August 30, 2007

My New Hero

Our school has a crappy nearly non-existent music program. If you want your kid in band, you have to pay $100 a month and do it after school, on the kids' own time.

We don't have a band hall or a music room, so they practice where they can. Sometimes the library, other times the cafeteria, they've practiced in classrooms... anywhere they can find, they practice.

So what we have is a small group of children, 4th-8th grade, getting together to play on their time when other kids are out playing, with their parents forking over an extra $100 a month, and the kids being misfits and having to play anywhere they can find.

Needless to say, it is not a successful program... we have a high drop out rate, the kids that stay in it are labeled nerds and are made fun of, and hardly any children turn out to try it when the new school year starts.

Our band director, who we parents pay on the side, is tremendous. He tries so hard with what he has to work with, which includes bad attitude at times.

We have 1 trombone, 3 trumpets, 2 sax, 1 drummer, 1 flute, 1 clarinet and 1 bass guitar player who on any given day, tries to wiggle out of playing in public with the band. (That would be my eldest son.)

That is out of 500 kids. That's our band. They play at every Mass and they play at an Alzheimer's Center twice a year.

It is pathetic and I place the blame squarely on the school. They are hugely unsupportive.

But the kids that stick with it... for the most part, they are not giving up and they don't care what anyone says.

Yesterday, one of Mr. T's 'friends' came up to him and said, "Only nerds are in band..."

Mr. T looked at him and said, "All of us have a little bit of nerd in them..."

That was his reply. I was SO PROUD of him. So damn proud. And when he told me about it, he shrugged his shoulders like the entire incident truly didn't phase him and that would be because... it didn't. He believes what he replied with and he was right.

We all have a little bit of nerd in us.

I love that.

And I am still puzzled how it can be, that people who pursue music get labeled as geeks and nerds. Athletics is cool. Music is not.

There seems to be something so very wrong with that and it bothers me to the core of my soul. Our society is seriously twisted.

Posted by Boudicca at August 30, 2007 09:33 PM | TrackBack

Ten kids at $100 per kid, per month? What happens to the $1,000 per month?

I think the nerd thing will change with time. I also don't know what type of music they are playing, but some non-nerdy music would go a long way too.

If your son sticks to bass playing, by the time he is in his teens he will be in great demand by non-nerdy bands, and he'll be hot stuff wit da ladies too. Trust me.

Posted by: Jimbo - PRS at August 30, 2007 09:47 PM

Alzheimer's Center? That's a good place to start performing in public. The audience won't remember how it sounded. */;-)

Posted by: Angus of Strathclyde at August 30, 2007 10:20 PM

lessons at "the academy" which are new this year.

12 lessons $212 30 minutes.

I am glad I had the kids so close together,, because I am going to have to get bak to work beofre PN begins...

She wants ballet, and it starts in 15 days.



Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at August 30, 2007 10:49 PM

Jimbo- $75/month goes to the band director. It's 4 private lessons and 4 band practices. The other $25 is the instrument rental which is from a local company.

And the fee is REALLY REALLY good, it is just bothersome that the school doesn't support it AT ALL. Not at all.

The music selection is not so bad now for Senior Band and he's trying to get a jazz band started. Last year they learned the Theme from Rocky and from Star Wars. The kids were excited about Star Wars.

Dad- That is our joke exactly! I always say, "the good thing is we can keep coming back because if we suck, they'll never remember.' Plus, we can play the same concert over and over and they won't know! ;-)

AWTM- That's not a bad fee at all! Private lessons are typically $25 a half hour. But it all adds up. You look at your tuition, then the 212 a month, and then the dance and then... everything else and you need a 2nd income for the enrichment.

Posted by: Bou at August 31, 2007 06:15 AM

I am so glad that my husband does not read your site. I get this/his lecture every couple of weeks. I am a huge sports nut. My husband a huge music nut. He things the solution to "all problem" is music. I think that some of our sons "only child" issues are best solved through sports. Back and forth. Bath and forth we go.

Posted by: Lukie at August 31, 2007 07:18 AM

I have an idea that Mr T is wise beyond his years and knows that the girls dig the guitar player as much as they do the football player..I reckon he has heard about the groupies...

Posted by: GUYK at August 31, 2007 07:21 AM

I raised two "band nerds" drummer who was pretty good and one trumpet player. She (trumpet player) went on to be Drum Major then marched 1 season w/Drum Corp International. Music is so important. My kids were lucky, it was part of the ciriculum. Mr. T sound noble for one so young. I would be proud of him too!

Posted by: sailynn at August 31, 2007 10:26 AM

I remember in our grade school and my kid's grade schools, band at that age is about the same... after school, extra money, and only a few participants. When they get to high school it picks up because you have all the grade schools feeding into the larger school. So, the band becomes more of a "school activity" rather than something on the side.

Mr. T has his head squarely on his shoulders. That was an excellent answer. *grin*

Posted by: Teresa at August 31, 2007 11:02 AM

I'm with Jimbo. Many of those "nerds" will be a hit with the girls later on.

Posted by: Denny at August 31, 2007 02:52 PM

You also have to realize that alot of the rock stars out there today and yesterday all started out in the band at school.

So I guess it can't be all that bad!

Posted by: Quality Weenie at August 31, 2007 05:42 PM

That makes me sick to my stomach! Seriously! And I thought we had it bad at the DOD schools.

Posted by: Sissy at August 31, 2007 08:34 PM

Lukie- My son is actually very athletic. He just got tired of the over the top kids' sports. Nobody wanted to have fun. Screaming crazy coaches going insane on a bunch of 9 year old kids. (Not our team, but we saw it on others.) Kids acting like the family pay check depended on their performance. Finally he just said he didn't want to play anymore. He's the first pick in PE, but he prefers music now. It's both individual AND team oriented and nobody is rude.

Sailynn-I'd love it if he made DCI!

Teresa- Our middle school bands have about 300 kids in them, in the public schools. Ours is such a sad little band with a big heart.

Denny- Yes, with time, the musicians will get the girls! And it is a life skill...

QW- I need to remind my oldest boy the bass player of that.

Sissy- You would be SICK if you saw it. It makes me so mad. We try so hard... but NO support. None.

Posted by: Bou at August 31, 2007 09:55 PM

Yeah it is kind of odd - if you pursue music, you're a nerd... yet at the exact same time the kids that are saying this are idolizing popular pop bands...

Posted by: Shadoglare at September 1, 2007 08:40 AM

Bou - You're hitting the bigtime now. You're getting comment spam.

Posted by: Denny at September 1, 2007 01:12 PM