You see the post now I would like to say why I decided to post this.  We have all noticed in the past decade a significant drop in our bands.  However in the past 4 years, Ive noticed a decrease in size and quality of our bands as a whole and its NATIONWIDE... yes I said it...


I saw a few bands this year and I am both bothered and scared.  When I see the bands in Atlanta significantly smaller (including SWD) as well as bands in New Orleans struggling, I feel a sense of urgency should be called.  Now this post is in no way intended to call any bands weak or say you guys are not good because I know we are all doing the best we can with what we have BUT I do see this thing getting worse every year.


Here in Houston, every black band is on life support, including the ones in the suburbs.  The hispanic schools are hanging in there but the decline has started because of the lack of support for them.  So in this case of urgency Im throwing out the question too not only directors but to students and parents as well:


What are WE going to do to fix this epidemic of dying bands?


Will it start at Home?  Will us parents motivate our students to play music in schools?  Will we send our kids to the inner city schools or will we send em to the suburbs? 

Will the music majors in college try to get these elementary and middle school jobs instead of focusing on the high schools?  If you graduate college and get a high school with no feeder and you dont have a middle school connection, you just killed the program. 

Will us band directors be willing to work double duty to recruit kids like old school directors did?  I remember Mr. Gerald Stewart at Smiley would come to my damn house if I missed band practice.

Will wealthy entertainers start to sponsor our programs financially? (yeah right)

Will students be dedicated to THEIR OWN BAND and stop being wishy washy and trying to change schools every year to be in the most popular band. 


Sorry the post is so long but I just wanna see where our heads are.  Regardless of the outcome we are all in this together, it doesnt matter what city, neighborhood or what school it is.  We are all struggling.


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  • It needs to start with the Parent/Guardian support. If these have no motivation to do anything at home, what makes us think that they can hang with a marching band???? MY pathetic right now. It has gotton to the point that its more negitive peer pressure than anything. Like i parental support. so they look for it in their friends. IMO all these was judged off of BOTBs some years now a days base their decision on BOTB results. If that band didn't place first, in their mind...that was not the place to be. But then they got lazy the past few years and stopped coming to practice, would give up easily when Alumni of that band program comes back and tells them how sorry they are and talk for hours how it used to be....instead of helping them get better.


    Stop going soft on these kids, they want the attention!!! so give them the attention of extra running or something similar. Make them work just get on their instrument, especially PERCUSSION!!!! tell them that they must learn Fight Song, Alma Matar, Star Spangled Banner and their 12 major scales/40 rudiments. make them earn their music!

    I'll continue later...

  • I totally feel you on this topic. I am scared to see the future of black marching bands. I went to a high school game here in Mississippi and the band was 30 band members deep thats with middle school band members included marching with them. Programs once who were over 100 deep easliy in my era the 90s are now half that size or smaller now. It starts in elementary and middle school with recruitment of these young kids. I know these kids love for music hasn't died it's just not being expressed in terms of band. My love for band got me into college and also gave me an identity in middle and high school. Band directors and muscians period need to go to the school and educate them on the benefits of picking up a musicial instrument by putting on clinics and camps for them. That will show these kids that band is cool and it can provide a future and open doors for them. With budget cuts it's up to band booster clubs to go hard with fund raisers and events to get band funding up. The majortiy of schools districts aren't funding music programs as they once did when I grew up, so now it's just up to parents, booster clubs and bandheads in general to raise money on their own for the schools. If band directors and band lovers don't stand up it for these programs the future doesn't look good at all for schools and this will hit and hurt the hbcu bands programs ultimately killing them if we don't do something.
  • 1. Definitely lack of parental support. When I was in middle school, our concerts used to be packed with parents coming to see their children perform. Now I have parents not bringing their students to the performances because they don't feel like driving to the school because it is only a middle school band. If the parents don't show in interest in what their child is doing, eventually the children are going to lose interest in it. With as many students as I have, the gym should be packed with parents, especially with all of the advertising I do around the school and on the net. Don't even get me started on practices.


    2. Something has really happened to the mindset of these students. It is like they want instant results on everything. They have no patience. When you are learning a new instrument, it is going to take time to develop the skills necessary to play songs that they hear on the radio. If they don't hit the note on their first try, they want to quit. Not to mention everyone wants to be an NFL and NBA superstar or a rapper.


    3. Need for feeder schools. I think Glen Oaks, Istrouma, and Scotlandville all don't have a true feeder system. I do think that is going to change in the near future because EBR is converting an elementary school to a middle school due to overcrowding at the other middle schools. This should provide one of those schools with a true feeder school.

    • That said it in a nut shell right there
  • The problem i see for us and for everyone who depends on the government is that those days r numbered! During this new day n America, government welfare is no longer a luxury for Americans. That includes medicade, welfare, 501c3's, music n skools etc etc...the government cant afford it anymore. If u want to exist...u will hav to provide the means to do so. End of story!

    Some communities, like the one here in Fulton County Ga are taking matters into their own hands and seeking funding frm outside sources. I suggest if u want ur program to thrive that u do the same!
  • The bands have indeed been getting weaker.  I believe the problem started when music was taken out of the elementary and secondary schools.  A lot of students never get to play an instrument until high school, and there is only so much you can learn at that point.  Most of the activity is to get ready for the next performance.  I was shocked when a band director friend of mine said he had students in the band that couldn't read music.  How is that even possible??
  • How do we fix OUR bands?
    • really it starts at the elem and middle school levels. our #s have been declining each year because we have no feeder! we get kids in but many of them want to play the "snap" drum lol... my new principal is proposing a plan for me to go to each of my feeder schools and start a band program so if that works thats one fix but it wont solve everybody's problem... we must find a way to get attention on this matter.  we need parents to speak up for what we need. just like them teachers rallied in austin, tx and other places because of budget cuts etc.. we need them to get behind our music programs and demand they do not shut them down. they dont shut down the football programs and the team could lose every game.. get my drift?  we must come together and figure this out asap because if not its the death of all of us! i could care less about battling at this point i just want kids to teach! my kids cant even go on the field just yet because we are too busy training beginners and dont have the #s to even get a decent line on the field! wth!  sorry for the long post but this is past horrible! these college bands will start to feel the pinch as well if we dont act now!
  • I think the colleges are already feeling it in Texas.  TSU is getting smaller by the year and PV although theyre still doing a good job are averaging 100 students less than 10 years ago.  Southern, Jackson, FAMU and Norfolk are really the only ones holding strong but you can hear and see a difference in their playing, demeanor and attitude than a decade ago. 


    Im real disappointed this subject isnt full of posts yet.  I bet if I asked who smashed on who saturday, it would be full.



  • If you guys are serious about the solution hit me up and let's set a meeting. I have it all on paper and we tried to make it happen when Rod Paige was in Office but he went to Washington....Inbox me.
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