Reply To: Tired of being a Pep Band…need to vent…need advice
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It sounds like you’re in a tough situation and the school and community don’t necessarily value music for music’s sake. Your ideas are right on, but they obviously don’t mesh with the thoughts of your principal. You’re probably going to have to appease him for a little while and play that music that you play for football games- it can work for marching. Do what you need to do to make things work at school, and do the best you can for the marching competitions. Your reputation in your school is much more important in the short term than your reputation as a marching band instructor. Your role with change within the school over time, but it can be very frustrating to begin with.
As far as the special education students go, I’m assuming these are students with no band experience. Do they have severe disabilities? I’d keep talking to your special ed staff, guidance department, and principal about keeping band a “experience necessary” class. We can’t let anyone that wants to bang on drums into class- special education or not. They don’t stick students who have no Spanish experience into an upper-level Spanish class. . . or I hope they don’t. See if there’s any way to schedule time for them to come in during a different time, where they have the opportunity to explore sound and music at their own level. I’ve seen schools that schedule special classes (and performances) for students with severe disabilities, and this allows them to have a more appropriate experience. If this isn’t possible, could you assist the special ed teachers in planning and teaching their own sound exploration class?
Things will get better, but it will take time. The second year is almost harder than the first- you know more about what is expected of you and you start to have great ideas about what your group COULD do (or at least I did). Stick it out, and things will happen for you. . . or you move on.