Falcon HS Band and Orchestra

Teens Today Are Just Plain _______________!

Teens today get a bad rap, one that they don’t deserve. They are accused of many things and often all lumped into the same category rather than looked at as individuals.

I work with teens daily in my job as a high school music teacher. I have faith in teens!

Three Myths About Teens

1. Teens are lazy

Lots of teens ARE lazy. Lots of adults are lazy too. But if you get the right motivational structure in place, the majority of teens will impress you.


In my band classes, I have a grading system where kids earn points for achieving certain standards. Students have a minimum goal each month that they are required to reach to get an A. Here are some stats from a class of 40 students:

- 2 did not meet a minimum goal (they have a grade of C or D)

- 16 met their minimum goal (grade of A)

- 17 exceeded their minimum goal by more than 100%, some by as much as 400%


2. Teens don’t understand leadership

Simply not true.


My marching band leaders called me to task about four weeks ago...

They didn’t have a problem with my high standards.

They didn’t have a problem with me.

They didn’t have a problem with the music or the choice of marching band show.

The problem...I was taking charge too much and not giving them a chance to be leaders, to fail a little, to learn from their mistakes. It was a great lesson for me, and to be honest a little hard at first.


I have delegated many more items to them. They have risen to the challenge. They are full of great ideas and are ready and willing to implement them. We are not able to initiate all of their ideas. Sometimes my three decades of experience come into play and I am able to share with them why a specific idea won’t work.


3. Teens have no morals


Ain't true for all teens.

The adults in their lives have not exactly been the top role models in this area. We have top executives who steal, parents who cheat on a spouse, leaders with no backbone who take the easy way, and then we expect a teenager to choose a different direction?


Teens do have morals. Many are committing to sexual purity until their wedding day. Many abhor cheating. 


Four things I do know about teens

1)   Give them guidance. They sometimes seem to not listen, but they are.

2)   Don’t put all teens in the same category. I wouldn’t like it if you assumed all Italians were part of the mafia. New Yorkers – most of whom are kind, considerate people – don’t like it when you say New Yorkers are rude (probably 10% are, and in a city of 10 million+, that’s 1 million rude people walking around.

3)   Respect their ideas, even if you are not able to implement them. Ninety percent of the great things we do in my bands started as an idea or thought from a student!

4)   The best advice I received for my book came from a teen. I published my first book in June 2013. Since then hundreds have bought a copy and dozens have given me feedback on my book, including other authors.

Their feedback was along the lines of:

“This story needs to get out…

I couldn’t put it down…

Great story…

People need to hear this…etc.

All advice that I appreciate! However, the best advice came last week from a teen named Catherine. Her advice: The whole book doesn’t seem to fit your theme of forgiveness…I didn’t feel you opened up enough, that you were holding something back…If I didn’t already know you, it wouldn’t have really moved me.


Tough me for me to hear….Yes


Did I pick up some great tips for improving the book?...Yes!


God bless teens!



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