SHORT STORY: Jerk music teacher

So a couple of years ago my school recruited a new music teacher to replace our beloved music teacher Mr.Nelson. That year I was not signed up for music because I frankly didn’t need another class. And so, a year passed while he was there. Another thing to mention is that I thought he was a star studed teacher but boy, I was wrong. So this year I start hearing that he is doing so pretty jerky things, like cutting my poor friend Ronnie, a drummer, from the ensemble because he couldn't play one song in enough time, and to add on, Ronnie had to beg him to let him play drums in the band in the first place because he originally planned to not have them in the ensemble. Among other things I also heard he was a classical music elitist. The day I found that out the jazz band was out playing in front of the gym, and the kit was open so I decided to jam out to some rock beats with Ronnie. So the teacher, who just happened to be standing next to the kit. So when I start playing, he says "whoa, don't break the drum heads" and then Ronnie tells him I'm a rock and metal drummer. And what he said next made me realize that everything that people had told me about him was true, he said "Ah rock, the genere of music that requires the least skill and finesse, the nuclear bomb of music." So I'm sitting here on the drum throne thinking, "Excuse me, you are a conductor, you can wave your hands around and tell people what to do. Who the hell are you to critique my playing and my genre of music." After that I told my friends what had happened they filled me in on even more jerky things he did. I currently still go to the same school and he is still there. I could go on about what else he has done, but for the sake of time and the length of this post, I'm not.
 
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Also just to mention, a lot of teachers are not fans of him either, especially the dean of students, who has called him to her office multiple times.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I mean this in the kindest way possible.

In your teens, you will come to the realization that almost everyone is some sort of idiot.

It's not until your twenties that you come to the realization that it also includes you.

You need to learn to navigate the maelstrom of humanity without letting it get you down. Learn etiquette and diplomacy (how to stroke the egos of others) in order to get what you want. Learn to build social and physical barriers to insulate you from the riff-raff. Take comfort in friends and family. Like riding the tides.... Try not to get hung up on meaningless BS.... unlike your music teacher at state school.
 

lsits

Gold Member
Welcome to "The Way Things Are". You're going to find a lot of "jerks" along your path as a musician. Be advised: you're not going to be able to change their minds. All you can do is to adapt your response in order to remain in the band for the next couple of years. or quit. I personally think that the experience of playing in the high school band is worth having to put up with a "jerk".
 
Welcome to "The Way Things Are". You're going to find a lot of "jerks" along your path as a musician. Be advised: you're not going to be able to change their minds. All you can do is to adapt your response in order to remain in the band for the next couple of years. or quit. I personally think that the experience of playing in the high school band is worth having to put up with a "jerk".
Oh I wasn't playing in the band but my friends were and from their word he is not to nice. My point was this guy is a jerk to a lot of people, in or out his class, including teachers.
 
I mean this in the kindest way possible.

In your teens, you will come to the realization that almost everyone is some sort of idiot.

It's not until your twenties that you come to the realization that it also includes you.

You need to learn to navigate the maelstrom of humanity without letting it get you down. Learn etiquette and diplomacy (how to stroke the egos of others) in order to get what you want. Learn to build social and physical barriers to insulate you from the riff-raff. Take comfort in friends and family. Like riding the tides.... Try not to get hung up on meaningless BS.... unlike your music teacher at state school.
Sound advice I will try to take. I think what I can take away from this to be a better guy than that music teacher. Thanks.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Sound advice I will try to take. I think what I can take away from this to be a better guy than that music teacher. Thanks.
That's exactly it. Think of it as one of many learning experiences along your path. The path is lined with morons and douchebags, learning to navigate and not get stuck in their hole is a skill not easily acquired, but once you get it their opinions become meaningless. Just do you, and be the best you possible. People will notice, and guess who will succeed? Not the morons and douchebags.
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
I mean this in the kindest way possible.

In your teens, you will come to the realization that almost everyone is some sort of idiot.

It's not until your twenties that you come to the realization that it also includes you.

You need to learn to navigate the maelstrom of humanity without letting it get you down. Learn etiquette and diplomacy (how to stroke the egos of others) in order to get what you want. Learn to build social and physical barriers to insulate you from the riff-raff. Take comfort in friends and family. Like riding the tides.... Try not to get hung up on meaningless BS.... unlike your music teacher at state school.
This is perfection, eloquent and to the point.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I mean this in the kindest way possible.

In your teens, you will come to the realization that almost everyone is some sort of idiot.

It's not until your twenties that you come to the realization that it also includes you.

You need to learn to navigate the maelstrom of humanity without letting it get you down. Learn etiquette and diplomacy (how to stroke the egos of others) in order to get what you want. Learn to build social and physical barriers to insulate you from the riff-raff. Take comfort in friends and family. Like riding the tides.... Try not to get hung up on meaningless BS.... unlike your music teacher at state school.
KamaK, I think you just became the Dr. Phil of this forum. Very, very well stated.

SuperUltra, respect is always a two way street. Don't let anyone else's shortcomings define who you are. You will always have people in your life that disagree with you: band members, producers, and if you make a living out of drumming long enough, music critics. How you respond to them--or choose when it is wise to be silent--will make you the
type of individual and musician that others admire professionally and want to be around.

I would venture in another decade or so if you sat down with this music teacher and you both openly shared your life stories and struggles you would likely find more common ground than you could imagine.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I find that people aren't good or bad, they are good and bad. Just like 1 magnet has 2 opposite poles, so do we. Can't separate a magnet into 2 poles, so negativity or whatever you want to call it is very essential for this thing we call life. So it has to be accepted and handled.

Playing with other people is both the best thing and the worst thing about playing with others.
 
KamaK, I think you just became the Dr. Phil of this forum. Very, very well stated.

SuperUltra, respect is always a two way street. Don't let anyone else's shortcomings define who you are. You will always have people in your life that disagree with you: band members, producers, and if you make a living out of drumming long enough, music critics. How you respond to them--or choose when it is wise to be silent--will make you the
type of individual and musician that others admire professionally and want to be around.

I would venture in another decade or so if you sat down with this music teacher and you both openly shared your life stories and struggles you would likely find more common ground than you could imagine.
This guy got a lot of respect from his students (I was lucky enough to not be in it this year) and he was still pretty mean. I'm sure he has his struggles, but thats for him to deal with. He has made a bad impression on his students and his boss and also fellow teachers and came of as an autocratic maniac, an egomaniac, and an elitist. I'm sure he is nice if you get to know him, but right now he is not trying to change his image from that. My point is I'm sure he is nice if you get to know him, but no one wants to because of the negative image he has made for himself. As for the rest of what you said, very well put.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
He’s right about rock music. Jazz requires far more finesse and musicality. Just because he’s a jerk doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Some of the best players in the business are/were complete assholes, at least some of the time. Buddy Rich was famous for his verbal abuse of his band.

I am speaking as a trained classical percussionist when I say this, though—classical percussion is no place to learn your percussion chops. It’s a good place to learn listening skills, blending your sound, and playing softly. But it is terrible for gaining speed and control. Ironically, metal drummers are leading the pack on speed and control these days. And you can tell that conductor I said all that. In fact, please do. LOL I’ve dealt with a lot of jerk conductors in my day, and I know how to cut them down to size.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
This guy got a lot of respect from his students (I was lucky enough to not be in it this year) and he was still pretty mean. I'm sure he has his struggles, but thats for him to deal with. He has made a bad impression on his students and his boss and also fellow teachers and came of as an autocratic maniac, an egomaniac, and an elitist. I'm sure he is nice if you get to know him, but right now he is not trying to change his image from that. My point is I'm sure he is nice if you get to know him, but no one wants to because of the negative image he has made for himself. As for the rest of what you said, very well put.
My youngest daughter went through a very similar situation with her percussion instructor so I totally get where you're coming from.

Everyone also needs to vent every now and then to a trustworthy source. When it comes to the internet we all probably need to think twice and type once (or not type at all).
Once something is on the internet it's there to stay.

You seem to be very teachable judging by your responses here. Looking forward to hearing more posts from you.
 
My youngest daughter went through a very similar situation with her percussion instructor so I totally get where you're coming from.

Everyone also needs to vent every now and then to a trustworthy source. When it comes to the internet we all probably need to think twice and type once (or not type at all).
Once something is on the internet it's there to stay.

You seem to be very teachable judging by your responses here. Looking forward to hearing more posts from you.
Thank you, and yes I still do have a lot to learn.
 
He’s right about rock music. Jazz requires far more finesse and musicality. Just because he’s a jerk doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Some of the best players in the business are/were complete assholes, at least some of the time. Buddy Rich was famous for his verbal abuse of his band.

I am speaking as a trained classical percussionist when I say this, though—classical percussion is no place to learn your percussion chops. It’s a good place to learn listening skills, blending your sound, and playing softly. But it is terrible for gaining speed and control. Ironically, metal drummers are leading the pack on speed and control these days. And you can tell that conductor I said all that. In fact, please do. LOL I’ve dealt with a lot of jerk conductors in my day, and I know how to cut them down to size.

Thanks for the response
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
If I may.

I’m a “band dad”. My two sons went through grades 5–12 in concert, jazz and marching bands. My daughter played in concert band grades 5–8, and then played piano (and still does).

Their middle school band director was a ex-Air Force band director. He was known as a hard-ass and was regularly sniped by parents, some even wrote letters in the local newspaper bemoaning his temperament.

When my oldest was considering that school, I quizzed the man about all this. He was very straightforward. Students were dropped from band if they showed up late, if they didn’t put in 4 hours of personal practice per week, if they didn’t have a teacher for their instrument, or if they harassed or were rude to a bandmate. No negotiation.

I signed up my son and he still holds those years as some of his most rewarding. Same with his siblings. They feared the guy, but revered him as well.

His bands traveled from Milwaukee to Orlando for band “competitions” against high schools and junior colleges. They won or placed in the top three every time. The judges at the annual Disneyworld competition were shocked that the kids were in middle school because they were so well-behaved and played so well.

Then came high school. That band director was a pure poser. The first time we met him at an open house, my older son & I could tell: he was riding on the coattails of the middle school program. This guy was never on time, didn’t care about students personal practice routines, and pandered to parents (e.g., didn’t drop a student for dropping wet paper into their french horn, put certain music on rotation ‘cuz a parent wanted it). Both my sons stayed in band ‘cuz their friends were there. But it wasn’t a period of growth or satisfaction.

The day my daughter met this high school band director, she sniffed his b.s. in a second, turned and walked away while he kept yapping about his program (I’m still proud of her about that).

My point: jerks come in different styles.
 
If I may.

I’m a “band dad”. My two sons went through grades 5–12 in concert, jazz and marching bands. My daughter played in concert band grades 5–8, and then played piano (and still does).

Their middle school band director was a ex-Air Force band director. He was known as a hard-ass and was regularly sniped by parents, some even wrote letters in the local newspaper bemoaning his temperament.

When my oldest was considering that school, I quizzed the man about all this. He was very straightforward. Students were dropped from band if they showed up late, if they didn’t put in 4 hours of personal practice per week, if they didn’t have a teacher for their instrument, or if they harassed or were rude to a bandmate. No negotiation.

I signed up my son and he still holds those years as some of his most rewarding. Same with his siblings. They feared the guy, but revered him as well.

His bands traveled from Milwaukee to Orlando for band “competitions” against high schools and junior colleges. They won or placed in the top three every time. The judges at the annual Disneyworld competition were shocked that the kids were in middle school because they were so well-behaved and played so well.

Then came high school. That band director was a pure poser. The first time we met him at an open house, my older son & I could tell: he was riding on the coattails of the middle school program. This guy was never on time, didn’t care about students personal practice routines, and pandered to parents (e.g., didn’t drop a student for dropping wet paper into their french horn, put certain music on rotation ‘cuz a parent wanted it). Both my sons stayed in band ‘cuz their friends were there. But it wasn’t a period of growth or satisfaction.

The day my daughter met this high school band director, she sniffed his b.s. in a second, turned and walked away while he kept yapping about his program (I’m still proud of her about that).

My point: jerks come in different styles.
Interesting story and great point.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
If I may.

I’m a “band dad”. My two sons went through grades 5–12 in concert, jazz and marching bands. My daughter played in concert band grades 5–8, and then played piano (and still does).

Their middle school band director was a ex-Air Force band director. He was known as a hard-ass and was regularly sniped by parents, some even wrote letters in the local newspaper bemoaning his temperament.

When my oldest was considering that school, I quizzed the man about all this. He was very straightforward. Students were dropped from band if they showed up late, if they didn’t put in 4 hours of personal practice per week, if they didn’t have a teacher for their instrument, or if they harassed or were rude to a bandmate. No negotiation.

I signed up my son and he still holds those years as some of his most rewarding. Same with his siblings. They feared the guy, but revered him as well.

His bands traveled from Milwaukee to Orlando for band “competitions” against high schools and junior colleges. They won or placed in the top three every time. The judges at the annual Disneyworld competition were shocked that the kids were in middle school because they were so well-behaved and played so well.

Then came high school. That band director was a pure poser. The first time we met him at an open house, my older son & I could tell: he was riding on the coattails of the middle school program. This guy was never on time, didn’t care about students personal practice routines, and pandered to parents (e.g., didn’t drop a student for dropping wet paper into their french horn, put certain music on rotation ‘cuz a parent wanted it). Both my sons stayed in band ‘cuz their friends were there. But it wasn’t a period of growth or satisfaction.

The day my daughter met this high school band director, she sniffed his b.s. in a second, turned and walked away while he kept yapping about his program (I’m still proud of her about that).

My point: jerks come in different styles.
I’ll take the first perceived jerk to the second any day. Nothing wrong with someone letting you know in advance what’s expected and the ramifications. Obviously your kids saw the difference too.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I’ll take the first perceived jerk to the second any day. Nothing wrong with someone letting you know in advance what’s expected and the ramifications. Obviously your kids saw the difference too.
My opinion, using the spirit of my first post, is that both of these band leaders are "some sort of idiot", each with unique traits that the OP may disagree with, and that it's the OP's job to figure out how to navigate both of them in order to accomplish his personal goals.

A lax teacher builds self reliance and initiative. An overly strict teacher builds procedural adherence. There's honestly no cause for indignation, though that might just be the "sort of idiot" I am.
 
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