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We are at our ropes end. Our oldest is in 6th and starting band this year. HE would like to play tenor sax or alto as a second choice. He is a big kid and really band is about all that is left for him in school to try and fit in. The director wants him to play tuba or trombone. I played drums, guitar and piano for years and want him to be able to play what he would like to play. He tells us he is just going to forget band and just go to study hall as he doesn't want to play what the director wants him to play. I have tried to go talk with the director(didn't get 1 minute), left a message on the phone, wrote a note and called the principal today as a last ditch effort to get this taken care of.
I really need this for our son. What is this guys problem? Should I just purchase one anyway and just send him with it? The rental guy says we can switch instruments at any time for any reason, wonder why he can't start on the one he wants :x . It's not like he is wanting to play the drums like the rest of the crowd and I wouldn't think he would have too many tenor in 6th grade. We have already missed a few really good deals locally due to this guy dragging his feet. He spent 30 seconds tyring him out on the tenor and not much sound out of it but spent as long as it took to get a decent sound out of the trombone. How do I handle this guy? Weight discrimination for band instruments? I hate to get a laywer but can really let this one go.
 

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Speaking as a band director, I always have instrumentation in mind when signing up students and try to encourage those who are unsure to try low brass, HOWEVER, I never discourage ANY student from playing the instrument they want. Changes to the arrangements are always easier then "convincing" a kid that the tuba (or whatever) is what they are destined to play.

Stick to your guns. As a parent you do have the ultimate say in your child's education.

Good Luck
 

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The school band isn't the end-all to a kid's musical development. I dropped out of my school band in the 11th grade but kept playing my soprano. I'm now 67 years old and I STILL play my soprano (plus others). I never gave it up. I joined an after-school group of guys who all liked Dixieland jazz and played throughout the military and a career in law enforcement.

If this guy won't allow your child to play what he wants - walk. DAVE
 

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Who wants to play a tuba? (Or more appropriately) what sixth grader in his right mind would want to play a tuba? (It's just so uncool):x
 

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This director is a flat out Jerk, their is no other way to say it. Bari doubles Tuba, and Tenor doubles Trombone. So if you son plays Tenor, he will bascially be playing Trombone. Their is something wrong with this guy. However, your son will have to deal with this guy for a long time. I am not a band director just a high school student. Saying that. I have had to work with my middle school directors in High school out on the Marching field. This guy may treat your son like #$% it was done to me this last year.
I don't think all directors are like this, some I would love to play for again, and some like the one I have mentioned, that I hated them. It comes with the expierence and the music. I hope you figure out a way to deal with this JERK!!!

~Carbs

Edit.
I agree with Dave. Get your kid a Tenor, and get him private lessons. Music is about having fun, if it is not fun then it is not worth it. Now their are hard parts but in the long run it needs to be fun.
 

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Like davevillajr said, he's probably got instrumentation in mind. And not the makeup of the 6th grade students, but the makeup of the 7th and 8th grade bands. All of his tubas may be 8th graders who'll move on to high school next year and he knows he needs replacements. They usually stick "big" kids on low brass and that's what he's try to do to your son. He may also have 30 sax players. I can't fault him for trying to make sure all instruments are covered, but he shouldn't be pressuring a student to take up an instrument he doesn't want to.

Let the director know that your son will play saxophone or nothing. If he wants a tuba, he'll have to look elsewhere. Let him know that you know a band needs tubas, but you're not going to allow your son to play an instrument he's unhappy with and that he'll gladly skip the band experience if he can't play sax. Unless there is an absolute hoard of saxophone players and he needs to "thin the herd", he should relent and welcome any warm body that want to be in the band program.
 

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No problem.

The sax:
Get the boy a sax and a teacher and let him play out.
Play together as soon as he's able.
He's in sixth grade; you'll see what comes of it.

The band:
If the guy won't budge, and you don't resort to a lawyer (getting a lawyer is not recommended), you have two choices.
Choice one: study hall without regret. Let him study. Can't hurt.
Choice two: play trombone in the band. Big deal. It's a terrific instrument.

He's in sixth grade; you'll see what comes of it.


A little anecdote:
A girl in our band wanted in the worst way to play flute.
She had a teacher, a shiny, new Yamaha, the works. But, like lots of school bands, there was an overabundance of little girls tooting on flutes. The band director suggested that she try the bass clarinet. The bass clarinet. She was disappointed and pouted, like all children when they can't get exactly what they want, but she eventually acquiesced. It took her some time, she struggled with the beast for a bit, but now she loves it. Loves it. Takes pride in her ability. And she adds a deep, resonant voice to our band's sound. Who'd have thought.

He's in sixth grade; Ya never know.

(corrected)
 

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I have a private student that is in the same boat. The band teacher wanted him to play clarinet but he didn't like it so he quit. After four months of saxophone with me he's playing "things ain't what they used to be" and playing blues scales, major scales, minor. i even hipped him to charlie parker and cannonball adderly. He's one of the most talented kids I've ever taught. I bet when the band director realizes how good he is now he'll let him play. Get your child an alto first, though, they are cheaper and he can get a tenor later if he proves he really wants to play.
 

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One thought : trombone can be cool too. Gives you a head start when going to trumpet. Same with tuba. But if the kid refuses to play that, well...

Personally i don't like the guys way of dealing with it. At least he could give a good reason why he wants the kid to play trombone or tuba.

For the rest, I can agree with about every reaction here.
 

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Patience Is Truly a Virtue

Just my commentary, I would respect the Teacher's wishes. I agree with others that instrumentation is definitely in the Teacher's mind when assigning students to instruments.

When I was in 6th, my Father bought me a saxophone and prior to that I took private piano and drum lessons. Teacher wouldn't have a choice but to put your son at an instrument he wants to learn if you already invested in an instrument.

Try not to overreact with a lawyer...you may keep your son from learning a valuable life lesson...and that is, from time to time you deal with difficult personalities...why not start working on the learning curve and teach your son skills on how to make this situation a positive one. Bottom line he'll still be learning music ie., performance, theory, fundamentals, etc.

Good-luck
 

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Sue the bastard and get your kid a Tenor.
 

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I have not, nor have I ever had, sympathy with band teachers who put the instrumentation of their bands ahead of the interests their students have in an instrument of their choice. Band is about music, not the band director's career or how many high ratings the band can get in contest. IMO that's all just backwards. (Althlough I sympathise with having a balanced instrumentation and also with the ridiculous pressures put on directors in some regions to produce awards.)

Here we do not have band programs in the schools as part of the academic program. Although some schools are having wind-instrument-classes, this is unusual. Normally schools have bands as an extracurricular activity. That means that every year, the music teachers look first at what their instrumentation is and then adjust. The result is that every kid who wants to play gets to play and they also get to play their given instrument.

Is it extra work for the teacher? Yep. But I've seen remarkable results in that, with such mixed instrumented ensembles, you've got clarinet students playing Morphine and pop-oriented guitar players playing Beethoven. Makes for a great broad grounding in music for these kids for life.

This band director is likely thinking about his instrumentation and that should be kept in mind when dealing with him. Try to present your side from how it will benefit him if your child plays sax. If you can't get his attention, then I agree a meeting with the Principal is in order.
 

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"Ask not what your band can do for you, but what you can do for your band."

Just for the sake of it, I'm gonna play Devil's advocate on this one.


As a parent, it's easy to get all litigious and want to hang the band director from the nearest tree. But it's a band, not a musical support act for your kid. It's a great lesson in democracy, give and take, putting your own ego on hold for the greater good.

School band is a great place for a kid to learn that "you can't always get what you want. But if you try...sometimes,...you get what you need."

Where would football teams be, if every kid refused to play anything but quarterback?

Why not, just for a moment, assume that the band director isn't Satan with a baton, and maybe he/she has a good reason for putting your kid on low brass?

Why not get the kid to give it a go and if they make a solid effort reward them with the saxophone as a private study instrument.

Before you hang the Band Director, just remember that that poor soul has 100 pushy parents just like you to deal with on a daily basis.
 

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My daughter switched to tenor in springtime in 4th grade for the spring concert. She starting 6th and still playing tenor.
 

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You shouldn't even have to explain your child's preference, or that a tuba (or even trombone) have limited applications in today's music. No, you just tell the band director that your child has decided to play the saxophone. Period. It is the band director's job to teach your child and if he won't, you will go to his boss (which you've already done, and will probably fix the situation), and right on up the ladder until you have to write a letter to the editor of the local paper detailing why your child's musical dreams are being stifled. Also, rather than call, I'd show up at school. No teacher wants to deal with a pain in the rear parent. Be one until you get your way, and should your child receive a poor grade, go on back and make more noise. Don't let these people assume more authority than they're allowed.
 

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This is not unusual. My boy was not aloud to play sax at first but was relegated to the clarinet line even though he could play sax better than the chosen few aloud to play them. I put him on a mission to bug the band teacher everyday about playing sax. This showed her his desire and commitment. After about six months of this, she relented and now my boy is this best sax player in the junior high band.

What lessons do we really want to teach our children?

First, weight the options. If playing sax is not ultimately important, play the trombone or tuba. Both are great instruments and are actually more fun to play than saxophone in marching band.

Second, if playing the sax is that important, then fight with whatever means you have. One of the worst lessons we can ever teach our children is that they must accept no for an answer. A successful life often means not doing this even in the face of overwhelming odds. But remember, in the end the desire and the willingness to fight has to be his and not yours.
 

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Ok,

I've had enough.

There are two separate issues here.

1. Your child wants to play saxophone. Fine! Buy him a saxophone, book a teacher, Bob's your uncle.

2. Your child wants to participate in the school band. If so, you play whatever you're given and do your best to make the band sound good. You don't whinge and moan. You don't get mum and dad to harass and threaten the band director. You don't petition the principal. You don't threaten legal action.
Fer chrissakes!!! The school band (or any team activity) does not revolve around the wishes of a spoilt child, or a parent who wants to live out his saxophone playing fantasies through his progeny.

As a result of parents taking the approach suggested by Grumps, and worse, we have very stict laws in this country for all junior sporting activities. Harrass the coach, the umpire, the other kids, the other parents, and you're red carded. If you really go overboard, you get referred to the police.
Let's not force school bands into taking a similar stance.


And remember, ...what seems so vitaly important to a 6th grade child today, will be forgotten for the next "must have" or "must do" within a month.

But the wishes of parents who live the vicarious life? ......They're a different and far more dangerous animal.
 

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Racer,
Years ago our preemptive solution was a well rounded private school for our children. Worked out great, by the beginning of their senior years both were offered full scholarships all over the US. Public education is, well we all know what it is!

Addition;
One wanted to and played flute and viola (band had plenty of flutes)
One wanted to and played clarinet and oboe (band had more than enough clarinets)
It all worked because we paid for their education.
 
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