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  #1  
Old 08-12-2010, 03:37 AM
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Default Educational Supplies Rant

I've said plenty of times I've joined my high school's marching band, but just in case you didn't get the memo, here it is.

This year, there are about five or so people in the battery. Five. That's two snares, a quints player, and two basses. This is puny. Embarrassingly small. So, my caption head and director have decided that the only thing battery will be used for is each section's respective feature. Then, we'll play during the percussion feature.

Did I mention that while we're not doing this, we're being part of the pit? Now, hold on, this is relevant to drumming, in a distant way. Within pit, I called the drummer's chair for all pieces when I'm not in battery. Here's a list of what the kit has right now, brought together from what the school has:
  • 1 Five-piece Pearl Forum, Bonham set-up
  • 1 Pearl brass piccolo snare
  • 1 Very low-end Pearl bass pedal
  • 1 Equally low-end Pearl hit-hat stand
  • 1 Zildjian ZBT Medium Ride
  • 1 pair of ZBT Plus hi-hats
  • 1 Verve 16" Handmade crash
  • 1 Ludwig Cymbal stand from the sixties
  • 1 Very, very old Pearl stand

One of the floor toms on the kit is actually a Ludwig. All drums have coated Ambassadors on them that are over three years old, clears on bottom that are about the same age. The throne's clamp isn't ever as tight as it needs to be, so I have to periodically re-set it to the right height. The wrap is actively coming off the drums, and the bottom hi-hat has gum wrappers glued/adhered to it. Both of the ZBT's sounds I cannot stand, and both are very heavily fully corroding into a lovely diarrhea color.

Tell me, fellow americans, how did the arts become this bad in public education?
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

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Originally Posted by Coldhardsteel View Post
Tell me, fellow americans, how did the arts become this bad in public education?
Seems to me, it's been on a downhill slide for the last 35 years.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

Sadly, that list is FAR MORE stuff than my school had 23 years ago.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

schools around here, you supply your own instrument. aside from that, you only get the choice of violin, cello and flute. that's it....

they don't teach percussion, piano, brass, woodwind or anything else outside those 3. no jazz band, no drum or horn corps, no marching band, nothing...

then they require it to graduate, you get told what you can play then get told to pay for it yourself and that you have to play it rather you like it or not.

oh yeah and it's classical only as well.....




i'm kinda thinking you got it good
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

Yeah, you might have it pretty good.

I remember back when I was in high school, I wanted to try out for percussion (I knew I wanted to play drums even back then). I was under the impression that they would teach you how to play the instrument and provide said instrument. I was wrong on both counts. Long story short, I didn't play drums until over ten years later.
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

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Originally Posted by azrae1l View Post
they don't teach percussion, piano, brass, woodwind or anything.........

no jazz band, no drum or horn corps, no marching band, nothing...
That was my experience at school.

Then again, given my academic shortcomings and time spent avoiding the place, I'm eternally greatful that music wasn't taught at school. I'd have shown little interest if it was.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

CHS, are you from a smaller school? While in college I worked as a percussion instructor for a small local school and it was kind of the same story there. I was able to talk the director into buying new heads for all the drums and a couple new cymbals of professional quality to help the group at least sound better. Maybe ask the director about new heads for the kit if that's the one you have to play. Or, if you have one of your own, perhaps just take yours for the shows and use theirs for the every day rehersals.

I am kinda saddened by some of the replys. No marching band or drum corps in highschool? That would have totally sucked. My highschool was rather big so we had 3 band classes. When it came to marching band all 3 would become one group on the field which made for a rather cool performance considering we had just shy of 300 people. My directors also treated marching band like any other sport. If you were failing 2 or more classes you couldn't perform. Our drumline was so big that we actually had to tryout to be on the field, otherwise you were put in the pit where sometimes you didn't even get to play anything.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

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My high school was rather big so we had 3 band classes.
my high school was not small, during my time there we averaged between 4000 and 5000 students. we had sports teams out the wazoo, all kinds of school clubs and all that stuff. my school encompassed 3 very large buildings each with several hundred rooms with an average of 30-40 kids per class. 3 gyms, a full size track field, 4 football fields, 2 baseball fields, 3 soccer fields a built in taco bell, mcdonalds and subway not to mention the school cafeteria it's not like i come from a small country town.

they had all this stuff you don't normally see in schools, at least not 20 years ago you didn't. yet they only had one small choir hall, mainly used by the small choir of 30 people and sometimes the orchestra. they had 3 different cheerleader squads but couldn't have percussion. they had school sponsored war reenactments but if you wanted to learn the sax tough, do it on your own time. it wasn't a question of money or interest of the students, plenty of students petitioned to have more music in the school. it was a question of what drove people to come to events, ticket sales for football games and all that. if the school could not make money from it, it had very little value to them. the football and basket ball teams got pretty much whatever they wanted but ask for stand up bass for the orchestra, nope, it would cost too much to re outfit the class to accommodate another instrument.

my senior year we tried to put together a battle of the bands and were shot down by the school because it wasn't a valid use of the school auditorium and would cost to much to run a show like that for "no profit". 3 months later the school the town over 1/4 the size of my school did that same thing, ended up taking over 2 months to go threw the entire thing, had 60 bands sign up for it and sold out every show they had and was only open to students of that school. what would ours have been like?

schools are required to have a music program but nothing says what it has to be, there is no emphasis on quality or size or curriculum or budget, just that it has to be there. so the students get stuck with accepting what's there . if you have the opportunity to play and instrument your interested in and the school supplies it, you are damn lucky even if it's a crap kit with home made cymbals and left over chop sticks from chinese day in the cafeteria. i would have killed to be able to play drums in school, instead i took on an under the table job when i was 14 to buy a violin and cello for school. learned guitar from my brother and my sister's boyfriend, learned bass from the guy across the street, could never afford a kit to learn drums.

so yeah i say consider yourself very very lucky to have what you have, at least you have something.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

Wow i can't belive how little some of your schools had in terms of provisions for drumming. We had a pretty good music program in our school, about 20 keyboards, a pearl export drum kit, about 12 computers with cubase and sibelius and just as i was leaving they were developing a music technology course as well. The teacher was a bit of a cow though! Just goes to show what can be achieved when schools actually try to put education before profits.
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:56 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

A little background:

I live in Southern Maryland, an area that's kind of like Texas, except with more trees and more understandable southern accents.

In my county, there are three high schools, one of which is placed in a town that could really only be called a post office, or a zipcode. Thirty years ago, a very large majority of my county was farmland. My school is also located in the middle of a manufactured home park, or for lack of a better word a trailer park, which houses a lot of the school's lower income bracket students and their families.

In total, my high school's marching band in the year of 2010 will have just under 60 people marching. My high school's student population generally hover between 1,000 to 1,500, maybe going between 1,500 and 2,000. And those last numbers are pretty heavy maybes.

When I started this thread, I expected a lot of replies to be "Eh, you don't have it so rough, when I was your age...", but that's kind of my point. We're not one, or two, or three decades ago. We're now, and my school has had over sixty years to develop. Maybe I'm a whiner, but I'm allowed to think that music is underfunded.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:27 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

music is defenitily underfunded, i'm pretty sure we're all in agreance on that one. i would also take it one step further and say unappreciated, underutilized, underrated and probably a few other "unders" not coming to mind right now. that was my point exactly, how a school can spend tens of thousands on football but can't fork out $2000 for a decent drum kit and cymbals i don't get. it's like they see music as a hobie go nowhere dead end activity yet running down a patch of grass with a ball will get you somewhere in life.....

thank god for those calc classes i took, now i really got a head full of garbage i can actually use in life......
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

And unfortunately, in this economy, music will continue its present course of being underfunded. The people running the institutions are saying that academically, students aren't cutting it when compared to the rest of the world, so they'll poor their money into more academics, and of course, sports because they have a demand for it.

But here in CA, there are alot of schools who are functioning without financial help from their districts. When I went to school, my parents helped start a weekend swap meet that continues to this day. At the high point that activity was generating at least $5,000 a month to pay for band expenses. It was really weird to get used to getting handed a blank check to go buy what the drumline needed, or if they needed new uniforms, write a check!

I think these schools are an exception, and it really takes a good music director to become an equally good administrator, and unfortunately, institutions make it so hard for people just to be teachers, you have to be exceptionally dedicated. When you look at what starting teachers get paid after they've deferred all their student loans to get through school, I'm not surprised most don't go the extra mile to get things going.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:40 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

Look at the newspaper (if anyone still reads them). How many pages are devoted to sports and how many pages are devoted to music. I get some consulation in seeing how many 63 year old football players are still playing compaired to 63 year old musicians doing so. Just my rant, sorry.
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Old 08-14-2010, 05:07 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

A lot of disposable classes are being dropped by schools as their budgets are cut.
Art, drama, music, phys.ed. classes in elementary school etc. The higher-ups decide what you need to be a decent part of the community. Well rounded is becoming more and more oval.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

Our education system here in England was so bad that the parents of pupils were asked to buy the books their kids needed for their schooling, then the newspapers got involved, if you bought a certain amount of papers, and vouchers then the newspaper would put X amount of money towards the books required, HOW nuts is that, the goverment cant even afford to supply the materials required to fund its own future.

Even now, if you spend an amount of money with super markets, they will give you vouchers, which then goes towards computors for yours school. What a big cop out, from the powers to be..
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:39 PM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

Geez, this makes the Australian education system actually look very good.

My high school has about 1500 students (in fact it is split over two campuses), the gear is pretty cheap but atleast the year 10-12 students take good care of their gear, we get cheap but decent kits (a Gretsh Catalina Birch and a Pearl Export), scheduled lessons and time to rehearse during lunch-time...there is a music technology class...as well as the oppurtunity to participate in yearly concerts and recording projects.

...makes me feel a grateful, but this issue definitely is pointing at how overall arts are under-funded and sport always gets the better deal.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:28 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this. I go to a high school in Maryland also and our marching band looks like it's in close to the same situation. But, there's only 3 people on marching bass, including myself, and a kid who's been playing drums for two weeks who's on snare. That's our battery for one movement of a three movement show. For the last two movements, we go into the pit. On the third movement, my brother is playing ride cymbal, china cymbal, and concert snare and I'm playing a floor tom with a head that I broke last year. That's our makeshift drum-set (Edit: we have a drum-set made of 4 different brands, but decided not to use it) Despite this, we still managed to be the #1 group 1 band in Central Maryland, #20 in the Mid-Atlantic.

We have a crap budget also, $400 for the entire year, the concert band/marching/jazz/piano/guitar/music theory teacher uses it to buy 3 cheap guitar every year. Luckily we have a ton of fundraisers at Ravens games and parents who manage to scrape up enough for buses to competitions and uniforms. The weird thing is that the school just spent $2 million for new turf on the track and our school's team sports suck (football was 0-10 in 2008, 1-9 2009). Strange that our crap sports teams win over the award winning music programs.

Wild guess, do you go to school in St Mary's county? (if not, Calvert County?)

Edit

Hate to say it, but it seems like the funding in music programs depends on how big the band is. Our 25-30 person marching band recieved higher scores than many 60-80 person bands in the area last year, we win competitions and compete in regional tournaments, but we still get little financial support compared to larger bands who have horrid music programs. We have 1 band teacher who also teaches four other types of music classes. There's no jazz or marching band classes, so we do everything afterschool. Point is, the band has to support itself. But it does make me wonder how good we'd be if the school actively funded us.

Last edited by Snare; 08-17-2010 at 04:48 AM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:38 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snare View Post
I couldn't help but laugh when I read this. I go to a high school in Maryland also and our marching band looks like it's in close to the same situation. But, there's only 3 people on marching bass, including myself, and a kid who's been playing drums for two weeks who's on snare. That's our battery for one movement of a three movement show. For the last two movements, we go into the pit. On the third movement, my brother is playing ride cymbal, china cymbal, and concert snare and I'm playing a floor tom with a head that I broke last year. That's our makeshift drum-set (Edit: we have a drum-set made of 4 different brands, but decided not to use it) Despite this, we still managed to be the #1 group 1 band in Central Maryland, #20 in the Mid-Atlantic.

We have a crap budget also, $400 for the entire year, the concert band/marching/jazz/piano/guitar/music theory teacher uses it to buy 3 cheap guitar every year. Luckily we have a ton of fundraisers at Ravens games and parents who manage to scrape up enough for buses to competitions and uniforms. The weird thing is that the school just spent $2 million for new turf on the track and our school's team sports suck (football was 0-10 in 2008, 1-9 2009). Strange that our crap sports teams win over the award winning music programs.

Wild guess, do you go to school in St Mary's county? (if not, Calvert County?)
Yes Snare, I go to school at the edge of the earth.

Oddly enough, your profile picture is my band's concert snare.

But dang, it seems like you really are worse off than us. We at least have a ton of pit stuff, of varying age and quality. I'm going to assume you're somewhere near Baltimore?
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

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Yes Snare, I go to school at the edge of the earth.

Oddly enough, your profile picture is my band's concert snare.

But dang, it seems like you really are worse off than us. We at least have a ton of pit stuff, of varying age and quality. I'm going to assume you're somewhere near Baltimore?
lol It's the picture of my school's concert snare. Yeah, my school's in Anne Arundel County.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:56 AM
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Default Re: Educational Supplies Rant

My oldest daughter is a high school band director...small school in Pennsylvania. Very low budget for the music program and she constantly has to fund raise, scrounge equipment and appeal to the School Board for adequate funds...most of the money comes from the parent's band association.

I give her any usable gear that I can...what I can find at pawn shops, what I no longer use, etc. I would strongly urge all of you to consider the same...have equipment you no longer need, no longer use...mid range stuff you have upgraded? Ask your local high school if they can use it...

Also, since here in most of America the school boards are elected...make sure determine where your board candidates lie when it comes to the arts. Make your vote count...
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