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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi again - so my daughter had her audition for jazz band for her senior year this fall. she texted me with a few well chosen expletives basically saying she did not do too well.
she's been in a love/hate relationship so to speak with the band teacher. Sometimes he says "great solo" and other times just ignores her. She has basically tanked all her auditions the past three years. Some people just don't test well. And this appears to be a problem with her. But it's done now.
She's been in a jazz lab class the past years, a 2nd tier jazz class. Solos are barely 8 bars or so, nothing to build with, half is lost from applause from the previous solo so there is not much to learn from this. She can solo if given the proper opportunity.
She auditioned for jazz band which is structured to have longer, more developed solos. She has never had the opportunity to play for him anything longer than a 2-3 minute audition in a row of 20 or so kids, and the songs from the jazz lab class.
She has been practicing and recording herself on quicktime.
She was thinking of, and her teacher also approved, sending an email to her teacher, one of per practice videos showing her soloing for an extended period of time so he can hear what she really can do and possibly offer a bit of explanation if she sees fit.
Trying to not be a meddling father so I'm going to try and stay out of it.
This is her last year and she wants this band and I think is willing to sort of break the rules by submitting extra material for the teacher to consider. I don't know if anyone else has done it before so I'm not sure if its proper, but she really wants to get the teacher to hear her. She's thinking of going for broke with this option.
If he places her in the jazz lab her final year I am pretty sure she will drop the class so there is not a lot to lose and a lot to gain if she clears the air with the teacher.
 

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I like what you're doing. I recommend just staying back and letting your daughter go for it. In life, persistence usually wins over excellence every time. So since she has nothing to lose, anything she can do will not hurt. Sometimes you have to willing to drive someone crazy in order to get what you want out of them.

But I'm going the mention the flip side of this that I figure others here in the teaching business will harp on. There is some reason your daughter is not doing well in her auditions. Her chance should be about the same as those kids that did do well. So there is something different. There is something wrong. If she plans to play sax in college, the bug-the-teacher method will probably not work since college instructors are often much more accomplished and at least a little more professional at their teaching craft. Your daughter really needs to figure out why she is tanking auditions and fix it now.

For "helicopter dads", like you and me, the best thing we can do is often just to open our wallets. Pay for additional lessons. And maybe some private lessons from a different teacher with this very problem in mind. Fix the kid and then let her move on to more professional instruction in college.
 

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So you said the teacher approved her sending in a recording so I don't see any risk in doing that. Why don't you give the teacher a call and find out why she's not making it in the auditions? Don't pressure him to make him change his mind, just ask what your daughter can do to improve enough to get into jazz band.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Correction !! I meant her private teacher approved of the idea of a CD submission or an email, not her high school music teacher. Sorry for the confusion.

So you said the teacher approved her sending in a recording so I don't see any risk in doing that. Why don't you give the teacher a call and find out why she's not making it in the auditions? Don't pressure him to make him change his mind, just ask what your daughter can do to improve enough to get into jazz band.
 

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I don't know about the high school teacher, but I would definitely reconsider anyone who has sufficient desire to go the extra mile.

I would much rather have a highly motivated person in my band than a proficient player that could care less about the band.
 

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Being a 'Band Parent' is sometimes VERY hard. Especially when you know what your musician child is capable of, and the 'recognition' isn't always given.

This is only my 'been there, done that' advice. Stay out of it if at all possible.
The band director knows what he's looking for in the players he wants in his band.
If they have 'test anxiety' how will they handle solo performance in front of an audiance or at an ajudicated Festival?
Your daughter knows what is expected of her if she wants to get into the top band.
Our job is only to encourage our child to perform the best they can on that given day.
Some days they soar, others... Well, we hold them close and wipe away the tears.

I hate to say it, but once in a while a director will hold a kid back just a little to see how they will deal with it.
Does the player get angry and quit? Do they accept the decision and only work hard enough to stay where they are? Or, do they dig in and work harder?
If your daughter can show that she's willing to dig in during class time, and has a little bit of difficulty with the audition process I would hope that the director would recognize the effort and give her the opportunity to move up.

Give her a HUGE hug, ask for only her personal best, and let her know that no matter what the outcome is you still think she's AMAZING.
 

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If he places her in the jazz lab her final year I am pretty sure she will drop the class...
I hope that's not the case, but if it is... she can always start her own band. Some of the best musicians I know were never in high school band, or quit because of a director they despised. Not taking sides here, but quitting high school band does not necessarily mean quitting music.
 

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I too would encourage your daughter to do what it takes to have the director hear her best efforts at improvisation. That said, I am certain that this would not be the only criterion upon which students are selected for the top band. Sight reading, ability to play different styles, tone quality, intonation, and leadership also are very important qualities for members of a good ensemble to have.

Unfortunately some years there are so many exceptional students vying for the 5 saxophone chairs in the top jazz ensemble, that some very good players who would be selected in an average year don't make it. Your support for your daughter should be commended in any event. Here's wishing she does her best.
 

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"Every audition is a gig and every gig is an audition."

Please forgive the following but I've never felt like I was doing anyone a service when they ask for an opinion if I am not candid. I feel for your daughter, but how is she going to play excellent solos on a concert with many people watching and listening to her every note, if she can't play a good audition in a familiar surrounding? I'm afraid I don't see the connection that if she can play a good solo at home or with her private teacher, and send that recording to her band teacher, that it means that she'll play a good solo when the rubber meets the road. I don't mean to seem unsympathetic, but IMO the one doesn't guarantee the other and I wouldn't be surprised if the band teacher sees it that way.

You write that she had basically "tanked" her auditions for the last three years. I would have to ask what might have been done in that three year period to address this problem with auditions? Seems like something her private teacher could have easily addressed.

Many of us have probably had something that didn't come through like we wanted and hoped for as a fitting end to our high school years and this can be a real disappointment - happened to me so I sympathise completely with your daughter. Despite what I wrote, if I were you, I'd follow through on some of the excellent suggestions above. "Never say die." But speaking as a band director, I wanted to pass along to you some thoughts that might be going through her band teacher's mind, as well. And I would also have to raise the question, if I put her into one of the slots after the fact, who do I send packing after they had already passed the audition and been promised a seat?

Best of luck to your daughter. They are so precious . . . and they grow up so quickly. ;-)
 

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I hope that's not the case, but if it is... she can always start her own band. Some of the best musicians I know were never in high school band, or quit because of a director they despised. Not taking sides here, but quitting high school band does not necessarily mean quitting music.
That is a good way of looking at it. It sounds to me like she loves music but partly hates music in high school. Or at least there is something about that situation which makes her anxious when she plays. If she doesn't make this band it doesn't mean she should quit music or think she has no talent for it. Paradoxically, if the auditions meant less to her she would probably play better. I think the root of her difficulties here is psychological - it's the kind of thing that could fix itself in an instant (eg when playing outside of HS) or take years of grinding away until the nerves are so familiar she can almost make friends with them. Ultimately, it is up to her. All you can do is support her whatever happens.
 

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hi again - so my daughter had her audition for jazz band for her senior year this fall. she texted me with a few well chosen expletives basically saying she did not do too well.
she's been in a love/hate relationship so to speak with the band teacher. Sometimes he says "great solo" and other times just ignores her. She has basically tanked all her auditions the past three years. Some people just don't test well. And this appears to be a problem with her. But it's done now.
She's been in a jazz lab class the past years, a 2nd tier jazz class. Solos are barely 8 bars or so, nothing to build with, half is lost from applause from the previous solo so there is not much to learn from this. She can solo if given the proper opportunity.
She auditioned for jazz band which is structured to have longer, more developed solos. She has never had the opportunity to play for him anything longer than a 2-3 minute audition in a row of 20 or so kids, and the songs from the jazz lab class.
She has been practicing and recording herself on quicktime.
She was thinking of, and her teacher also approved, sending an email to her teacher, one of per practice videos showing her soloing for an extended period of time so he can hear what she really can do and possibly offer a bit of explanation if she sees fit.
Trying to not be a meddling father so I'm going to try and stay out of it.
This is her last year and she wants this band and I think is willing to sort of break the rules by submitting extra material for the teacher to consider. I don't know if anyone else has done it before so I'm not sure if its proper, but she really wants to get the teacher to hear her. She's thinking of going for broke with this option.
If he places her in the jazz lab her final year I am pretty sure she will drop the class so there is not a lot to lose and a lot to gain if she clears the air with the teacher.
I really don't know how to say this without sounding like a jerk butttt....Why isn't it your daughter here asking for advise, now hear me out, and I mean his kindly, for at least 5 years or more you have been here and before that on AMS trying to get advise for your daughter and about fighting her battles for her. There are plenty of other kids and teachers here that would be happy to help her. Believe me I totally understand your desire for the best for her but maybe it's time to back off and let her work it out, she'll have to do that soon enough in college, she needs to know how, and in the long run that's what's best for her. Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
lemme know when you figure out how to deal with teenagers..... Actually I have not fought any battles for her. I'm only here for suggestions, ideas.. I have never stepped in between her and her school teacher, nor do I intend to. Looking for options, ideas, that other people with more experience in the field may have. Then I can at least have a brainstorming discussion with her with ideas that we may not have thought of. Not much more to it than that.
Maybe I care too much? Fine with me. Better than not doing anything at all.

I really don't know how to say this without sounding like a jerk butttt....Why isn't it your daughter here asking for advise, now hear me out, and I mean his kindly, for at least 5 years or more you have been here and before that on AMS trying to get advise for your daughter and about fighting her battles for her. There are plenty of other kids and teachers here that would be happy to help her. Believe me I totally understand your desire for the best for her but maybe it's time to back off and let her work it out, she'll have to do that soon enough in college, she needs to know how, and in the long run that's what's best for her. Just my .02
 

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First I agree with Gary. If she can't take the pressure in an audition, how can she be expected to take the pressure in performance? Playing under pressure is part of being a performing musician. It's not about what you can do in a practice room, it's about what you can do on stage. It's not about what you can do only at certain times, it's about what you can do all the time.

Are these bands set instrumentation wise? Is it like a big band with only 5 saxes? And these bands have already been picked, right? If so, you're basically asking the director to kick a kid out of the top band so your daughter can take his/her slot. I doubt the director would do that and if he did, that would be a very crappy thing to do to a kid who apparently did better on their audition than your daughter.

That said, I am certain that this would not be the only criterion upon which students are selected for the top band. Sight reading, ability to play different styles, tone quality, intonation, and leadership also are very important qualities for members of a good ensemble to have.
Agreed here too. Improv isn't everything when playing with a large jazz ensemble. Even if you're one of the predominant soloists in the group, 95%+ of what you're doing is NOT soloing. If your daughter did get into the band, she's probably be playing bari or 2nd alto/tenor. If the solos typically come from the lead players, as a director I'd rather have someone that plays in time, in tune, dynamically, and with good tone playing in those chairs than a good soloist who lacks those qualities. It's about knowing your role and it happens in the real world. You don't necessarily hire a great soloist when what you're looking for is a great section player. It's up to the musician to try to be both. I'm not saying your daughter doesn't fit that mold, but maybe improv isn't the most important thing for this situation.

I believe that at the University of North Texas, the first round of auditions doesn't even include improvisation. That kind of shows you where their priorities are.
 

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As stated already I think because a big part of the audition process is to see who can perform best under pressure and I don't think the teacher would even consider a recording done in the comfort of your own home, it's irrelevant. I agree with Grumps, she should get together with whoever she can and start her own band to help get over her performance anxiety before college. At least she'll have that for her resume rather than "I didn't make it so I quit jazz lab."
 

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The reason we have kids play sports and take music lessons is to learn life lessons. You have to take into account: Are there kids better than her in the cue? If so, it doesn't matter what her objective skills are. This scenario is analogous to the kid who thinks he should be starting or playing varsity on the school sports teams but is not getting the respect from the coach that he/she/parents feel they should. Oldest strory in the world. Regardles of how you handle it, alot of mindsets and attitudes will be established by how she approaches it, and how she assesses herself in regards to it.
 

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I had the same problem with my kid. I played in a band with the band director, and had to draw the line many times between what we did together and what he did with my son. I would ask what the boy could do to improve, and what the failures were. I couldn't teach the boy becuase, like most kids, taking lessons from dad is not too cool. In the end, my son made some life decisions that don't include music. It was tough to swallow, as I am consumed with music. But I had to recognize that he is not. Finally my dad told me that my job was not to make my son a musician, but to expose him to the possibility of music and let him make his own decisions.
 

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As she will be going into her final year, and she really wants to play in jazz band, I'd say talk to the band director. I have an open line of communication with my kids band director, I do not meddle, but there is nothing wrong with seeking their advice and council. Playing an audition and playing a solo are two different issues altogether. I suck at interviews but am great at my job, I see no harm in showing the band director the video. You just need to be open, calm and non-combative. If there are better players in jazz band, she has to accept that and live with it. I think if the band director sees that she is committed, and is better than her audition, he may give her a shot. Most band directors are decent enough to give a senior a chance in their final year. I say any kid, if they truly love something that they do, should be encouraged and be included wherever possible, especially when it comes to the arts.
 

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Has she practiced doing auditions much? My daughter wasn't good at them when she started, but she would take every audition she could just to practice doing them, and now is much better at them. At every county and all-district band audition, she'd audition on two instruments just for practice. She always did better on the second audition, regardless of which instrument it was. Also, I don't agree that if a student isn't good at auditions, they will have trouble performing. Mine has always performed very well. I think a lot of it is just practice.
 

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hi again - so my daughter had her audition for jazz band for her senior year this fall. she texted me with a few well chosen expletives basically saying she did not do too well.
she's been in a love/hate relationship so to speak with the band teacher. Sometimes he says "great solo" and other times just ignores her. She has basically tanked all her auditions the past three years. Some people just don't test well. And this appears to be a problem with her. But it's done now.
She's been in a jazz lab class the past years, a 2nd tier jazz class. Solos are barely 8 bars or so, nothing to build with, half is lost from applause from the previous solo so there is not much to learn from this. She can solo if given the proper opportunity.
She auditioned for jazz band which is structured to have longer, more developed solos. She has never had the opportunity to play for him anything longer than a 2-3 minute audition in a row of 20 or so kids, and the songs from the jazz lab class.
She has been practicing and recording herself on quicktime.
She was thinking of, and her teacher also approved, sending an email to her teacher, one of per practice videos showing her soloing for an extended period of time so he can hear what she really can do and possibly offer a bit of explanation if she sees fit.
Trying to not be a meddling father so I'm going to try and stay out of it.
This is her last year and she wants this band and I think is willing to sort of break the rules by submitting extra material for the teacher to consider. I don't know if anyone else has done it before so I'm not sure if its proper, but she really wants to get the teacher to hear her. She's thinking of going for broke with this option.
If he places her in the jazz lab her final year I am pretty sure she will drop the class so there is not a lot to lose and a lot to gain if she clears the air with the teacher.
Hi, thought I'd put my $.02 in sense you and I are in similar positions. All three of my children play instruments and my expectation from them is to put forth effort, as I do with really any endeavor they choose.

My oldest is a sophomore, and he had similar problems as your are describing with your daughter. Here's the issue, your daughter isn't as good as you think she is. You (and me as well) hear her play at her best and we understand what she is capable of doing, and your like, "If only...."

The problem is that is the same with all of the kids. You hear the other kids play and you forget that they are not at their best either, so you automatically go, "Well, my Daughter can play better than that!" Music is the same as with any athletic endeavor. I was a lousy musician as a young man, but I was a good athlete, and I understood that I would really never play 100% of my ability in front of people like I could when there was no pressure present to succeed, like right here RIGHT NOW! Nerves never helps someone play better, it always brings you down from your best, and sometimes can turn you into a groveling idiot. The more someone plays in front of people the better it gets, the less you drop off, and eventually good musicians become really comfortable in front of people and actually feed off of the crowd's energy.

I recognized this with my Son as a Freshman. He practiced more than the average kid and could out-play them in his room with ease:mrgreen: But when the pressure was put-on he tended to make mistakes that he didn't normally make. I then also realized another feature of being a Dad, that I tended to focus on this times at home when he played really well, and loose sight of his bad practice sessions. When I did this I realized that they boy wasn't really as good as I thought he was. He had a good foundation, but he needed to bring his practicing up a notch to really excel. I was just looking at his practice numbers (we track the # of hours he practices at home), and since October of last year he's logged nearly 330 hrs at home practicing, and it made huge changes in his ability to not only play difficult material, but play it in front of an audience:
https://soundcloud.com/wwjdwithca%2Fmy-favorite-things
That recording he played like three times with that particular backing track that did not 100% match the music that he played from (Coltrane transcription), and the soprano obviously is not his primary instrument. None-the-less you get the idea. He worked on the Coltrane transcription for probably 20 hrs! And if he wanted it prime-time he would need to scrub it for another 30!

I heard a guy say once that to master an instrument, truly master it at a global level it takes 27 years of developing ones skill. He said this from studying all of the greats around the world and how long it took them.

During the summer my Son now will be practicing 3 hours/day. It's made all the difference in the world from a player that was good, to a player that is excellent.

Oh, and he has private lessons with a teacher that directs a high quality HS jazz band, and has a degree in Jazz Theory. He needs more direction than I can provide and his private lesson teacher does just that.

Good luck:mrgreen:
 

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I don't know about the high school teacher, but I would definitely reconsider anyone who has sufficient desire to go the extra mile.

I would much rather have a highly motivated person in my band than a proficient player that could care less about the band.
Absolutely! And I'll step out on a limb here and say that 99% of truly aspiring musicians are disappointed with their last solo and can't wait for the next. As soon as you fall in love with your playing, you cease to grow. I am still an aspiring musician after 30+ years in the biz, and last nights solo's were not my best. Can't wait for today's festival gig to try it again. There are fleeting moments when you feel you've hit it out of the park, but mostly (If you're lucky) you move from one growing experience to the other. I applaud your daughters efforts - If I were a teacher, I'd be impressed at the motivation, no matter how she plays. The "extra mile" means more to me than the music itself because it hints at the passion behind the effort. Musicians can improve. People obsessed with success in any endeavor are always good folks to invest in - be it time or money.
 
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