the concert band 2nd semester of my freshman year.

    My sophomore year, I played bass for the marching band and did my first year of jazz band...

    My junior year, I stayed in marching band, but I dropped jazz band first semester and covered tuba parts for concert band... then second semester I did both jazz and concert bands.

    This year, I started marching band... and quit a few weeks into the school year, but remained in jazz band.

    Why did I quit? Here is why...

    The original band director at my high school was Mr. Kuyper. He was in his mid thirties... played snare in numerous drum corps in his college days... He was young enough to be a huge fan of the 70s and 80s rock `n roll. The first year I did marching band, our show consisted of "Hot For Teacher", "Baba O'Reilley (Teenage Wasteland)", and "School's out for summer".

    My junior year, we did El Toro Caliente, Maleguena, and Habenera.

    Hot for teacher year, our band was 150+ horns strong... and we had some unreliable people. We didn't place very well at competitions, but our show was RAD and we were always the crowd favorite. Liberty High band nerds kinda became famous amongst our own... Every school knew our show was gonna kick ass.

    El toro year... I had my doubts. But the music turned out rockin'... We were still the crowd favorite, and we won too. We competed in the WBA circuit the first time that year. Most of the schools in the WBA are private... and their bands are perfect. We placed 3rd at finals.

    Kuyper was a drummer... So the drums always had super cool parts, and they were always the best line at the competition. He was also smart enough to let his better horn players worry about their sections... and it worked out fine.

    This new guy... Mr. McGuire... He's a bit of a kill joy. With kuyper, we had most of our music by the end of the june try outs... and had all of it mid way through band camp in june. With McGuire, we finally had all our music in early October.

    With Kuyper, we were competing the first week of october.

    With McGuire, they went to a competition the 3rd week of october. And still didn't know the whole show... Kuyper NEVER did any parts of his shows stand still at a competition. The only stand still we ever did was at the pre-season football game... And that was mainly to break in the freshmen.

    With Kuyper, drumline/pit practiced from 7 am till the end of first period at 9:15, and most days after school from 3:30 to 7.

    That is, until ONE kid's parents complained about the schedule because he didn't have time to do our line AND another private corp. Turd.

    In jazz band with kuyper, we rocked every song that could be rocked. His last concert with the school, he brought in Bill Lipton (sp?) and that was AWSOME. How many other directors bring pro's in?

    Now in jazz band, we get lame tunes over and over again...

    Blue Bossa, The Sermon, 'round midnight... a bunch of overplayed stuff. I like the tunes... but along with blue bossa, we have two other samba's with nearly identical bass lines... The only song we have that doesn't really sound like any other we have is Harmony Police... which is a jr. high level tune.

    Liberty has hosted a marching band competition every year but this one... McGuire's excuse was "I need to spend more time with my wife... I just don't have time for all this." That was also his excuse for no over-night trips during marching band.


    I talked to some parents from his old school... they don't like him either.

    This guy has no respect for us as musicians, either. He yells at us in the rythm section about needed to "tighten up" as a group... I'd say we are the tightest rythm section in the county... not only because we are the only full one, but because we have all played with eachother elsewhere and can almost guess what each is going to do.

    Our warm ups basically consist of me laying down a groove of some sort... or maybe playing something from a band we all like.... then letting the guitar and piano take turns soloing.

    He got mad at us one day and said "Stop playing that rock crap."

    I politely raised my hand... waited till I was called upon and said "Sir, Rock `n Roll isn't crap."

    He gets mad when a trumpet player adds a little jazz to a tune... "THATS NOW HOW ITS WRITTEN! GAR!"

    Yes, big mac... I'm sure miles davis is rolling over in his grave because a trumpet player saw a road, and took it. :rolleyes:

    Last week, he was fumbling through some papers... so I started playing "baby got back"... the drummer came in, and the guitar player started rapping it. We did it up in till "you get sprung" and ended it there. HE STILL WASN'T DONE LOOKING FOR WHATEVER HE WAS LOOKING FOR.

    He founded it... packed up his stuff... and went in his office.. We're like "Whatever." Then started the next tune... jump o'clock one... then he comes back out, stops us, yells something about how if he isn't up there, we don't play and to pack it up.

    I realize we're probably kind of hard on this guy... But he took a competition winning band program, and ran it into the ground. The students don't like him.... the parents don't like him. Everyone has written numerous angry letters to the principal about how she is an idiot for firing kuyper...

    This guy, so far, has 15 stories about where blues comes from. Its ridiculous...

    We went from heavy metal... to some show about circuitry. and electrons. and the connection... seriously, google it. Those songs are CRAP.

    Jazz is about feeling and expression, right? Well, this guy's panties get in a huge bunch whenever we do anything outside of his box.

    "Derek, I don't like that scoop you do in your solo."

    "Mike, stay in one octave. I know there isn't a written line for this song... but ascending and descending to mark the end of the solo section sucks. And do you think you could string your bass with flats?"

    "Gonna buy them for me?"


    "Well... quit crying."

    The bass I use in there is a peavey g-bass... graphite neck, 3 band active EQ... Not exactly a jazz bass... but I can still easily get a nice mellow tone out of it. He asked me not to use that bass. So I bring in my GL L-5000.. which has the sickest, meanest, gnarliest tone of any bass out there.... He didn't like that either. He then told me he wanted me to play either an upright, or a fender jazz. Neither of which he was willing to buy me.

    This guy is just a tool, plain and simple.

    Its getting to a point where I'm almost unwilling to play for him.
  2. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Kick flip an indy grind on his cat and stab him with your Linkin Park pen.
  3. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO
    Everybody needs to mutiny. When the current Director is "let go", audition replacement band directors, take a vote and go from there. After all, this whole band thing is for the students, IMO. Seriously, suggest it to a counselor, or go straight to the Principal.

    Power in numbers, Mikey. :)

  4. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO
    Everybody needs to mutiny. When the current Director is "let go", audition replacement band directors, take a vote and go from there. After all, this whole band thing is for the students, IMO. Seriously, suggest it to a counselor, or go straight to the Principal.

    Power in numbers, Mikey. :)

  5. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Sounds like a wad.
  6. Skeletomania


    Oct 25, 2005
    hong kong
    The whole band should go on a strike. Also, get the support of other students in the school. Talk to the other parents, and let the PTA know about it.
  7. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Why was the last guy fired?
  8. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan

    The school wanted him to do all sorts of stuff... and he couldn't do it without more monetary support which they wouldn't give him.

    The kid that complained about the practices more or less pushed him over the cliff.
  9. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Kick flip an indy grind on his cat and stab him with your Linkin Park pen.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Put the music first Mike.
  11. I dunno if anyone has said this yet, but kick flip an indy grind on his cat and stab him with your Linkin Park pen.
  12. rogerjeep

    rogerjeep Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2005
    Ok, I have to agree with some of your points and disagree with many.
    First off, I am a HS band director as well as a bass player. I do consider myself a different type of band director. Why different? Well, I was raised in a musical family, played by ear long before learning to read music. I joined band in 6th grade and continued in college. I never played bass in HS but was a double bass major in college as well as a trumpet major.
    It is very hard to follow a popular band director. Fortunately, for me I followed a very bad band director. I say a bad band director because he did not teach them what music was and how fun being a good musician could be. They only played "rock crap". When I came into the position I wanted them to learn how to play all kinds of music.

    I do the same thing. Once my kids learn Basie, Ellington, Miller, Kenton and Fergusan. Then, I may have them learn Frankenstein. But come on.... is there really any comparison. Of course kids are going to like "rock crap" better but I am in the job of educating.
    My last concert I played, Magic Flea by Count Basie, Count Bubba by Gordon Goodwin a cool latin version of Watermelon Man, Groovin' Hard, Buddy Rich and a Earth, Wind and Fire Medley. I do not think "baby got back" compares to these artist and songs. Honesty.... do you?

    Well, have you ever heard of Chuck Rainey?? If not, do a search. I had him come to my school. I know him and asked if he would come out and play for the kids and talk with them. he did, it was a blast.

    How about Ed Shaughnessey? He will be at my school in three weeks.

    Many schools bring in artist maybe your director should take you guys to more concerts.

    Again, Blue Bossa, and Round Midnight has a few more chord changes then "Baby got back"

    A wise man once told me. " If you want to learn you have to listen" Meaning ...you need to listen to what he says. Listen as if you do not know anything. Learn exactly what he wants you to learn and every other teacher has to say then combine all of the ideas and come up with your own style.

    How do you shut up a bass player?? Put music in front of him.

    How many DCI bands play Van Halen? The Cadets won last year and they played Dreamscapes in four parts with a door. Original music and very exciting.

    Look, your band director may be an ass, or old school, but how much of a chance have you given him? What is his background? Maybe if you learn what he wants you to he would lighten up and maybe listen to some of your suggestions. I am not trying to be critical of you but I see 250 band kids a day. I am not a mean director or a tyrant but I am their leader and educator. I take that role very seriously and try my best to live up to my expectations. I do jazz band, concert band and marchingband. and play a house gig 50 weeks a year . Averaging 150 dates a year.

    Good luck in the future.

    Oh and about your bass. My bass player plays his own Warwick and I have him playing upright as well. Your bass should be fine for what ever you play in school unless he wants to buy you something better
  13. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    But baby got back is funny. Especially after working on the long version of A night in tunisia all week. :p
  14. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    Least you guys have a jazz band. My school band blows chunks. Total band music all the time. No sort of guitar or bass, no fancy props or hard drill. Key Poulan music for the last 10 years (honestly, wth?!) I'm currently ineligible for contest this year so they shove me in a practice room all day. I usually just nap or watch a movie on the tv they left in there, but the other day I asked about bringing a bass and a headphone amp to practice this cello suite I'm learning. My band director said "There is no place for guitar in this band. ever. at all." (thats a direct quote)
  15. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!! I don't think I have EVER heard a more wise suggestion! Damn, that was funny!
  16. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I agree with this wholeheartedly, and I don't even know what it means . . . but this is what you should do . . . no question about it . . .
  17. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    ...that seemed rather strange and oddly defensive to me.

    At any rate, good luck Mike.

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