band conflict: case re-opened; lessons taken

I was being explained by one of the tutors of the school orchestra regarding on the conflict between the instructor and the tutors of the team. It is really interesting to listen the whole story being re-told by the other side of the party.

Hereby I put down all the facts of the conflict, along with its counter backs.

The instructor was furious when he came to one rehearsal and noticed that the tempo of one of the songs was being slowed down.

Justification: The tempo was slowed down only for practicing purpose. This is done to tighten the playing of the running notes, before it is replayed at the exact tempo.

The instructor claimed that the tutors have done rehearsals with the orchestra without his knowledge. All changes were not discussed and informed to the instructor.

Justification: At regular times, in meetings around the table, or when they travel together in the instructor’s car, the tutors have always discussed about the ways to improve the orchestra. Suggestions were made for changes and the instructor evaluated these suggestions. They leave it to the instructor’s judgment to accept or decline these changes.

The team member informed the instructor that they were exhausted due to excessive rehearsals.

Justification: The instructor received wrong information given by the problematic senior players. Rehearsals this year were less stressful compared to the previous year.

The instructor pointed out that the woodwind section was blaring when they tried to be heard instead of projecting a matured and broad tone, when they play the Malay piece.

Justification: The incident occurred in a music workshop when the instructor himself hardly came to guide the team. The quality degradation was not because of the tutors, but because of the wrong mentoring by the people involved in the music workshop.

The instructor went berserk when the student conductor guided the band incorrectly in the final competition rehearsal.

Justification: The mistake was purely done by the student conductor and not because of the tutors. If we look back at the progress from the first few months, the instructor has less interest in trying to closely guide the student conductor, whence actually the conductor is important to guide the orchestra when the perform. Instead, the tutors did the job.

Conducting is quite a relative subject. Famous conductors conduct in different ways. The conductor might be right, but the tutor could be correct too. Based on the explanation given to me, I could see that these conflicting parties have their own different but concrete reference of conducting; hence the crisis emerged.

The whole conclusion.

Both parties, regardless the tutors and the instructor, have given a very big contribution and support to the orchestra. Basically all changes were already being informed to the instructor, but during the final stage, the instructor refused to communicate and express his disagreement out to the wrong channel, including me.

When one of the tutors arrived here from overseas, he expected that come to just fine tune the band and correct the balance and give extra dynamics at certain parts. Frustratingly, there were so many parts that the woodwind section cheated and played wrongly. He had to drill them in terms of technical playing which the instructor ignored for a long time already. After the intensive detailed practice, the instructor only came to see the improvement, but do not really know how this thing happened.

Now that I have seen the whole complete picture, I could see that the instructor is also at fault. Knowing that he always go directly to his own conclusions without further investigation, and based on my experience with him.

I am relieved to get the clear explanation from the other party, instead of people provocatively force me to accept and acknowledge the contribution of everyone. The ironic thing is, I do appreciate everyone’s contribution. I do not need people to ask me to do so.

Whatever it is, now I could see from both perspectives. Caution should be taken when I myself have encounter with the instructor. It’s a question; is he actually being paranoid, thinking that people would topple him from his position? And is he being himself again, kiasu and putting his mood swings into his professional career? This is not the first time this kind of incident happened.

Finally, I am satisfied with the whole story.

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