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What do the top bands do to be successful?

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What a great article on a very remarkable lady. And wow, I didn’t remember that The Woodlands was called last as a finalist in SA. I don’t recall not knowing there was a spot for them since I saw the show a few times - but not their prelims at SA. I think I missed the first 3-4 bands of prelims. That’s a lot of freshman that will get better and better. Great stuff to come! Thanks for sharing

 

The band boosters posted a video of the announcement as the last finalist:

https://www.facebook.com/twhsbandboosters/videos/1357120401090633/

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I'm going to make my second stop here to share what I have seen, but in a positive light.

 

A successful band can only keep its momentum if there is at least as much positivity as criticism. Students won't "buy in" or "trust the process" when they don't feel that they are given respect for their time and effort.  You can have an amazing show but rapport between directors and students is a key component that cannot be overlooked. Motivation and intimidation are not the same.  http://www.mikeoliveri.com/2016/06/28/motivation-vs-intimidation/

 

Successful coaches shoulder the blame when there is a loss. They do not merely point fingers. When there is a win, they give others the credit.  http://www.espn.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/061128

 

Give students and parents some ownership and choices when appropriate. Its not always convenient and viable, but do so when the  option is available. 

 

From a 3rd generation band member raising 2 4th generation band members.

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My only response to the previous post is to say that I have never, not once in eight plus years around our band, ever heard a single director or tech or parent refer to a "loss" at any time.

 

Band competitions are not about winning or losing. Somebody gets judged to be first, yes, but that is never the goal. It's all about the process of improvement and striving for excellence. Period. Nothing more.

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I like it when topics like this come back up after being dormant for a while. 

 

The biggest, most important point was made earlier....basically, stay in band.  I've been a band parent for nearly a decade now and have seen my kids in some heart-stopping, tear-inducing shows and a couple that we just would just rather forget.  They have seen great success and some of the worst disappointment they'll experience.  Through all of that, they persevered....that's where good leadership shines (directors and student leadership).

 

A bigger factor for success, though, is talent pool.  If you have 400-500 kids in your band program and are going to field a band of 250-300 kids, tryouts are serious business.  Those bands can afford to place only the best, more experienced musicians into the varsity band.  For goodness sake, Coppell has a JV band that competes at UIL....several other bands have sizeable JV bands or pep-bands.  For smaller programs, that is not the case and virtually every kid who wants to be in band is in the competition band. 

 

Please don't misunderstand my opinion as complaining and, yes, I know there are exceptions...not every successful band is a mega-program. 

 

I'm ecstatic that music programs are growing....not much bad can come from a growing music program. 

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I wish I could say that in my 12 years I hadn't either.  Until 2-3 years ago, I had not.  I would never entertain the idea of my child quitting band either (per Band_dad_of_2's post) as I feel that my experience and that of my father and grandfather gave each of us some unique skills at an earlier age than many that we could take with us into the real world.

 

 BUT....

 

There comes a time that you have to decide whether the attitude leadership is taking is the kool-aid you want your child drinking.  When a program starts to work more toward advancing adults at the cost of the band members and the band as a whole, its time to reassess. 

 

Directors can make or break a band with their attitude and their spin on results.  

 

Successful bands are the ones that are focused on the well-being and growth of the students and program more so than advancement of the adults in charge.  

My only response to the previous post is to say that I have never, not once in eight plus years around our band, ever heard a single director or tech or parent refer to a "loss" at any time.

Band competitions are not about winning or losing. Somebody gets judged to be first, yes, but that is never the goal. It's all about the process of improvement and striving for excellence. Period. Nothing more.

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I wish I could say that in my 12 years I hadn't either.  Until 2-3 years ago, I had not.  I would never entertain the idea of my child quitting band either (per Band_dad_of_2's post) as I feel that my experience and that of my father and grandfather gave each of us some unique skills at an earlier age than many that we could take with us into the real world.

 

 BUT....

 

There comes a time that you have to decide whether the attitude leadership is taking is the kool-aid you want your child drinking.  When a program starts to work more toward advancing adults at the cost of the band members and the band as a whole, its time to reassess. 

 

Directors can make or break a band with their attitude and their spin on results.  

 

Successful bands are the ones that are focused on the well-being and growth of the students and program more so than advancement of the adults in charge.  

 

 

I agree completely.  And I think that if you looked around you would find that most of the most successful bands are run by directors who fall into the former category.

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I am so glad to hear that you have experienced recently what I experienced in the past. Maybe I'm just too old school in my thinking to believe that all contests should be celebrated as learning experiences. Life is competitive enough. I love a great competition, but any adult who is using a program to move up the ranks and find fault when his or her band doesn't get first for his/her resume it makes for some rancid koolaid.

 

I agree completely.  And I think that if you looked around you would find that most of the most successful bands are run by directors who fall into the former category.

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I am so glad to hear that you have experienced recently what I experienced in the past. Maybe I'm just too old school in my thinking to believe that all contests should be celebrated as learning experiences. Life is competitive enough. I love a great competition, but any adult who is using a program to move up the ranks and find fault when his or her band doesn't get first for his/her resume it makes for some rancid koolaid.

Agree 100%

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I am so glad to hear that you have experienced recently what I experienced in the past. Maybe I'm just too old school in my thinking to believe that all contests should be celebrated as learning experiences. Life is competitive enough. I love a great competition, but any adult who is using a program to move up the ranks and find fault when his or her band doesn't get first for his/her resume it makes for some rancid koolaid.

 

I don't want to speak for samuelculper but I don't know if these contests are 100% not about winning and losing.  I'm pretty sure there are bands out there that go into a competition wanting to win and knowing they should win...I know our band has.  I want and like a band who walks into a contest with a little swagger.

 

That being said, as we all know some of the best experience these kids can get is not winning.  It hurts....but that's life.  My kids have experienced both....wondering if they would even make finals and walking into a contest knowing they were top 3 or would win.  Good comes from all of those experiences.

 

At the same time, though, I tend to follow the mantra expressed by the Oracle in The Matrix....temet nosce...."know thyself".  I've said it before in another thread that there are varying levels of success.  For the top tier bands, they expect to win and the vast majority of the time they do.  Beyond that, there are bands who, depending on the contest, see success as either winning, finishing top 5, making finals or finishing top 20.  For some, though, just going to a BOA Regional or Super Regional or the reward/success.  I see nothing wrong with any of these results...absolutely nothing!  Why?  Because the kids, directors and parents learn from each experience.

 

If you understand the competition and prepare yourself for every result, you will be fine..."win" or "lose".

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I don't want to speak for samuelculper but I don't know if these contests are 100% not about winning and losing.  I'm pretty sure there are bands out there that go into a competition wanting to win and knowing they should win...I know our band has.  I want and like a band who walks into a contest with a little swagger.

 

That being said, as we all know some of the best experience these kids can get is not winning.  It hurts....but that's life.  My kids have experienced both....wondering if they would even make finals and walking into a contest knowing they were top 3 or would win.  Good comes from all of those experiences.

 

At the same time, though, I tend to follow the mantra expressed by the Oracle in The Matrix....temet nosce...."know thyself".  I've said it before in another thread that there are varying levels of success.  For the top tier bands, they expect to win and the vast majority of the time they do.  Beyond that, there are bands who, depending on the contest, see success as either winning, finishing top 5, making finals or finishing top 20.  For some, though, just going to a BOA Regional or Super Regional or the reward/success.  I see nothing wrong with any of these results...absolutely nothing!  Why?  Because the kids, directors and parents learn from each experience.

 

If you understand the competition and prepare yourself for every result, you will be fine..."win" or "lose".

 

There is a difference between having an awareness of the likely result of a single contest and having the win or loss be THE goal.  If you are in a band where the latter is the objective, or even a primary part of the message, that is a bad place to be.  I think that is what the discussion is about here.  Everybody wants to win.  Some bands expect to win some contests or know they will challenge to win others.  Again, not what I am talking about.  I'm talking about a culture where winning or losing have the focus and drive the culture.  I would not want my kid to be there.

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There is a difference between having an awareness of the likely result of a single contest and having the win or loss be THE goal.  If you are in a band where the latter is the objective, or even a primary part of the message, that is a bad place to be.  I think that is what the discussion is about here.  Everybody wants to win.  Some bands expect to win some contests or know they will challenge to win others.  Again, not what I am talking about.  I'm talking about a culture where winning or losing have the focus and drive the culture.  I would not want my kid to be there.

 

I agree completely.  When my son was 8 (8!!) he was in a league where a coach on another team went for the kill ever time.  He ran the score up on other teams....remember, these kids are 8.

 

The next year, he drafted my son.  Needless to say, my son didn't play baseball that year....I pulled him from that team quicker than you could blink.

 

A few weeks ago, our director was talking to some parents after a finals performance.  He said "1st place, 10th place....doesn't matter.  THAT's the show we wanted to perform".  The pride he took in his kids performing well could be seen on his face.  That's what I want from a director.

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I agree completely.  When my son was 8 (8!!) he was in a league where a coach on another team went for the kill ever time.  He ran the score up on other teams....remember, these kids are 8.

 

The next year, he drafted my son.  Needless to say, my son didn't play baseball that year....I pulled him from that team quicker than you could blink.

 

A few weeks ago, our director was talking to some parents after a finals performance.  He said "1st place, 10th place....doesn't matter.  THAT's the show we wanted to perform".  The pride he took in his kids performing well could be seen on his face.  That's what I want from a director.

I agree - I have always loved the fact that our program is more about putting on a show that will be enjoyed and bring people to their feet - if it wins great - if not, it is a learning experience. to me, marching band is about being part of something bigger than yourself and making a commitment to give it your all. my freshman has been proud of every performance they put on the filed this year and I would not have it any other way 

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