Marching Band Discussion

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gzent, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Thanks diz for doing your best for the kids. I'm not down on the directors so much as
    the whole system and its priorities.

    I think when the competitions started is when things went the wrong direction.
    Also, maybe the state high school leagues need to restrict how much practice time
    can be put in outside of normal school hours, as they do for sports?
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Lets look at the real issues:
    trumpet chops: for most of the kids, there is not so much of a problem because they are NOT giving 100%. Those that do are the dummies
    As far as personal development goes: If the player can keep a positive attitude about what they are doing, then fine. If not, there is a problem in need of attention.
    As far as not being able to opt out, I firmly believe that a reasonable player could get away with this and that it probably would not be hard to motivate the PTSA, newspapers and politicians to help. Once the first student paved the way, it would not be so tough for the rest.

    My opinion? Anything that worships brute force is not healthy. I don't go to rock concerts because they are just too damn loud. I do listen to some heavy duty stuff at home, just not at volumes that solve constipation.

    The entire competitive situation has become MUCH more specialized. That does not produce better music or musicians, but does make it very easy to put a stamp on the less cooperative.

    In the case of TM, the more experienced players are supportive of the complaining kids. If they stop complaining, we will not bring the subject up.
  3. Jurandr

    Jurandr Pianissimo User

    Feb 23, 2008
    My school just finished up its marching season. I read through this thread and thought back to the competitions a few weeks ago where I saw bands that fit your descriptions perfectly: blast-your-heart-out music. My director explained how my school doesn't participate in that kind of mentality. There's a reason we play "jesu, joy of man's desiring," "With heart and Voice," and "Tempered Steel" in our shows and not the Beatles. We play real music that gives us an actual music education. Our scores show it, too. Those bands lusting for a DCI sound but not attaining it aren't scoring near as high as we are. When we play our music on the field, we don't play it any differently than we do in concert bands the rest of the year. Being in tune with each other gives a much better effect that blasting like madmen. The students like it much better, too. Ask any one of them if they'd rather be playing the "standard stuff" as opposed to what we have.

    Music education... in high school!
  4. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    Thanks Greg,

    There are plenty of bad directors out their, as I am sure you know I am certainly not trying to excuse the ones that are boneheads, just trying to provide a little perspective as to how things get so screwed up.

    I think directors are part of the problem because many directors do not understand the sequential progress of skill. As a director I have certain bench marks that I am trying to meet ( in my head) to make sure they are ready.
    Some directors do not do this. Can you imagine a kid getting to high school having never seen or played grade 3 or 4 music? Happens all the time, so they are in no way prepared musically or physically for the music they will see, then add daily high intensity rehearsals and you have got a recipe for a trumpet player with chop problems.
  5. SenorTaco

    SenorTaco New Friend

    Feb 16, 2009
    Weslaco, TX
    So, are trumpet players more susceptible to these detrimental effects as opposed to other brass players?

    A big difference that I noticed in the transition from high school marching band to college marching band is in preparation before practice, particularly physically. In high school, practice started at 6/7 and if you needed to stretch, you better do it yourself, warm-up while you're at it. Now, a significant portion at the start of the rehearsal is dedicated to warm-up, stretching, and basics to get into the groove. Nobody says anything if you're resting for a while, water breaks are given roughly every 30 minutes (more than twice as often) and although our show still centers around "loud and high" they don't encourage going over your physical limitations at all.

    Just some important differences I've noticed, although it could be because our band is an exhibition-only/entertainment band and not a competing one. I'm also fortunate enough to not have to play lead! XD

    Part of the reason I'm in music education is because I want to be able to correct some of that "go-for-the-win-at-all-costs" mentality and actually teach students about music. My senior year of high school, we didn't have a spring concert because the director started working on the music for the following year's show. The music at the commencement ceremonies sounded terrible for the same reason. I don't want more kids to lose a chance at music for such a foolish reason. If I could do help in at least one school, I'd feel accomplished.

    Sorry for the wall of text, I just had to rant XD
  6. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    I went to high school in a small (population 3500) farming town in Southeast Nebraska.
    Marching band was mandatory for all band students except the athletes. But even they had to participate in the parades (our marching band did parades and football games. And our band also performed at every home basketball game.)

    Our administraiton (not just the band director) viewed marching band as THE major public relations activity for the music program.

    The band director hated it. The students hated it. But for most of the public, excepting the parents of the musci students, the ONLY time they saw ANYTHING from the musci department was during a parade or football game.

    It was considered a necessary evil. This was also the case when I attended a small state college (about 1300 students) as a music major. If the music program wanted support from the alumni of the school, the band had better march at the football games!

    But in both cases, the music teachers were very aware of the endurance, and tried their best to further our musical development in spite of the "play higher and louder" mentality of the contest judges. As I freshmen in college, I played lead in marching band while the senior (normally the lead, and MUCH better than I was) played third part.

    The reason? He had his senior recital in January, and the professor was not taking any chances that he would damage his lip. (After football season, in concert band, he went back to lead and I played second).

    So...for some high schools and colleges, there may be no alternative but to have a marching band.
  7. miles71

    miles71 Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 8, 2004
    I dont often chime in on subjects like this, but I am about to end the season.

    We just got a new school and have no fields around for a marching band, therefore we have been going to games in the stands and just playing some peep band type stuff. I was a director at a very competitive school and know am at a school that does really do much marching at all. I have seen both sides of the marching thing and have to say, it is up to the director how the program is ran.

    Marching band CAN be a very detrimental ensemble to a program, but it can also be one of the best things as well. Teaching proper playing technique instead of Blasting is key. Not worrying about trophies and instead worrying about the students is also important. Whats funny is if the students progress was first and formost the trophies would be automatic.

    Many areas require all students to do Marching band. I personally feel it should be extra curricular so any studnet who wants to can take part, but doesnt have to. If we apply this same thought to Jazz Band what would happen? Everone has to take jazz band, yeah right.

    On the other side the marching band is the biggest comercial for your program and many prinicpals see it that way. So, run your program the way you want but make sure you have a program.

    I can honestly say that my program with a serious competitive marching component had stronger, more advanced players than my present porgram without a serious marching program. None of them got hurt or pushed past what I, the porfessional, thought they could do.

    Yes, marching band is a pain, but it has its place. And if done right can be a good thing. I dont think it should be a forced thing, but enough kids need to want to do it in order to have a group.

    Lastly, get involved in the band program if not already. As a parent become a booster and help out. You might get a better understanding of why things are happening. Just my 2 cents, gotta go get ready for a peep rally :-)

  8. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Excellent advice.

    I think what we see here is that the band directors who are trumpet players understand what the concerns are, but the directors who don't play trumpet can't appreciate our concerns.

    An example, my kids' director (flute is her primary instrument) told the trumpets recently that she wanted them to be playing the horn at a slight upward angle for marching band. OK, this is a case of stupidity, IMO, as it could easily lead to "lip smashing".
  9. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Right....and the kids that play "downstream" end up having to tilt their heads WAAY back to get the horn tilted up.

    And THAT causes problems with headaches and neck strain.
  10. operagost

    operagost Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Spring City, PA, USA
    Um... the practice football field?

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