My thoughts and out loud thoughts on composition, performance, and many things musical.

In Defense of the Arts & Expanding Consciousness: A Rant.

If you care about furthering education, the performing arts, and generally supporting peoples’ goals and dreams, stick around.

Speaking for myself I can name every person who has ever supported my education and goals. They weren’t always interested in what I did, but they supported me. They were the people that said, “Hey if it makes you happy then go for it.”

As an advocate for education for the generations beneath us, I must say we should always strive to prepare them for success better. There are lot of individuals and groups out there who are doing great jobs already.

With anything, it should be everyone’s priority to live and act in a certain way that will not only

better themselves but also better humanity.

I’m not suggesting everyone should prioritize creating some monumental action or school of thought that will have a noticeable quantifiable effect. I’m suggesting you continue to do what works for you and your family, but also try greeting people. Say hello. Smile. Shake hands. If someone did a good job at something, let them know. If they did a bad job at something, offer advice or point them in the direction of advice. If that person takes offense fret not, because with hindsight they’ll realize you were only being supportive.

Just conduct yourself in such a way that does not sacrifice who you are, but also that

reminds people to focus on staying positive.

That, in turn, will lead them to try to succeed with the things they love.

And make no mistake, I’m ALL FOR tough love. There is a place for hard discipline, a place for stern education, a place for friendly discussion, and a place for nurturing. The point is to act on all of these with a premise and goal of genuine care and help in mind.

Joe, what are you talking about? Get to the point!

Annandale High School football coach Mike Scott interrupted the half-time program of his school’s marching band last Friday, attempting to force the band off the field before their performance was finished…Image

According to plenty of online articles, one in particular being this one, the football coach stopped the band’s performance. Taken right out of a proclamatory, pseudo-anthem rallying PG-13 rated movie, this is a story of moral bullying by someone in charge of young persons. Those young persons have dreams and goals, dreams and goals that should be supported.

MAYBE the rules of the game beckoned that the band needed to be off the field to avoid a 15 yard penalty and MAYBE there are others at fault. MAYBE a coach is a professional, in title and pay, and should have an inkling of desire to shape the minds of youth positively. MAYBE demonstrating professionalism to all people in sight should be something one wants to do.

I encourage you to find the story(ies) yourself and formulate your own opinion. I certainly hope that opinion is one that finds this coach to be “part of the problem.”

Perhaps in a world where consumerism, materialism, and greed are at constant highs, the trickle-down effect occurs and seeps into the individual ethics and morals we live by. I could go on, and on, and on about why “winning doesn’t really matter” or “let’s support dream and peace and love maaaan. Yeaaah!”

I can formulate arguments for & against for statements like that. But that doesn’t matter.

There are answers for every side. What core question should be present in all of these ideas or situations is, “Can someone benefit from this?” And the working definition for “benefit” should be “something that allows an individual or group of people to positively effect or change another individual or group.” (Or something pay-it-forward-esque like that…)

**Halfway through typing this I’ve just realized I know the band director of Annadale High School, Adam Hilkert.**

Now I’m more upset.

I was fortunate, as a high schooler, to have viewed support from all the staff, coaches, and all school personnel for every group. Coaches loved the band, music directors loved the sports teams, students supported each other, etc. Of course there are always a few who don’t grasp the idea of, “Well he/she enjoys doing that. Good for them.” THAT’S ALL WE’RE ASKING FOR.

Those people who don’t get that, are the ones who, in some way, big or small, aren’t doing anything good for humanity. They’re not leaving a legacy. They’re not leaving something for history. They’re just ticking clocks, numbered, personae of no worth; dead weight and over-consumers, they’re easily forgettable.

From a relatable standpoint, as a military musician, I can say that the military does a good job of mirroring (morally and ethically) what the outside world should act like. (I’m really talking about “support” and “camaraderie”. Easy does it, anti-war rallyers and fearmongerers: your rant is for any place else [and is totally pedantic…]. You don’t have to support the military, just support humanity.)

The military members, programs, and authorities support each other’s jobs. As a military musician (and this especially relates to having been a high school band member–a title that carries a stigma thanks to American Pie and other mindless droned productions…eh whatever–I laughed at the movie too, I guess) I am fully aware there are perhaps more jokes reserved for someone “in the band.” Though most of the time I’ve been on the receiving end of the jokes, they’re lighthearted and in the spirit of team. But I was also the athlete–I participated heavily in both athletics and performing arts. Jokes were sent right back, and support at the end of the day ensued.

Military colleagues of mine who are not in the band have my back, and I have theirs. We understand each other’s roles at the end of the day. After understanding and accepting each other from a humanistic platform, we also realize we could be next to each other fighting an enemy, defending each other any day.

Let me wrap this up.

Coach Mike Scott is apparently great at his job. The numbers are up, the town loves the team. That’s fantastic. Winning and promoting school and community camaraderie is a must in furthering humanity in a positive direction and backing education. A successful coach plays a vital role in that atmosphere.

In my imagination I like to believe the football players under this coach were upset with him for treating their fellow high school pals in the band like unimportant, easily dismissed, “numbers” on the field. (but maybe…)

But it is people like you, Coach Mike Scott of Annadale High School, who appear before us just another number. You should be supporting anyone underneath you, be it directly or indirectly.

You either do not realize your actions are more than just a “middle-finger” to a group of growing learners and acted ignorantly because of, perhaps, living a lifestyle that caters to fashionable consumerism, gated thinking, and limited consciousness


you are actually a good, reliable, in-favor-of-education, affable coach who is passionate about football (like your athletes are and the band is of music) and at least once had someone support your dreams and goals, who just had a grumpy day. And made a mistake.

I hope you just had a bad day.


3 responses

  1. Excellent piece Joe! You and I seem to be cut from the same fabric when it comes to our passion for music education and the arts. I really hope they do give these kids the respect they deserve. And thank YOU for your service in the military!

    November 20, 2013 at 4:32 am

  2. Katie K

    I love your thoughts, Joe!

    November 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm

  3. beth jones

    Ummm- the guy is 8-32 over 4 seasons, so apparently he’s not over-acheiving at coaching. And still no sign an apology has been actually made by Coach Scott either. Maybe he’s just an incredibly immature former high school quarterback and locker room bully who’s a legend in his own mind. THAT would not be uncommon among hs coaches.

    November 21, 2013 at 11:57 am

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