How to deal?

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shortandsilly

How to deal?

Post by shortandsilly » Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:36 pm

Ohkay, so I am a sophomore in highschool. We had a chairtest in about..November and we had a competition last week. I got first chair in this past chairtest and there are five seniors. My school is somewhat big on the seniority so the second chair flute [senior] got to play the piccolo and sit first until competition because piccolo always sits first. Now that competition is over with though we are working on our spring concert which doesn't have any piccolo parts in it and I want to sit in the chair that I feel I deserve. I haven't got to sit in it once this whole year. Today was the first rehearsal we started practicing for the spring concert and when I went to set my stuff down I asked her if she was going to play piccolo. {nobody ever plays picc during spring concert..} She said she didn't know and once again I sat SECOND CHAIR. Anyway, I don't know how to deal with this. I really really feel like I deserve the chair I got...she doesn't even plan on taking band in college and it is what I want to do with my life. I work harder than anyone in the section and I would just like to sit in the seat that I earned. I don't know how to go about this because she is a senior and has already flipped out on me once. I talked to the co-band director today about it and he told me that she probably wouldn't move [senior-itis] and to take it the head band director. But I don't want to cause any drama. How should I handle this? I was really looking forward to sitting in my chair today and it completely crushed me when I didn't get to...AGAIN. Should I just wait until next year? =(

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Post by fluteguy18 » Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:20 pm

well... you could bring it up with the head band director, because she [the senior] probably wont sit second chair if you just talk to her about it. So, I would take it up with your head band director. He/ she will make the call. But, I wouldnt be surprised if the senior still sits there anyway [because it IS her last year].


I know that things shouldnt be that way, but they are. I have had piccolo parts taken away from me in honors bands because I was a guy, and the director thought a girl should play it... not a guy. So, politics do play into a situation like this unfortunately. If she does end up sitting there anyway, then just keep in mind that you will have that spot next year for sure.

Besides, once you get to being a college music major, nothing you did in high school matters that much anyway .

So, bring it up with your band director. Dont sound desperate, or over confident or arrogant, but ask in a genuinely concerned manner. Perhaps the two of you will have to comprimise. Alternate solos, etc. etc.

Best of luck

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Post by flutepicc06 » Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:55 pm

I have to disagree slightly with Fluteguy on this one. It doesn't really matter what chair you're sitting in, so I would advise you not to risk causing problems within the section. It's much easier to make music with other members of the band when you trust them and vice versa, so no reason to cause unnecessary drama. Besides, you already know you earned the chair, so who sits in which place shouldn't really matter...You've already been ackowledged as the top flutist in the group (at least based on that audition). I know it seems important now, but in the long run, no one cares at all who sat first chair in their sophomore year of high school and who didn't. And as Fluteguy pointed out, when she's gone next year, you're pretty looking at taking her place (barring a particularly talented freshman or someone who suddenly becomes very motivated to improve).

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Post by FLflutist » Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:16 pm

I undestand completely where you're commiing from, I'm in almost the same EXACT situation... I'm a Sophmore in High school as well.

I had this long drawn out post typed out about my situation... but then I reread what flutepicc06 said and I totally 100% agree...

It actually makes me feel better about myself as well :D

As for Fluteguy, I can understand where you're comming from too... being the only guy in the flute section pretty much sucks...

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Post by fluteguy18 » Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:48 am

flutepicc06 wrote:I have to disagree slightly with Fluteguy on this one. It doesn't really matter what chair you're sitting in, so I would advise you not to risk causing problems within the section. It's much easier to make music with other members of the band when you trust them and vice versa, so no reason to cause unnecessary drama. Besides, you already know you earned the chair, so who sits in which place shouldn't really matter...You've already been ackowledged as the top flutist in the group (at least based on that audition). I know it seems important now, but in the long run, no one cares at all who sat first chair in their sophomore year of high school and who didn't. And as Fluteguy pointed out, when she's gone next year, you're pretty looking at taking her place (barring a particularly talented freshman or someone who suddenly becomes very motivated to improve).

I agree completely. I guess I forgot to mention only to do what I advised if it meant that much to the original poster. The OP would be much better off not causing drama whatsoever. Besides, the senior that will be sitting in 1st chair still knows that you [OP] are actually first chair, and will remember that during concert season regardless of what happens.

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Post by Claiken » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:24 am

my high school band didnt have 'chairs' or section leaders, technically. i was generally the best because I was a senior and the only one actually taking lessons/caring about my tone/technique. But I never was officially first chair. I got over it. I knew I was, thats all that mattered to me. I actually preferred sitting on the far right end of the row, that way I can play straight without having to worry about someone next to me taking my space up or banging into them with my flute. im not sure where first chair normally goes, but thats where I liked to sit.
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Post by FLflutist » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:47 pm

I've seen it vary in bands... in the band at my school, the first chair flute sits next to the oboe... who sits next to the first and second clarinet players.

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Post by fluteguy18 » Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:41 pm

I have seen it vary as well.

Sometimes furthest on the left, sometimes furthest on the right, sometimes next to the oboe or clarinet. I have even played in ensembles where the oboes were in the second row with the bassoons, and the piccolo sat beside the oboes by themself....

Sometimes [if the whole section is the front row] the principal players [1st part and second part] will be the two center most players....


There are a lot of different arrangements.

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Wow!

Post by Buttercup » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:39 am

I find this topic intriguing, I have never come across "first chair, second chair" in a band in my life. I suppose the band culture is more competitive in the USA than in the UK, but I've played in some pretty good bands and it's never been a problem. You generally get a strong player who's section leader, but they couldn't care less whether they sit on the end or not! In fact, I would never dream of playing the picc in any seat other than the end, in consideration of my poor section-mates' ears!!!

shortandsilly

Post by shortandsilly » Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:39 pm

my situation is changing day-by-day. But my situation today is- they were distributing/talking about solos and all the seniors get one and another sophomore gets one [seniors conduct songs and if they want someone to play a certain solo they have control]. Anyway, all the seniors have a solo and one senior has two and I don't get one. My band director isn't really so picky about all of this and doesn't really care. Today after class the seniors asked me if I minded letting them all sit in the front row as a senior row and me sitting in the second row. Being that I really didn't have a choice because they were going do it anyway, I gave it up. I am kind of hoping that one of the directors will notice that not only am I sitting on the back row but I don't have a single solo...and maybe they will fix that. If not, there is nothing I can do about it. =(

good news----> I am picking up sax [soon] because my school is starting a jazz band program.

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Post by fluteguy18 » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:06 pm

Well, my only advice is that you have a defined line at where you stand on defending yourself, and letting people push you around. Even if you dont take action now, at least have this line of how flexible you are with people set for the future.

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Post by fluttiegurl » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:32 pm

shortandsilly,

I have been reading about your delima and definately feel for you in many ways. When I was in high school, I was first chair as a sophmore as well. To be honest, the worst part of the ordeal was when I was second my freshman year :shock: . Our band was run quite differently, but I remember that I did not always get the credit or solos I deserved because of seniority. After a while, I just dealt with it, but I did learn a few things. First, any band program with a long tradition of seniority or any other such concept will not be easily changed. This is how it is and fair or not, it is an expected norm. Me senior year, I realized how important it was to those juniors and seniors who came before me and I would have been upset if a freshman or sophmore was allowed the privilidges that those before me had. Second, I learned that none of this mattered. Those experiences made me work harder. When it was all done, I was the only one who continued playing after high school. Third, I realized that high school is stressful enough wihtout added stress I put on myself and that life truly is not always going to be fair. Yes, I was first chair, and was extremely proud of that fact, but none of the solos I played, or the competitions I won matter now. What matters is how I applied that knowledge and ability in college and in my professional career.

I teach many high school students. Often, several are from the same school. I absolutely DREAD chair test time because I know that someone will not be recognized for what he/she has done, or someone will get upset over the results. Often times, it is the later that I deal with. When it is all said and done, none of this changes who these players are or how talented they are. First or last, the main thing is that they still love what they do and they continue to play for that reason.

I hope none this sounded too rude. I feel like I am in the midst of one of my "pep talks" that my students zone out on. Just keep your head up, keep working as hard as you can, and realize that even though this is a very unfair situation, you will get your chance. Obviously, you are a dedicated player and spend a great deal of time becomming better. You will eventually get your chance to shine, and then you can move on to bigger and better things :D

Enjoy the sax!! Jazz band is a lot of fun! Unfortunately, I did not get to experience this until I became an adult. What I would have given to have this chance in high school . . . sigh :wink:

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Post by fluteguy18 » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:26 pm

very VERY insightful words fluttiegurl

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Post by sidekicker » Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:37 am

Good advice so far. I'll tack something else on here, together with my own experiences.

I, too, was the perpetual first-chair throughout my band years. And the late-70s/early-80s were quite unfriendly to boys who played the flute and people (both male and female) who did not come from money or status (when I was still a kid my grandmother purchased the professional flute I still play on to this day); especially in the deep south where I grew up. I know all too well what the mixture of high school politics and adult ambition can do to one's psyche.

The way I found out of it all was to immerse myself in the art of playing. I did this by first getting a wonderful private teacher and focusing on my lessons instead of all the drivel of high school band life. Even though I was always first chair, band eventually meant nothing to me because I was accomplishing so much more outside of it. It also became much, much easier to play in band because I knew my scales and arpeggios frontwards and backwards and could pretty much sightread perfectly anything put on the music stand. It wasn't long before I was able to see band as just a playing opportunity each day. I didn't really learn all that much music-wise, but it did allow me the chance to play in an ensemble and hone other skills like playing in tune and following a conductor (two very important things if you want to pursue a career on this instrument).

I don't mean to understate your hurt and frustration; it is definitely there and many of us here know what that type of hostility and tension feels like. But I can absolutely promise you that the day you graduate from all that will be the last time you have to deal with it on that particular level. And you will return to your high school reunion some day and not recognize those people as the ones you used to sit with :-).

There will be college politics as well, but you will be dealing with people operating on a more adult level (which you are probably at right now) and it will be somewhat easier. There will also be a different form of it in the professional field once you get there. It would be wrong of me not to tell you that there is intense competition and sometimes very awful (and, frankly, just weird) people who end up in the field of professional music. It can be very challenging, no doubt. But if you are grounded in your own abilities, try to compete only with yourself, make a concerted effort to reduce conflict if you can, and continue to work hard you will come out ahead and be less bothered by this stuff (or not bothered at all).

Stay strong and good luck to you.

SK

shortandsilly

Post by shortandsilly » Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:57 pm

wow, thank you guys all so much for the advice. It has really helped me to feel better. Ever since all of this happened I have kind of been in a "I'm not good at anything..sigh" type of slump and frankly that just isn't the type of person I am. I am not usually arrogant either though. Even though I do, along with those not good enough feelings, also have feelings that mean this is my punishment for playing too much for the glory of myself and not for the band or for the sake of music. Whether that is true or not, who knows. Yesterday one of the freshmen in my section also said something that really meant a lot to me...it made me want to cry. She told me that she looked up to me as a flutist and that I was probably the best one in our town, now given the second part is very very undoubtedly false...it was nice to hear that someone was watching ME and admired the one thing that I admire so much. As for everything that involves this whole seniority thing...I really don't think they will [fully] get away with it. The way that they distributed solos was not fair...and that is in no way a whiny opinion, it just is not how the band does it. The rule is that whichever senior is conducting the piece chooses who the soloist is, otherwise the first chair gets it and if the first chair already has a solo, the second chair gets it and so on and so on. The reason this has any significance? One of my best friends is conducting a piece and kind of got tricked into solo giving. She asked one of the [less friendly] seniors who normally gets the solos and the senior stated the second and third chairs' names. That is partially true..but not any more true than myself usually getting one. Anyway, my friend brought it up to me yesterday and said that she didn't mean that she wanted the third chair person to get the solo..she just meant out of the second and third that she would rather the third get it. So she forced me to tell my mellow dramatic situation. [she didn't really force me..i just knew she would understand] Anyway, she was pretty upset and felt that it was wrong and said that since the third chair flutist already had two other solos that she was going to talk to her. Anyway, whether I get the solo or not...most of the people I have told didn't think any of this was right because there are plenty of exceptions to seniority throughout the band right now. Regardless...I still have my heart prepared for the undesired and I am still pressing on to deal with it in the right way. It is hard however for sooo many reasons. But I know that I am a good player and I love playing more than any other activity in the world. I am just going to keep working on my music and keep checking back with you guys for your guidance. I am sorry I have been such a whiny baby. Believe it or not I am Christian... as badly as I am representing that to you guys right now...and I have been reading the book Job and listening to him whine for about thirty chapters...I have been quite a bit like him..though I am trying so hard not to be. You all are so right when you say none of this will matter after high school. I am just hoping so bad that the fact sinks in and only helps me to be graceful in handling this and my disappointment. I appreciate you all so very much and I am sure if there are any changes you will be the firsts to know.

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