Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Overcoming Obstacles

Today's post is about remember my smart funny handsome Marching Band Boy...

Sonshine who is a junior this year wants to go to Texas A&M to study architecture. Which is awesome. However we can't afford to send him there. We've told him if he wants to go for four years, he's got to get a full ride. In order to do that, he's got to lean on his band laurels such as they are.

He's a good player. The band director has said so and she's not one to just flatter kids to their parents. If Sonshine practiced, he could be better. A lot better.

One of the obstacles Sonshine has to overcome in the next year is the change in band directors. The current band director is retiring. The problem is, apparently, the school district hasn't hired a new one. We thought they had and just haven't introduced him or her to the kids, but Sonshine no longer thinks that's the case. He now thinks it's one of the helpers the band director has utilized this past year and according to Sonshine this guy doesn't do anything.

So going into his senior year, Sonshine has a new band director--one that has been given no time to prep and plan for the upcoming year. usually by now, the show music for next year's UIL contest has been chosen. The kids have heard it. Band camps are scheduled for the summer so the kids can learn not only the music but some marching choreography--and how not to trip over each other in the process. Usually by the first game of the school year, our kids know at least a couple of movements to their music and have their marching uniforms when a lot of schools don't. Next year...not so much. The district is really screwing us over. Our school has enough disadvantages and obstacles as it is.

So all of that to say, Sonshine is going to be on his own this year to a large degree. I told him yesterday that if he wants a scholarship then A) he's going to have to get it through band, which means he has to be in band in college and I don't think he was planning on that; B) he's going to have to practice on his own A LOT this year. If the band director ends up not being up-to-par, it's going to be up to him to keep up and improve his skills; and he's going to have take on a new instrument...

An advantage of playing for a small band is sometimes you get asked to try other instruments. His primary instrument is the trumpet, but he's also played the baritone (looks like a small tuba) and the mellophone (the marching French horn. He thought about going for the sousaphone (that's the marching tuba, that's round in shape that the players have to 'wear' and that sports a really huge bell) for marching season, but with all the other changes, he's going to stick with the mellophone. Anyway, being flexible and being proficient on more than one instrument can only work to his advantage. Not only did he participate in marching band, but he's also participated in symphonic and jazz band. Though I'm sure a lot of kids do too.

Obviously there are other things he has to do to earn a scholarship, like keep his grades up and earn good/great SAT and/or ACT scores, but I think the band thing is going to be the biggest key. That and getting everything applied for and taken on time.


I'm putting a lot on him, because if he wants this, then he's got to step up. Unfortunately, his dad and I have never really put a lot of pressure on him, so it's going to be a learning experience for all of us.

I'm going to have to overcome a few things as well. Like putting it all on him and forgetting about it. I'll have to follow up, day after day, nagging and being the strict mom I have never been. It's going to be a tough year.


Regina Richards said...

My oldest will be a senior at A&M this fall. He loves it! It's a great school and well worth the effort to make it happen. I'd be happy to share what I know about the whole process. See you Saturday.

Jen FitzGerald said...

Oh, thanks Regina!!! That's so kind of you.

Unknown said...

Sounds like you all have an intense school year coming up--hopefully it won't be as bad as expected!

Clover Autrey said...

Sounds like he's going to have a lot of responsibility, never a bad thing.

Don't forget to apply for fafsa. You'd be surprised at who can qualify, even if it is for a small amount, that always helps on top of scholarships.