Page 1 of 1
Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:22 pm
I spent my first season teching at my old high school this past summer and loved every minute of it - I improved the playing abilities of the kids and learned a whole lot from all of it. I've recently been offered a spot teching for one of my friends (band director) one town over, but there's a catch - it's a rougher part of town, and there's a lot of respect issues between students and the director (be it money, or background, or whatever really, I believe the reasons aren't really relevant).
All that said, does anyone have any advice on how to earn the respect of the students? I know full well that I won't be able to just walk in with a met and have them play 8's - this is a non-reading, show-band influenced group. My first thought was to try and earn their respect by showing my personal playing abilities, but I can see that backfiring;
Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:10 am
Perhaps the Band Director can give you more insights on why those issues exist so you can develop a game plan.
In the absence of any other information, I think you should bring a lot of passion for the activity, and a lot of enthusiasm. Starting fresh in a new environment is always tough because there will be a sense of them trying to figure out what you're all about. That may come across as disrespectful, but its actually just teenagers. Remember... you are the one who wants to work with them, its not necessarily the other way around.
Be honest with them about why you're there, and why you want to be doing it, but try to avoid the "I heard you could use some help"... it makes you look pompous and could be interpreted as disrespectful.
If the technical skill and general interest is lacking, then be prepared with some basic beats that are fun. If you can show them some little grooves that they can have fun with right out of the gate, then they will take a shining to you faster. Even if they can't read or count, just going from instrument to instrument demonstrating with a lead-and-respond format is a win for you. It gives them something to do and concentrate on which is fun and cool (that is the "hook" after all!) but in stealth mode it allows you to show that you actually know what you're talking about. You may find that there is more skill there than you thought.
More than anything, take your time, and just chip away at it over the long haul. You can't save the world in one day, so don't try. If you came from an established culture that you are comfortable with, then adjusting to a new culture can be difficult. There will likely be students there that you just won't be able to reach. Ditto for parents. It will likely take several years before you really see the impact, so be patient!
Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:19 am
I like the "lead-response" idea a lot - and I think everything else you said is totally true. I'll put that info to good use. Thanks!