Marching Band Helpful Hint, Vol. 4


Hello out there in Band DIrectorLand:

Here are a few hints that I used during most of career at Lassiter HS. It isn't necessary that you do them or even agree, but as Gen. Colin Powell says, "It Worked for Me."

"Helpful Hints, Vol. 4"

1. Slower preparation will deliver faster results Be patient but work quickly. Remember my motto: "Poco a Poco. Tomorrow is right around the corner."

2. Keep everyone as engaged as possible in your outside marching band rehearsals. Do not stop and take 10 mins to adjust a set. Get it done later in a sectional. This will destroy the pace of your rehearsal. If your former hs or college bands did this, they didn't rehearse very well. Kids often decide to quit going into the following semester or year due to this reason.

3. Separate the responsibilities of marching and playing at the same time. March to develop that specific technique and play sitting or standing to develop that technique. Put the two skills together playing a lot of half note scales and exercises in moderate vols and tessitura. Expand range and vols as the weeks go by. Marching and playing show music too early will create average marchers and average players that may never recover. Ever wonder why we get B-C in tone and intonation at concert assessment. At Lassiter, we stopped marking time in place 25 years ago. Didn't help a bit with timing. Concert band does most of that.

4. If your band is "cranking." Stop it now before you completely destroy all potential for musical growth and development. The notion of blowing as loud as humanly possible should be a concept foreign to ANY good musician. BTW CRANKERS - the shoulders should not raise, thus stretching the lungs vertically and creating body tension to play. Breathe in 1, blow out 3 is what beginners did years ago. We are better with beg now. Shoulders go up as you breathe - sign of an untrained musician. A horrible sounds will automatically follow. Want to sound big like DCI - train them fundamentally like DCI.

FYI - the pic is from the Lassiter Band woodwind section, w/part of the guard, performing a ww feature at BOA Grand Nationals, 2002.

That's it for today. Have fun and be efficient out there. Don't forget to keep them hydrated.


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