AUTHOR: Stephen Francica
When students first pick up their instruments to play, if not instructed properly, they will create bad habits. By the time the students get to the high school level, it is almost impossible to undo the habits that have been engrained in the student’s heads for so long. I know this to be true from experience. I have always puffed my cheeks when I played my trumpet. I was never corrected on it until I came to college and it has become very hard to try and fix that habit. It is the job of the director to teach the students the correct way to play, and the correct posture in which to play, and as any elementary band director will tell you this is not an easy thing to do.
But why should that responsibility fall to just the elementary directors. When I was in middle school and high school, although I played with bad posture and technique, neither of my directors told me that I was doing something wrong. I think that they should have. As the director of a band, it is our job to improve the quality of the band and the performers in the band. If the director notices that something is wrong they should bring it to the attention of the student.
With all this said, I do think that it is the job of the beginner bad director to teach and enforce the proper playing etiquette; the students will create bad habits on their own that the beginner directors may not catch. As an upper level director it is also their job to catch the bad habits if they see them. If the students do not get reminded on how to properly play their instruments, they only strengthen the bad habits that they do. As a director this only can hurt the band because you are hindering the ability and potential of your students and in doing so you hinder the band.