Does Band a Scandal Make?

A quick blog post today, while I’m waiting for my frozen pizza to cook.

I saw this article on NPR’s Twitter feed, titled Southern Miss Band Hurls ‘Where’s Your Green Card?’ Chant at Latino Player. It’s a short article, describing a recent event at the free-throw line during the first onslaughts of March Madness. According to the article, “Rob Cassidy, who covers Kansas State for Yahoo!, was in the stands and pinned the chants on the Southern Miss band.” If I were in the crowd, I would silently be seething while this chant was happening, but the article brings up another issue beyond the chant itself, and that is the portrayal of bands in media.

As I have typically seen it, bands are brought to the public’s attention when something bad has happened. Most of us will remember the attention drawn to Florida A&M’s marching band after the death of a hazing victim, which, I might say, is a horrific event to happen in any institution. What concerns me is the image of the band that this casts in front of the eyes of the public.

Often (at least what I have noticed), if an article comes out about a teacher who sexually harasses a student, the subject area that the teacher teaches is not revealed unless that subject is music. Are we taking our love for drama in Hollywood entertainment and associating it with our music students, only because of the correlation with the performing arts?

I do not want to sound as though I am in favor of sexual harassment, violent hazing, or any other such inhuman and incomprehensible cruelties with our students. What I am excited to see is that one day, our future media will ALSO promote instrumental classroom music as a positive and essential part of our American culture and a child’s social upbringing, just as highly as we loft beautiful friendships or dinner with family.

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2 thoughts on “Does Band a Scandal Make?

  1. I’ve seen that unfortunate emphasis on the performing arts (gym too), you’re absolutely right. I can only speculate on the reasons, but sexually abusive music teachers are far too common. I’ve wondered if it’s a product of the job, or even the subject, like private lessons, or emotional connections fostered by an emotional content area. Not to generalize the MuEd population, but some pretty strange people can end up as music teachers. Maybe it’s not the media against music education, so much as music educators being in a position to behave poorly?

    • You make good points. I do think you’re right about the emotional connections. Music teachers often teach kids for every year that kid is in their school, whereas other subject areas only have those students for one year. The music teacher, also, is often at the school before and after school hours, given many students a place to gather and chat with each other (I myself was one of those kids… now I know that my band director probably wanted to kick us out and go home!). Much of the effort should be coming from the music teacher to elevate the profession.

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