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Percussion

  • Making Room for Technology

    Mike Lawson | October 22, 2006

    It began about 15 years ago with one teacher’s vision: an efficient, streamlined music education program at W.C. Pryor Middle School in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. As band director Jeff Adams saw it, the introduction of music technology to his middle school program could effectively “multiply” his ability to teach his students the fundamentals of music. Instead of being one music teacher in a roomful of students, he could extend his teaching capabilities to 20 computer screens around the classroom.

    “I saw the potential for the technology to let me, for example, spend more time with the kids who were having problems, and the students who were not having problems could go on the computer and be doing other things. The computers would either guide their instruction or guide their evaluation,” Adams notes.

    While the school’s band room did not exactly fit his vision for a computer lab, Adams improvised by emptying out storage closets and occupying a hallway to house computer workstations. The uniform closet, an instrument closet and a practice room each have a computer in them now, and 13 computers line the hallway-turned-computer bank.

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  • Rhythm Section: The Jazz Ensemble’s Core

    Mike Lawson | October 22, 2006

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  • Selection: Classical Transcriptions for Concert Band

    Mike Lawson | October 22, 2006


    By Mike Pearce

    Despite the abundance of high quality, original band literature available for bands to play, there may be occasions when your band will rehearse and perform orchestral transcriptions. If you choose music from the Classical Period, encompassing the years from the mid-l8th through the early l9th centuries, and if your band is to accurately play transcriptions of works by Mozart, Pergolesi, Haydn, early Beethoven, or others from the period, there are important considerations to be addressed to assist your contemporary concert band in faithfully reproducing the unique sounds of this period.

    Conceptual Approach

    Directions to take in having a concert band play classical transcriptions can generally be assigned to one of two broad categories:

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  • Randy Greenwell/ Matt James

    Mike Lawson | October 22, 2006

    By Jennifer H. McInerney
    Photos by Karl J. Pfeffer Jr., Indianapolis, Ind.

    After months of training and preparation, it's unusual that the members of the Lawrence Central High School Marching Band in Indianapolis, Ind., would allow themselves to be held back at performance time. Yet during this past marching season, they were literally surrounded by larger-than-life yellow and black caution tape as they made their way across the field during the first movement -"Confinement" - of their show. Over the past 11 years, band directors Randy Greenwell and Matt James, along with their staff, have developed a reputation for going beyond the boundaries of a typical marching show.

    In last season's "Breakthrough," performed to the music of Michael Schelle, the marching band illustrated the concept of breaking away from confines represented by the yellow tape - which band members created and painted themselves - played out during three movements: Confinement, Escape and The Other Side.

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  • Percussion Section Management

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006

    Your percussionists probably represent the best-organized and best-behaved sections in your band, right?

    No? How odd, seeing as they are far away in the very back of the band, like to hit things, can't seem to sit still long enough for you to complete an entire sentence, and enjoy each other's company so much that all they want to do is talk about sticks, drums, CDs, and so on...

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  • Playing For Yourself

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006

    By Christian Wissmuller

    An accomplished performer, author, and clinician (www.kwylie.com), Wylie recently spoke with SBO about how he keeps his program running at maximum efficiency, his notions on what defines "success," and his hopes for the future.

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  • SURVEY: WOODWIND ENSEMBLES

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006Amongst the more popular instruments with students, woodwinds (of course) have their place in larger band and orchestral settings, but are also ideally suited to ensembles. If time and resources allow, many instructors find that creating woodwind ensembles yields benefits for students and the overall music program. Does your school field any Woodwind ensembles? Read More...
  • Self-Adjudiction

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006

    Does judging your own band strike you as a silly notion, or could it actually serve a purpose? Try these techniques for some significant benefits for you and your band.

     

    How It Works

    Though nobody expects to attend a band festival and judge his or her own band, if you’ve been struggling to get better performance results and higher scores, self-adjudicating before the event can help achieve your goal. When you listen to concert recordings or rehearsal work tapes, place yourself in the role of an objective listener evaluating someone else’s band.

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  • Upfront: Writing & Arranging:

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006

    BY VINCENT COROZINE (ASCAP)

    A good-sounding musical arrangement possesses many characteristics. However, the three most important characteristics include transparency of texture, variety of tone color, and moving contrapuntal lines that build to a satisfying climax. All of the musical arrangements that positively influenced me had these characteristics.

    Before 1600, any medium of performance for a given composition was considered satisfactory, and there was little uniformity of instrumentation in ensemble music. Practically any combination of instruments seems to have been acceptable during this period, since the emphasis was on the musical line and not on tone color or blend. Sharp contrastsof tone color are not very apparent in scores of this period. Composers did not suggest the choice of parts to be played by certain instruments, but the decision was left to the performers.

    This example by Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612) is arranged for two trumpets and two trombones and illustratesa powerful technique for effectively mixing textures within a composition. We notice immediately that the musical fabric changes constantly, alternating between two, three, and four voice parts. Gabrieli employs rests toventilate the texture and lighten the sound, to highlight phrase endings, and to clear the way for the next entrance. Noteworthy is the fact that Gabrieli introduces the theme five times, delaying the third answer of the theme until m. 3 to avoid the monotony of phrasing that is too regular and predictable. Most of Bach's contrapuntal writing reflects this compositional principle.

    An instrument or section that has been silent for a periodof time attracts new interest when it reenters.

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  • David Carbone

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006

    A successful high school Marching Band program can outstrip the traditional scope of most other “academic programs.” Particularly in smaller or rural areas, a good Marching Band can galvanize the community and strengthen a town’s sense of identity and pride.

    The music educators and student performers of Bellbrook High School’s Marching Band are no strangers to this phenomenon, as the Marching Eagles have helped put Bellbrook, Ohio on the national radar. Winners of six BOA Grand Nationals Class A championships, last year the Marching Eagles were named the 2004 BOA Grand National Class AA champion, the first national championship since the program moved up a class in 2002.

    David Carbone, director of bands and music at Bellbrook since 2001, recently spoke with SBO about maintaining and strengthening a winning Marching Band tradition.

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  • Reaching for Higher Standards

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006

    By Christian Wissmuller

    A respected percussionist who has performed with top-notch jazz ensembles and the Binghamton (N.Y.) Philharmonic, Joel Smales has also authored ensemble, percussion, and method books published by Phantom Publications and his articles on music education and percussion have appeared in nationally distributed periodicals, including School Band & Orchestra.

    Mr. Smales currently holds the titles of vice president, NYS Percussive Arts Society and Percussion chair, NYSSMA, and has been director of Bands at Binghamton High School's Rod Serling School of Fine Arts for the past six years.

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  • Go East, Young Band!

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2006

    Band and orchestra directors interested in a unique travel opportunity that incorporates musical, social, cultural, and educational experiences should consider Asia.

    Many schools and communities in Japan, China, and other Asian nations are seeking sister-school relationships in the United States.

    Forging a connection with such a school can lead to experiences for students that will have both greater depth and less cost than many so-called “educational” tours organized by travel agencies. The key is to create a dream and to implement it with directors and their colleagues doing the legwork. Yes, the process is labor intensive, but it results in a long-term relationship with the sister school or community that continues for decades. Our experiences will, I hope, inspire and give direction.

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