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Would You Rather

Trey Reely | November 2012

    Band directors face many dilemmas. Sometimes the difference between two alternatives is negligible, but at other times it may be vast. Unfortunately, sometimes neither choice is preferable. Here is a list of some choices to ponder. Some may be simple and others impossible.

Would you rather have a former band director or a former coach as your principal?

Would you rather listen to a bad oboe recital or a bad violin recital?

Would you rather have an undependable yet immensely talented first chair trumpet player or a mediocre yet immensely dependable first chair trumpet player?

Would you rather march in the rain or march in the snow?

Would you rather march in a Christmas parade or an Independence Day parade?

Would you rather perform a Sousa march or Fillmore march?

Would you rather have a bad horn player or no horn player?

Would you rather have an equipment truck breakdown or a mental breakdown?

Would you rather meet with your principal or stick a needle in your eye?

Would you rather perform a contest show titled Primordial Soup or one titled Elvis!?

Would you rather teach beginners or high school players?

Would you rather conduct the Marine Band or the New York Philharmonic?

Would you rather have a tuba player quit or a clarinet player quit?

Would you rather spend a day with Mozart or Beethoven?

Would you rather conduct with a baton or without one?

Would you rather have a band with great technique but poor tone quality or poor technique and great tone?

Would you rather watch Mr. Holland’s Opus or Drumline? Drumline or The Music Man? The Music Man or American Pie?

Would you rather listen to 10 straight hours of Kenny G or Phillip Glass?

Would you rather love your job and get paid $30,000 or hate it and make $60,000?

Would you rather have your band star in a reality show or a soap opera? A drama or a comedy?

Would you rather pull a stuck mouthpiece or trim a reed?

Would you rather have a superintendent visit your rehearsal or not?

Would you rather sell hand-crafted toilet plungers or monogrammed Bermuda shorts?

Would you rather drink a bottle of valve oil or spread cork grease all over your lips?

Would you rather sit in a teachers’ meeting or be lashed 50 times with a saxophone neckstrap?

Would you rather administer a standardized test or be dropped from the football press box?

Would you rather have your school’s football team lose a state semifinal game or not make the playoffs at all?

Would you rather have your whole trumpet section puff out their cheeks like Dizzy Gillespie and play like Dizzy Gillespie or have the whole section play everything up an octave like Maynard Ferguson?

Would you rather play a clarinet like Richard Stoltzman or a guitar like Jimi Hendrix?

Would you rather be trapped in an hour-long conversation with the most boring band parent you have ever met or have your head used as a bass drum?

Would you rather hear your drummer play rock style or Latin style three hours a day for a month?

Would you rather hear your band play “Louie Louie” or “The Horse?”

Would you rather have the football fans watch your band at halftime or buy food from the band concession stand?

Would you rather be referred to by the students as Commandant or Maestro? Your Majesty or Sensei?

Would you rather fight the head football coach or the cheerleading sponsor to the death?

Would you rather have a tattoo of John Philip Sousa or Kurt Cobain on your right arm?

Would you rather drive a school bus full of band kids or get a root canal?

Would you rather hear studio applause whenever you enter the room or have everyone bow respectfully?

Would you rather watch a one-week marathon of The Andy Griffith Show or Glee?

Would you rather spend six hours at parent-teacher conferences or six hours working at a concession stand?

Would you rather have your band play at a homecoming bonfire or be thrown into a bonfire?

Would you rather be a famous virtuoso on an instrument or a famous band or orchestra director?

Would you rather have your band guest conducted by William Revelli or Arturo Toscanini? Lindsey Lohan or Justin Bieber?

    Feel free to ask other band directors for their answers to these dilemmas if you are ever at a convention or other gathering of band directors and there is that rare moment when the conversation grinds to a halt. Or if you teach a band methods class, use them to stimulate interesting debate.