“You should not be so hard on Band Directors, why can’t you write about nice things?”
This is why I quit debating with people in r/musiceducation, and other groups that defend groups like DCI and BOA in the name of charity. I’m sick of seeing victims be trolled and harassed by r/drumcorps, r/bandsofamerica, and most infamously r/dci and told to write nice things about people who are true cultist monsters according to sociology and psychology. I know that there are some music teachers and music directors who don’t drink the DCI and BOA Koolaide and I applaud them for that. However, they too should encourage others to do the same for the safety of students and parents of talented performing artists and others in theater and choirs who get duped into joining a festival that turns out to be toxic competitively and feel abused, used, and discriminated against. Disappointed for just wanting a chance to shine, a platform, or needing a helping hand at a very hard time. However, out of disappointment comes a reckoning of why we felt that way in the first place, and should never be our fault but a whole system that is hurting and killing people to perfection and technology should not be blamed in this debate. According to philosopher and scientist Alen Turing; it’s not the technology that is at fault but the people who use it for their selfishness and evil that should be stopped.
Twitch technology has been used presently by the Army and Navy to recruit young people into both groups; what if DCI and BOA get ahold of Twitch and use it to target younger people in the chat rooms? Imagine if they hired YouTubers Lyon Brothers as YouTube influencers to lure people into a corp or band in their area only to face a culture of abuse, neglect, and harassment. Sleeping outside in a tent and eating a Keto diet while the director and staff stay in a hotel with nice food and a mattress to sleep on. How would Lyon Brothers or TwoSet feel if they read about the victims of George Hopkins, Jon Waters, Morgan Larson, James Levine, and others who harm and abuse young people, their audience? It just doesn’t happen only in bands and corps; it happens in concert bands, orchestras, choirs, theater, dance, and other performing arts.
When a YouTuber reacts to a corp like New Zealand Girl; they don’t know they're allowing these group's abuse and harm to continue to target young vulnerable people and teachers in poor-income communities. What would she say about the thirteen and counting women in the Cadets who were groomed and assaulted by a grown man who knew what he was doing was wrong? If she knew this man was still walking with just a fine; someone like her would want him in jail!
Social Media can not only be used to manipulate older people to vote for a tyrant but it can also be used to make tyranny and evil fall flat in the mud using the tools we have. Black Lives Matter, the backlash against Sia for saying Autistic people are bad actors, MeToo, Bernie Sanders, the fight against Scientology and Autism Speaks, representation in film, and independent films, the fight against racist and xenophobic mascots and characters in sports, media, and advertising (like BergermisterMisterberger, Cleveland Indians, Aunt Jemima, and Apu), and other moments of activism came from social media too. Both Bernie and many other progressives use Twitter as a tool of justice and accountability and some people accuse them of not writing nice things too.
This Reddit Community has lasted about five years now and more work has to be done to hold these groups accountable for their crimes and for the philosophy of toxic competition to die in music education so that true and equal education can happen for all people. Art should never be a sport because that is how humanity dies with judges and directors who are not educators but profiteers and scammers with empty promises. At the end of the day, a trophy does not teach people hard work but makes others feel like they are not equal and do not belong as a community of musicians and artists. This reality is not kind or nice, but it does not have to be that way with we truly care about education and not about competition.
Teaching, not torture should be the goal of every music educator, or a person going into a field that needs respect. I write because the work towards education and learning is a never-ending journey and to keep learning and having the capacity of kindness, honesty, hope, perseverance, empathy, support, cultural understanding, compassion, and tolerance is what you need as a teacher, not a director.