Should I Quit Band?
So, there's a lot of problems. My band only has about 20 people. 1 out of our four middle schools are sending up new freshmen to our band. I've also started losing interest in band. Most kids in band are either new/inexperienced, or they just don't practice, and don’t care. Most kids are just trying to get their fine arts credits for graduation. There’s no after school clubs for band, since Jazz Band was made into an actual class. There’s no marching band. All that's left is drumline and I have no interest in that. I play trumpet, and there used to be three of us, but one moved to another school, and the other has no idea what he’s doing. Basically, I'm pulling the weight for trumpets. I love being able to say that I play trumpet in band, and I really don't want to let my band and teacher down. I like having an easy class where I don’t need to worry about a grade. My band teacher also says that he could get me a scholarship, but I just got braces, which really prevents me from playing well. I don’t plan on continuing band in college if I don’t get a scholarship. If I quit band, it will help free up classes so I don't have to take summer school to catch up on credits. What are your thoughts? Will it look bad for college applications if I quit band?
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I am so sorry that the adults in your school have let you down. And I say that because they should have a steady "pipeline" from middle school feeding into the high school band program. Whoever is supposed to create that interest dropped the ball. At first I was thinking of challenging you to fix it, but then I remembered, you are very driven academically. Trying to save band would take you away from your academics.
No, it's not bad if you quit band. And, you would not be quitting "it." It is quitting you. As you described it, it is falling apart. I doubt that any scholarship your teacher could help you get would be enough to even pay for your books. If anyone asks, you could just say that the band was starting to dis-band! (bad joke, sorry!)
What year are you in? I am happy to help you whenever needed. You seem to be under a lot of pressure to make decisions and commitments - happy to help. Life sometimes gets a little hectic.
Please Google Jamey Aebersold and find the link where you can download some sample tracks that you can play along with the band. You will find many tracks where the trumpet part is muted and all you hear is the band playing in the background. Then you provide the trumpet part. I think this resource will really help you stay motivated to keep playing. Please let me know how this works out for you.
Hi Christian! First of all, congratulations for playing in a band and for playing trumpet! Not the easiest instrument.
Instead of giving you a flat out answer at first, I have a few questions for you...
- Do you enjoy playing the trumpet?
- Are you in band "only" for credit or do you love to make music?
If you answered yes to #1, then stick with it. Staying in any curriculum because you feel you "have" to is not the best reason - especially as an artist. You should decide how important playing the trumpet is to you. Try not to make decisions based on what others may think of you - this is always a trap. Stay true to yourself.
If you are only in band for the credit, or because it will "look good" on your report card, or whatever, that isn't the best reason to stick with it.
If the only determining factor for you to stick with it is if you get a scholarship, I'm guessing that the trumpet just isn't all that important to you - that you're just not "into" it. And that's fine! Only, again, be honest with yourself.
Usually, when someone is gifted on an instrument, they enjoy it and nothing stops them from pursuing their art - scholarship or not.
Being dishonest with your band teacher is not doing him/her any favors. You need to come clean with him/her and be honest about your interest, or lack thereof, in playing the trumpet and/or pursuing it as a major moving forward.
So I'm afraid I don't have a clear-cut "yes" or "no" answer for you. You must search your own soul and decide if the trumpet is for you or not. If it is, then by all means, stick with it. If it is not, then find where your real interests lie and pursue that. And if you just don't know, that is alright, too. Life takes time.
But it is always a good idea to be honest with yourself and others - in general, in life. So I encourage you to simply ask yourself if you love playing the trumpet. Or not. And go from there!
All the best to you!
Elizabeth recommends the following next steps:
If you truly enjoy playing and you are not being challenged in your band class, you should explore other outlets to play in. Depending on what kind of music you enjoy playing, you should be able to find an outlet to play in such as a youth orchestra, community band, etc. If you are truly interested in playing in college, you should start identify colleges that you are interested in, see what kind of music scholarships are offered and see what the audition requirements are and start preparing. Also, attend band festivals and solo competitions to see where you stand in comparison to others to determine if you are at a level where you will achieve college scholarships. Additionally, while in high school, many community colleges allowed high school students to take music classes and ensemble classes there for credit that may be more rewarding than your high school program.
Hi Christian, sorry to hear about your experience. I too was in band when I was in school and learned quickly that band is not for everyone, and it sure wasn’t a fit for me! What I would tell you and the advice I would give is to pursue your passions and hold firm to it. If you’re not passionate about band or playing the trumpet, which it doesn’t appear that you are based on your comments, I would recommend you find something else that appeals to you.
I would not be worried about what a college is going to think or how they will respond to you quitting band unless you are considering pursuing band at a college or university. Create tangible 1-5 year goals for yourself and write out some realistic steps on the actions you will take to accomplish those goals. I would also recommend sharing those with someone you trust who can hold you accountable.
I wish you all the best and good luck in your pursuits!