• FAQ  • Search  • Memberlist  • Usergroups   • Register   • Profile  • Log in to check your private messages  • Log in 

Ponderings About Collegiate Trumpet Programs


Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    trumpetherald.com Forum Index -> Schools
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Trumpetingbynurture
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 18 Nov 2015
Posts: 831

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2021 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
We had a band director in my hometown for about 5 years when I was growing up who came into a strong program and turned it into an absolute powerhouse. Keep in mind, this is a high school of roughly 200 kids. At one point the band had about 100 kids, and it was untouchable in a 4-5 state area. This director left after my 6th grade year, so I didn't get to partake in that glory, but I've talked to some people who were in it at its heyday, and they said that going to the All-State and some of the other notable honor bands was actually a letdown because simply put, their everyday high school band was better.


For someone with a background in IT, you're making a lot of "this proves X" kinds of assertions based on a not great understanding of probability and statistics.

There are so many confounds involved in your example that it's impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions from it. Those 5 years could have been merely an outlier event. Or there's about 20 other possible explanation.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
trickg
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 02 Jan 2002
Posts: 5293
Location: Glen Burnie, Maryland

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2021 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trumpetingbynurture wrote:
Quote:
We had a band director in my hometown for about 5 years when I was growing up who came into a strong program and turned it into an absolute powerhouse. Keep in mind, this is a high school of roughly 200 kids. At one point the band had about 100 kids, and it was untouchable in a 4-5 state area. This director left after my 6th grade year, so I didn't get to partake in that glory, but I've talked to some people who were in it at its heyday, and they said that going to the All-State and some of the other notable honor bands was actually a letdown because simply put, their everyday high school band was better.


For someone with a background in IT, you're making a lot of "this proves X" kinds of assertions based on a not great understanding of probability and statistics.

There are so many confounds involved in your example that it's impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions from it. Those 5 years could have been merely an outlier event. Or there's about 20 other possible explanation.

What a load of CRAP! Because an athletic coach can never make or break a team, right? Professional sports empires rise and fall based on who the coach is and their knowledge about how to get the best out of a team. Why would it be any different at the high school level with a band program?

My wife has been an exceptional and high-performing 3rd grade teacher for about 3 decades now. With the program called "First In Math" her class was the top 3rd grade class in the nation for several years running. Not the county. Not the state. In THE NATION. The nation - understand? I suppose that's just an aberration too, right? It's not - she knows very how to push and motivate the kids to work hard, do well, and to achieve. Her assessment math scores have consistently been at or very near the top in the county for decades.

If you put high expectations on students, they will rise to meet them - that's just the way it is. This band director went on to another school in Kansas where he did the exact same thing - took a program and built it into a powerhouse in a relatively short amount of time. That's not a statistical anomaly - that's pretty strong evidence that this man knew how to motivate kids to achieve.

Of course we're talking 30-40 years ago - without specific data points, it's anecdotal, but I'm quite certain that the data would back my assertions. ALL kids have the capability to achieve if pushed and motivated. They may not all get to a point where they could go and play professionally, but at a high school level it makes the difference between a high school band program being mediocre or having it be exceptional.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with my knowledge of analyzing trends in the data.
_________________
Patrick Gleason
- Shires Model B, Marcinkiewicz #2, Warburton 4SVW/KT
- Brasspire Unicorn C, Pickett/Shires 3C

"95% of the average 'weekend warrior's' problems will be solved by an additional 30 minutes of insightful practice." - PLP
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Crazy Finn
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 27 Dec 2001
Posts: 7985
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trickg wrote:
We had a lot of kids go through my school band program and come out on the other side as very solid players, all without individual private instruction.

We had a band director in my hometown for about 5 years when I was growing up who came into a strong program and turned it into an absolute powerhouse. Keep in mind, this is a high school of roughly 200 kids. At one point the band had about 100 kids, and it was untouchable in a 4-5 state area. This director left after my 6th grade year, so I didn't get to partake in that glory, but I've talked to some people who were in it at its heyday, and they said that going to the All-State and some of the other notable honor bands was actually a letdown because simply put, their everyday high school band was better.

How can this be? How can this be in a town of 2000 people and a high school of just 200 kids and without any private instructors to be had? How can this be if what you assert above is true?

The reason is simple - there was a very high expectation, and kids worked to meet it. It didn't come without casualties. While I'm sure this would be frowned upon in this day and age of "every child is special and deserves a trophy," this director would start to weed out kids starting in around middle school. He never forced a kid to quit, but he would pull certain students aside and suggest that maybe band wasn't their thing.

The rest of it? Practice and hard work at home. Knowing how an instrument should sound, and knowing how a musical line should sound are actually relatively simple concepts, especially when there are other kids in the program who are doing it correctly.

There are going to be kids who just don't get it, but for those who are going to actually go somewhere with it, they likely already have it in themselves to be able to figure it out on their own with the resources available to them.

You don't need individual instruction or a private teacher. You just need someone with a CLUE to provide guidance. That can be a band director - even without lessons.

In one system I taught, we had weekly 20-30 minute lessons with 1-3 students at a time. Needless to say, this was a good environment for developing good players.

In another system I taught, I taught sectionals with 8-12 students for 25 minutes once a week. There was basically no individual instruction, but I could go over the basics of making a sound, articulation, and such and hear them do it, for 15 seconds, individually.

In other system, I just taught band, minimal lessons, but I could still give a little instruction to students.

This is all I'm talking about. Someone who has a clue. Someone who can get kids started correctly, more or less, and give them a suggestion in the right direction. This can allow your DIY approach to take shape, with high expectations.

But, if you just hand a kid a horn and tell them to go at it, with nothing else - who the heck knows how it'll turn out. I've seen it, it's not pretty. Sometimes it works, but it's a total coin flip. That's real DIY and it's not good, usually.

Don't kid yourself, the environment you describe fits nicely into what I'm talking about as at least some guidance.

Maybe some systems don't even get to that level, because I've seen the results.
_________________
LA Benge 3X Bb Trumpet
Selmer Radial Bb Trumpet
Yamaha 6335S Bb Trumpet
Besson 709 Bb Trumpet
Bach 184L Bb Cornet
Yamaha 731 Bb Flugelhorn
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
trickg
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 02 Jan 2002
Posts: 5293
Location: Glen Burnie, Maryland

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
You don't need individual instruction or a private teacher. You just need someone with a CLUE to provide guidance. That can be a band director - even without lessons.

In one system I taught, we had weekly 20-30 minute lessons with 1-3 students at a time. Needless to say, this was a good environment for developing good players.

In another system I taught, I taught sectionals with 8-12 students for 25 minutes once a week. There was basically no individual instruction, but I could go over the basics of making a sound, articulation, and such and hear them do it, for 15 seconds, individually.

In other system, I just taught band, minimal lessons, but I could still give a little instruction to students.

This is all I'm talking about. Someone who has a clue. Someone who can get kids started correctly, more or less, and give them a suggestion in the right direction. This can allow your DIY approach to take shape, with high expectations.

But, if you just hand a kid a horn and tell them to go at it, with nothing else - who the heck knows how it'll turn out. I've seen it, it's not pretty. Sometimes it works, but it's a total coin flip. That's real DIY and it's not good, usually.

Don't kid yourself, the environment you describe fits nicely into what I'm talking about as at least some guidance.

Maybe some systems don't even get to that level, because I've seen the results.

I think that's what I was trying to get at. No kid taking band class is left completely up to their own devices - they have their peers to look to for comparison, and hopefully a band director/teacher who combines rehearsals with the teaching of some basic technique. Our band program in my town started in 5th grade, but we didn't play anything with sheet music until halfway through 6th. In the first two years, a lot of our work was done out of the basic band method books - simple exercises, simple songs.

No one goes through a school band program completely without guidance of some kind, even if they aren't taking private lessons.

This has kind of taken a turn off of the collegiate trumpet programs and their respective level of instruction. I guess so much of it does depend on the student though. If they don't have the capacity, or choose not to receive and employ the instruction given to them, and they are ok spending the money to come out of college without doing their best to find their way through a program that's actually going to work for them, then it truly is on them. But, if the college just passes them along without failing them - and IMO this kid was pretty danged deficient - then I'd tend to think that the institution and instructors share in that culpability.
_________________
Patrick Gleason
- Shires Model B, Marcinkiewicz #2, Warburton 4SVW/KT
- Brasspire Unicorn C, Pickett/Shires 3C

"95% of the average 'weekend warrior's' problems will be solved by an additional 30 minutes of insightful practice." - PLP
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
blownchops
Regular Member


Joined: 15 Apr 2020
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 5:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Ponderings About Collegiate Trumpet Programs Reply with quote

trickg wrote:


I've always believed that I would have come away a better player if I had gone the college route, but now I'm not so sure - college certainly didn't seem to help this kid.

So on to the questions:

1. Is this normal? Are there a lot of music students in college who just sort of get by, getting the grades they need and checking the boxes, but who never really become proficient as a player?

2. Where is the accountability of the institution? Does there not come a point in time where the professors and instructors should pull these kids aside, give them a heart-to-heart, and suggest they either get it together, or possibly pick up underwater basket weaving as major instead?

3. (related to 2) Where does the blame lie? There is now a degreed "musician" in the world who isn't ready at all for any kind of real work as a musician. Is it the fault of the student, or is it the fault of the professors who simply kicked the can down the road?

I feel like at some point someone should have pulled this kid aside for a reality check and suggested that they possibly pursue a different course of study.

I'm curious to hear some thoughts about this from other folks here on the board and especially those who did go through collegiate music programs.



It looks like I missed the party a bit, but

A student's colligate instruction is what they make of it. I graduated as a much stronger player than I was as a high school kid, and I was no slouch as a high school kid, either. I went to a smaller school that was known in my state for producing very strong music educators and thus the trumpet studio was 80% ed majors, 20% performance. Despite that ratio, the level of competition among the top 10 or so was very high and the players were all very strong. Several went on to get degrees from much more prestigious and known universities/ conservatories, oftentimes beating folks that went to much more well known and regarded schools for their undergrad. Many cats got gigs, from military bands to cruise ships to quintet stuff, even folks that were in the 11-20th range of the studio would pull gigs in military field bands and whatnot.
I teach HS band, lessons and I gig, oftentimes playing with pro groups and pulling some decent money. I also find that the cats I play with tend to have (sometimes more) degrees from more prestigious schools, but we are playing the same gig or in the same groups.

An outside observer would look at this and say hey, the program is pretty successful, right?

Well, the bottom 10 to 15 kids in the studio tended to be pretty rough and play at questionable levels. I remember while I working on some pretty advanced lit like the Tomasi, the (older) student in the practice room across from me was getting defeated by tunes like Andante and Allegro, which I see as high school level stuff. Why was this? Well, both tpt professors were also big into accepting rougher or less accomplished students and molding them into good musicians, which is admirable and not super common in the college world.

Does this make my college trumpet studio bad? Maybe some would take it that way, but you have to figure, each student was an individual and were reaping what they sowed of how hard they worked towards their education. I took lessons seriously, took notes, worked on what my Prof. told me to and practiced a lot. I felt like I got a lot out of it. At the same time, one of my best friends did his best and worked hard, but really never put in the time to "break through" in his playing, but he came so far from where he was as a college auditionee to graduate. His final product may not be a pro level player, but he got immensely better and for him, that was worth the time and money spent on school, and he does well as a MS band director.


I did find it frustrating that students I went to school with would play at a high school level, but it is their education, and they can do what they want with it. For many of the students that did not do well though, this was correlated with their successes post-grad. Many of the kiddos that I went to college with (in all studios) that were not a what I would consider to be a colligate musical level either quit being band directors to become elementary teachers or fell out of music altogether. Again, their experience was what they made of it.

I think it is unfair of the school and the trumpet studio to judge the whole based on one student. At any given time at my school you could pop into one trumpet recital and hear a kid that would not make a local all-district band, then pop into another and hear a kid playing at a pro level. You could make a judgment about the professor(s) for allowing that skill gap to exist, but at the end of the day it is up to the individual student to put the work in. Remember the old adage of leading a horse to water, but not being able to make them drink it.

The one thing I do think college did not prepare me for was the actual competitiveness of the real world of trumpet playing. Its a hard life and the competition level is high. I was one of the top kids in my studio and felt very confident coming out of music school. My first audition really opened my eyes to how good everyone else was and how hard I would have to keep working, as well as how efficiently I would have to practice to reach and maintain a playing level that would result in getting paid an actual amount of money to play my horn.
_________________
Bach 37
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    trumpetherald.com Forum Index -> Schools All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4
Page 4 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group