More Sectional Jewel Tips from Diamond - Why listen?

by Diamond

So you try out for section leader, and you actually BECOME the section leader. So now why does your section WANT to listen to you?

1. You play well.

If you play well your section is more likely to respect your criticism, and that means you need to practice, practice, practice. If your director gives you new music, you need to be able to play it the next day. You might have to go over it with your section.

2. You aren't stuck up.

You don't want to be the all mighty dictator of your section. When you can have a vote it can be something as simple as when to schedule a sectional, although I don't agree with a vote when its for sectionals it might work for your section.

3. You know when its ok to show that you have authority

Don't be afraid to get mad at your section. In most schools there are two to three section leaders. Don't rely on your partner to get mad at the section. Both of you need to be strict with your section. Establish a line. Your section needs to work hard and you need to be the one that pushes them. Clarinets rock so you need to strive to make your section the best.

4. You are friendly.

Your section needs to trust you. You need to make your section into a family. And new clarinetists should be welcomed. Be nice. Even if you don't like someone in your section help them out on the field and off the field, because you are all working for one thing and that is for great entertainment. So be professional!


Hello Diamond,

It is great to hear from you again and give more sectional tips. My comments on your thoughts.

1. You play well. Being a positive example is a great leadership trait. Talking the talk and walking the walk, if you ask your section to practice, you better do it yourself. The goal of knowing new music well before your section is very valid and hopefully appreciated by the section members.

2. You aren’t stuck up. Followers can see this a mile away. One thing you can let section members know is that with clarinet playing, we are all trying to conquer the instrument. Helping each other out is a great way ahead.

3. You know when it is okay to show authority. Yes, and remember there are ways to get a point across without getting mad.

A. Go down the line and have each member play individually. If they mess up, try to coach them through. If it ends poorly, remind them they will play it for the section again tomorrow or the next sectional (and hopefully avoid further embarrassment).

B. Also, ask unsuspecting section members what to do. Let’s say you have a few that continue to jabber or joke in the back. Call them up in front of the group, have them run the passage. They will probably be terrified to speak in front of peers, so the group may keep their mouths shut if that threat is there. Also, you might be surprised, one of those “jabberers” could have some knowledge and leadership skills (future section leaders). Leaders train their replacements.

4. You are friendly. Trust, family, welcoming, and professional are all key words for your group. Members will feel a positive vibe from you. Keep all comments “matter of fact,” equal, and not sarcastic or degrading.

Have a great season and good luck with your section.


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