June national parents newsletter

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by kpmom2011, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. kpmom2011

    kpmom2011 Member

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  2. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Yep, Captain Force is right, getting through USMMA is all about priorities and time management. So only 11 of the incoming class have indicated they are prepared to include participating in the Regimental Band as one of their priorities in the upcoming time management challenge they will be dealing with over the next four years. That is and should be their right. Further perhaps some of those who have musical abilities aren't into participating in a Marching Band that is 100% in the fashion, including the music they play, of a British Regimental Marching Band. Once again that is and should be their right.

    Further, if one can easily participate in other extra-curricular activities as well as band, and band isn't a bigger time commitment than any other activity on campus, why must the Band and only the Band live in their own company and barracks? If the coach of an NCAA Division III team is asked and is giving advice about priorities and time management to an incoming student-athlete whose high school grades had some issues, or whose SAT Math scores weren't 650+, etc. what advice would you expect/want them to give that student-athlete? After all, he's still trying to a) ensure the incoming midshipmen gets off to a good start at USMMA and maintains his/her eligibility - Division III or not the athlete must still maintain a minimum GPA. My main point is Band isn't the only extra-curricular activity on campus that has to struggle to field a "team" - they all do. The student body is ~950 and 1/2 the Juniors and Sophomores aren't on Campus; every sport or major extra-curricular activity at one time or another has to "compete" to get the minimum support and participation they require from the current regiment to "field a squad." Captain Force and Band surely aren't unique in this regard. If they are having trouble getting incoming Midshipmen to indicate a desire to participate, I'd suggest the appeal and recruiting efforts would likely be more successful if they were focused directly at the incoming PC's rather than their parents or the alumni.

    So in this latest newsletter, why is it that the Parents Association appears to be taking sides and pushing one activity over another here? When your child comes home and says they have an Academic Review Board are you going to feel comfortable telling them: "It's okay you failed two subjects and your GPA has been below minimums for the last two trimesters, just explain you're in the Band?; anymore than if we could/would finish the statement with - "just explain it was football season and you guys had your best record in three years?" To be sure participation in these sorts of activities are taken into account but in the end, I strongly believe we as parents have to support WHICHEVER of these decisions our children make as to what activities to participate in or not participate in. Further, as noted, the biggest challenge during the time you attend USMMA to getting through is time management so if our children are worried about that and are looking to prioritize from day one, is it wise we, their parents tell them what could be construed it's okay, you can probably do everything you want and still succeed? Yes, I also know, that especially during one's Plebe year, at times the only thing that keeps you sane is/are the extra-curricular activities you have to take your mind off the pressure and the endless routine.

    It seems important that as parents we support the decisions of each of our individual children's wishes as to whatever activities they want to participate in; especially when it seems they are asking advice from multiple, informed sources so they can proactively make adult decisions.
     
  3. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    JasperDog, I agree. The NPA wanted the parents to lay off of the Guest and allow them to handle it themselves, why not band? Just my thoughts.
     
  4. Texmom

    Texmom Member

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    Regimental Band

    Could it be that incoming plebes find the combination of British Regimental Marching, life in Band Co with the most uptight regc*&s at KP, the time committment, and the only barracks that lack air conditioning have anything to do with the decreased interest in band participation? My guess is that there are several musicians who would like to participate in band if it were more of a club event (CGA doesn't have trouble fielding an adequate number of musicians) without the real or perceived encumberances of the "Pride of the Regiment" :rolleyes:
     
  5. Ddcga

    Ddcga Member

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    I am not at all surprised that the Academy is having difficulty finding students wishing to be a part of the band. During my son's campus visit last fall his student host spend a tremendous amount of energy convincing him that joining Band Co. was the worst thing he could possibly do, that everyone hated the kids in the band, etc. This line of conversation continued through lunch and between classes and was so extreme that it was all he could talk about after his visit.

    This overall attitude and perception definitely tainted his opinion of the Academy. He left campus and didn't even want to talk about his experience there for several days. It resulted in him seriously questioning his decision to even apply to USMMA since participating in band in college is of the utmost importance to him. It took much convincing and encouragement to change his mind about application. I'm sure the Academy is aware that this attitude towards the band exists but I wanted to share my son's experience. I find it very strange and somewhat discouraging that band members are so "set apart" and looked unfavorably upon by other mids. No wonder the turn out has been meager so far for the Class of 2015.
     
  6. bugsy

    bugsy Member

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    The fact that Band Co is the last remaining dorm to get AC doesnt demonstrate alot of luv. Leaders will need to demonstrate support to regain respect of the band. I was in Band Co while attending a different academy and we were step children as is often the case, but well supported which put any teasing into context.

    Nothing like this is permanent, but the longer it takes to fix the more expensive it will become, in terms of time and resources.
     
  7. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I don't think the lack of Air Conditioning in a dorm has squat to do with recruitment for band. There are many, many other factors at play and I would bet if you asked incoming candidates to rank why they don't want to be in band the lack of A/C would be pretty low.

    Some of the less inflammatory reasons:
    1)It (not necessarily the people in it) has a poor perception amongst the vast majority of the regiment.
    2)It takes up an enormous amount of time and makes it difficult to play any intercollegiate sport as well
    3)They play the exact same songs for four years, nothing more, nothing less. I could probably hum every song they play 10 years later.
     
  8. Ddcga

    Ddcga Member

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    Not a lot of incentive for kids who are serious about music and see band as their extracurricular of choice. Being in a band program takes many hours of hard work, practice, and dedication just like an intercollegiate sport. Add to that the factors mentioned above and I can see why the MMA band program, as it now stands, may be on its way out.
     
  9. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I think there are a few simple, but high impact, changes that could be made to reverse this course. Personally I would love the see the band flourish. They represent the Academy well at outside events and the Beat Retreat is always a "fan favorite" when performed.

    In order to keep interest they need to update a bit. That won't happen without at least one change.
     
  10. kdbax

    kdbax Member

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    If your son is interested in a service academy AND wants to participate in Band, I think USMMA is the best option. It's the only service academy with a student band. However, understand that Band is only an extracurricular - you don't go to Kings Point to be in the band, just as you don't go to KP to play football, or lacrosse, or track, or [fill in the blank]. At the end of the day, everyone who comes to KP studies to be a deck officer or an engine officer. Your future career is paramount, whether in the merchant marine or active duty. Everything else is extra, including Band. If son is looking at a music career, KP's not the place.

    Our DS is in Band Company. When he applied, he knew he would be in Band Company - band showed up on his high school transcript. While he may not be crazy about all the band practices or all of its "quirks," he loves the people in Band Company. I asked him once whether he'd rather be in a different company and he was emphatic in saying "NO!" He's also on the track and cross country teams at KP - loves running and shares with his team a school record for a relay. At the end of the day, though, he's focused on where he's going to be after June 2013.
     
  11. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    I have a friend whose dd is "stationed" at West Point ". Her job in the Army is a professional band musician. :eek: I can see why this approach wouldn't work for KP. But does the band have to compete with the other academies professional musicians? It is not apples to apples. I can understand the pride in having a student band but my DS for one, wants no part of it. Maybe the scale of the band or the level they are trying to achieve needs to be addressed. Maybe old el bombero JR was on to something when he asked ( many threads ago ) about a rock band. :shake: Another poster Who suggested it maybe would be better as a club activity may be on to something too, smaller and more contemporary maybe.

    Side note. Right now DS is stuck in an airport due to multiple weather delays in the south! Of course with a dying cell phone. Perfect. I texted to him there may be a thing called a "pay phone" around if needed. :shake: Heck they probably take debit cards now! Semper Gumby begins for me. :wink:
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  12. Ddcga

    Ddcga Member

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    My son is not at all interested in a music career, he plans to commission into either Navy or Coast Guard upon graduation and is passionate about attending a service academy.

    I was merely saying that his extracurricular of choice is band just as football, lacrosse or track are the preferences of other Mids. I am quite sure that prospective student athletes who visit the campus are not told by their host that members of the track or football team etc. are disliked and disrespected by the rest of the Regiment and told to not even think about joining.

    My son will be in Band Co. next year and will stick it out no matter what the conditions. He loves band and enjoys the challenges, opportunities, and companionship that it provides. I just find it unfortunate that the USMMA band has such a reputation on its own campus among its own students. We visited USCGA and USNA and the feedback and information we received about band participation there was a completely different (very positive) story.

    My original statement was only to state how disappointing it was for my son to be bombarded with this kind of information on his initial visit to the academy.
     
  13. bugsy

    bugsy Member

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    Did i say that lack of AC had anything to do with recruitment?

    I said it doesnt demonstrate band as a priority. Do something to demonstrate that the band is a priority and you may change the perception amounst the regiment.
     
  14. Ddcga

    Ddcga Member

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    Agreed! I would like to add that providing band with AC would not necessarily demonstrate that they are a priority, but just that they were given the same treatment as other companies.

    Perhaps the big issue is how "separate" the band is from the rest of the regiment. Seems strange and a little unfair on lots of levels, but what do I know? :redface:
     
  15. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I don't get the big 'hubbub' over the fact that band is the last to get AC. Someone has to be last.

    That argument doesn't hold water for me. The reason I brought it up in the context of recruiting was that recruitment was the issue in the parent's newsletter.
     
  16. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    Kp2001, doc did you get a promotion? Spiffy new avitar too!
    Off topic :redface:
    Update. DS flight from large southern airport ( the you have layover in if you go to heaven ) got delayed, delayed, delayed, into early morning hours now, got delayed, got canceled! Of course no hotel room. Has recharged phone and is learning the adventure of being stranded overnight in an airport. At least it is stateside and not in a foreign land,,,,this time. Semper Gumby? I will bet Gumby has a stiff back this morning and the fun of the adventure is wearing off. He will hit another northern state before making it home sometime this evening. He's a big boy now and no I didn't sleep very well. Could have driven.:cool:
     
  17. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    My DS attended a local USMMA parents meeting several years ago. There was a mid there that was home for the summer. He was an IC and privately told my son that Band Company was the place to stay away from. That really spooked my son.

    When he reported to Indoc he told the band company officers he did not want to be in the band. He was promptly told that he was in band company. He has never regretted being a member of the band. He has never been treated differently by a member of the regiment due to his assignment or heard anything bad being said about band. He really enjoyed being able to leave as a plebe when everyone else was stuck on campus.

    He is very active in waterfront activities and will be a company officer this year. Band Company can be done and you CAN live in Great Neck without AC. As previously stated grades in band company tend to be a little better and the mids I have met were great kids. Band Company is obviously not for everybody and my son was upset at being conscripted into band but he has been very happy over the last three years. Being a part of the regiment at KP is being a part of something very special and being a part of band company makes it just a little sweeter.
     

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