Yes you have arrived at the geekiest thread alive! I’m interning as a band teacher right now in a small town in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Holy crap is this a lot of work! If you enjoyed your band teacher in school this is the thread to express thanks. I feel like I’m working 24/7 for these kids and this band program. The hours (good) band teachers put in are insane for the compensation and respect they get. Let’s celebrate our band teachers!
Man, I had the best band teacher ever. At Gainesville High Shool in Florida, Martha Stark ran our program. She was heavyset and short but fierce and loved drum and bugle core style marching and always knicked our routines from the Blue Devils. We practiced a couple of hours after school every weekday. And we were the only organization in my school, sports and otherwise, that actually won stuff. We consistently placed at the top or second in every competition we went to (and we traveled to several a year). I skipped school a lot but I never missed band. Being part of band was an amazing experience.
Sadly, Miss Stark died about ten years ago of a really nasty form of ovarian cancer. She was only 37 which (scarily enough) is the age I am now.
Bless you for going into the field! My daughter has a middle-school band teacher who is just fantastic - she loves music, she loves kids, and she’s far more interested in making sure her students fall in love with playing than in making sure they practice X number of minutes per day. She demonstrates passion for music in everything she does, and I think that attitude, more than anything else, spurs her kids on to greatness (well, middle-school level greatness, but still).
I just hope that I can do enough things to support her to make her realize how much I truly appreciate her and her program.
Because she deserves even more props than I already gave her, here’s a link to a bio of Miss Stark and a scholarship in her name.
Hmmm, she’d been at GHS for 20 years so she must have been closer to 47 than 37. I know the sponsors of the scholarships too. Linda Moorhouse was our flag and rifle corps director and Frank Wickes was the band director at the University of Florida. I used to drop acid with his son.
[ontopic] Band directors rock. Keep at it! [/ontopic]
More KUDOS! Our childrens band director is incredible! He’s helped our children fall in love with music, daily encourages them to excel in all of their classes, and was brave enough to bring 60 6th, 7th and 8th graders on a three day band blitz in three different states!!
Like many band teachers, ours was passionate for music, and he tried to instill that passion in his students.
But it was more than just teaching music and dragging through the classics. He loved all forms of music (especially jazz), and tried to introduce us to as many as possible. Sure, we could play commercially-published stuff, but more often than not, he’d have an idea for something and compose it himself, writing out all the parts for us. I can still recall him directing us in his compositions (which were pretty good), saying things like, “It should be schmaltzier, trombones,” or “Make it crisper, trumpets!”
We worked hard but we had a lot of fun too. Certainly, I have fond memories, and I’ve used what I learned in band class to teach myself a few instruments, and to enjoy making music as a hobby.
Never got the chance to thank him, but better late than never: Thanks, Mr. Dow, for your dedication, your perseverance, and your lessons.