Monday, May 13, 2013


This year I've kept a running series of posts on Facebook entitled #banddirectorproblems. Yes, I used a hash tag on Facebook but it'll be ok. I've said all along that at the end of the school year I would compile them into a single blog post. At last, the time has arrived! Here is a years worth of posts about the life of a high school band director. Some of them show the frustrations of teaching music. Some are humorous. A few are even heart warning. If you are a band director, or heck any persuasion of teacher, feel free to share your own experiences in the comment section. 

Band director problems

"Mr. Felkel, my instrument is missing." Walk to shelf. Find it slid all the way to the back. "Is this your flute?" "Where did you find it, I promise I looked EVERYWHERE?" Sigh. #banddirectorproblems

Teaching triplets first thing on a Monday morning right before Christmas break. #banddirectorproblems

So #banddirectorproblems has its first fan! I'm almost a trend setter. Whoo!!

"Mr. Felkel, can I have your number?"
"Sure, it's 867-5309."
Wait, no that's what makes the job worth doing.

"Mr. Felkel, my fingers are stuck under my valves." 
Face palm 

9:00 outdoor performance in 32 degree weather? Of course! I'd love to show up just to play the Star Spangled Banner for your shin dig! 

One, two, one, two, three, four. Beeeeep. 
"I need so and so to the office please."
Sigh. #banddirectorproblems

Teaching the fundamentals of tuning. To a student trying to figure out if he is flat or sharp. 
"When in doubt, pull out."
Class erupts into scandalous laughter. Sigh. 

"Mr. F, I can't get the notes on my Sax to sound right."
Have student play notes and then look at their reed just to have spit pour over my hand. 

Me the first day of band. 
"In music we only use 7 letters A-G. That's it. Just those 7."
Kid today five months later. 
"Mr. F, what letters aren't used as notes?"

@SFelkel: Looking up to see that your tenor sax player has jammed a baritone mouthpiece into his instrument. #banddirectorproblems

Student, while holding up his tenor sax, "Mr. F, there mold on it!"

"Mr. Felkel, so and so got his fingers stuck in his valves again!"
Face palm. 

Headed to Denham Springs for our first ever Winterguard competition with a truck full of guard girls. Too early for this much pep and talk of eyelashes. 

"Mr. Felkel, my bass isn't working." 
Go turn volume knob up on said bass. 
"Oh, I forgot about that."
Face palm. 

Just spent a half hour with a metronome cranked to 11 blaring out 120 beats per minute in my ear. 

Six months of teaching band just to look up and see your trumpet player thinks every note is first valve. 

"Ok class, what's our dynamic?"
"Metro Forte!"

"My mom is making me quit band because of my grades. She doesn't want me distracted from studying by band."
Yep. Making your kid quit a subject that every study shows improves math, language arts, and discipline will definitely improve their grades. Sigh. 

No kid, I'm not bipolar, you just piss me off when you claim to know your part and its clear you don't have a clue. 

While listening to a judges comments:
Student "can I track this guy down and give him a 'surprise adoption'?"

I have found the best way to frustrate an entire class of band students. Just stop talking and give them all their instructions by sign. 

"Mr. Felkel my saxophone won't play!"
"Ok, show me."
Student proceeds to try to play saxophone with zero air going through it. After said student turns red we look inside the saxophone to find a cleaner still inside. Sigh.

Student: Mr Felkel, I don't understand why it's Ab in this song but A natural in the other one. 
Me: Well, our key signature tells us whether its flat or natural. See how this song has an Ab and the other one didn't?
Student: Yes sir. But why isn't it flat in both. 
Me: They're in different keys. 
Student: I don't get it. 
Fifteen minute explanation later. Still doesn't get it. 

Me: "Ok percussion, stand up we're going from the beginning to measure 18."
Percussionist: "uhhhhhh! My butt!"
Shakes head. 

Subjecting high school students to The Breathing Gym. One of the few great things about being a band director. Yes, I am cruel. 

Finding out that your sub didn't show up for school is frustrating. Learning that your students took it upon themselves to practice and help new players get started on their instruments makes me proud. Yeah, I've got good kids. Sometimes.

I won't lie, my job is quite often frustrating and I often wonder if I'm reaching my students. But somedays the rewards make up for the stress. Having two of my students tell me that they're considering teaching music because of me is one if those rewards.

Love it when a student asks me a question and while I'm trying to answer them they start playing. 

I love standing on my podium five days before the Spring Concert and no one is paying any attention to me. Said no band director ever.

Last practice before the spring concert and 8 students are missing. That would be 1/3 of my band. Yep. Frustrated. 

Doing the math for next year and have realized that my band room won't hold the entire band. The fire Marshall is gonna have a field day with this. 
#banddirectorproblems #goodproblemstohave

No comments:

Post a Comment