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I'm in 8th Grade and my parents are making me go to Early College High School, which does not have a band. I really enjoy band and I really don't want to give it up, but I'd like to have the benefits of going to ECHS. Any advice on making a decision? (P.S. I know somebody who goes there and I only hear horror stories from them. )

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Dina’s Answer

Hi,

It doesn't seem like you need to choose one interest over the other. The key thing here is to find a way you can do BOTH: (I) attend ECHS where you would "like to have the benefits" and (2) still play in a band which you "really enjoy."

Both can be accomplished if you are willing to put in the time and effort. In your particular case, I suggest attending ECHS as this is already supported by your family and you already see its value -- and then, thinking a bit more out of the box with regards to how you can also play in a band. Is there a volunteer band in the town, village or city you live in that you can join? Can you form your own band with like-minded students? Can you spend your summer vacation at a camp for music? Can you study during the week and focus your weekends and/or evenings on perfecting your instrument? Prioritizing two things (school studies and music making) requires more discipline and effort over just focusing on one thing -- but the good news is that it can be done. Many musicians balance music and a "day job" or a performance career and a family, etc. Pursuing the arts typically takes more determination and work than pursuing more conventional careers but it's worth it! I wish you the very best in your pursuit of your passions!

Dina recommends the following next steps:

Attend ECHS and keep an open mind as to what that experience will be like.
Find/Google volunteer bands in your area and contact/audition for them.
Find a local paper, community board, Facebook group etc to find local bands and musicians and reach out to them to audition or form a new group
Visit a nearby music school and check their notice boards for auditions
Attend concerts and try to meet/network with the performers/directors
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Jyoti’s Answer

Hi Alexis, I, too, was in band during 8th grade and can understand your passions and enjoyment of being a band member. Early College High School programs have been a tremendous help for many students in preparation for success in college and achieving future career goals. So, although it certainly must feel devastating to lose a fun and special activity with classmates, it sounds like your parents only want what’s best for you. Perhaps you can still join in with your classmates during their after school practices? Or when you start the ECHS year maybe you can start a band club at that school with other music-minded students? Having hobbies outside of academic courses is extremely valued by college admissions boards so I would encourage you to keep it up. It could also help with scholarships to college!

Jyoti recommends the following next steps:

Work with your parents to see how you could develop a band at the ECHS.
Ask your district high school principal or band instructor if you can join in after school practices.
Ask your 8th grade buddies to see if they’d want to start a small band on your own, like a garage band, so you can keep up your skills, stay together, and have fun in a creative space.
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Timothy’s Answer

Well if they're making you there isn't much you can do about the decision, but you can make sure that you stay dedicated to your instrument and pursuit of music. If you practice enough they might see how much you care about it and reconsider their decision.

Why are these other adults trying to remind you that your parents are best at making decisions for you and hopefully you'll see what they're doing 'in your best interest'? You're a kid with emotions, you're not going to and frankly shouldn't see the upside of being forced to do something you don't want to. Negative experiences exist because something bad happened, not because people like to irrationally lower someone's expectations so that things 'aren't as bad as they seem.' The ECHS sounds awful, so find something that you can control that will make you happy.

Timothy recommends the following next steps:

Do not listen to the other answers.
Look up some bands your parents may have liked when they were your age.
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Kim’s Answer

Alexis,

What are your career aspirations, or, do you have no idea yet? (which, is perfectly okay!).

Try to keep an open-mind about the school, and not let the horror stories give you pre-conceived notions. If you enter the school expecting it to be bad, you will find something bad about it to dislike! When you go through life looking for good, it makes you feel better about yourself and the whole world around you. Yes, expect the work to be hard. Expect the teachers to be demanding. You will have to find your own "happy." I would do that in English or Foreign Language class, writing essays on really bizarre stuff (but keeping within the parameters of the assignment).

If your parents want you to go, it doesn't sound like you will have much choice. Sorry 'bout that. I hope you find it's not as bad as expect it to be. And, it will put you ahead academically, which, in the long run, I hope you will some day be able to appreciate. You are at a tough age! Wishing you the best!

Kim


Thank you for your advice. I will take it into consideration. Alexis Y.

You don't have to do that- 'some day appreciate' means disagreeing with your parents decisions for years and finally getting over it. That will lead to a bunch of other conflicts. And you shouldn't need career aspirations yet- you play because you either love it or you love spending time with friends, that's all you need. Timothy Angell

She isn't talking about school; she's talking about band. Would you like to discuss this somewhere other than the comment board? Timothy Angell

actually, she is talking about both, and, I had clicked to delete comment rather than post it. not sure what happened! trying again. Kim Igleheart

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Ronald’s Answer

First, don't listen to the horror stories - people like to exaggerate their woes so they feel better about themselves. Look at it as an opportunity. Second, music is cool, but you do not need to be in band to develop your talent and enjoy it. You can do this in any school, even ECHS. Last (and in this case perhaps least) your parents are looking out for your long term interest, as they have been around for a few years more than you, and while they might not completely understand what drives you, they really do want the best for you. That said, you are your own person, and will need to make the decisions that are best for you. If after considering everything you decide that ECHS is not right for you, then you need to let your parents know this and why. They will understand and while they may still pressure you to go, in the end they will do what they see as best for you.

Ronald recommends the following next steps:

Consider your options, regardless of what others say
Weigh the benefits of ECHS versus the down-side of not having a band
consider options to pursue music even though the ECHS has no band
Talk to your parents and tell them how you feel and what you believe to be in your best interest
Do what is best for you in the long-term

Thank you for giving the best options to look through, I hope you are doing well. Alexis Y.

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