Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Good charts...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Getting to be November...

Well, it's getting to be November. That means a number of different things across the band program. At the high school, the marching band is transitioning to almost full-time focus on concert music, but still wearing the marching "hat." We made two trips to the middle schools this week to try and expose the kids there to what we do. It was fun. Probably most fun of all was watching the kindergarten kids at Norup react to the music. Half the kids danced and conducted unabashedly. The other half looked as though they were trying to catch flies in their mouths, lost in thought or observation. One little girl reacted in a scarily sophisticated way--first reacting to the cymbal crashes by throwing up her hands at each one, and then predicting when they would come.

It's a real pleasure watching the progress toward the December concert from the 6th grade band all the way up to the high school bands. As much as I know that I'll never be satisfied with where each group gets (which is a good thing), I can't help but appreciate the synthesis and hard work on display. "Irish Tune from County Derry" is a good example. On its face, the piece is both simple and daunting. Simple to the eye and ear--just "Danny Boy" after all--but awkward in its scoring, bring exposed woodwinds into the highest tessituras at pp and ppp, and trombones to high G and A. But starting just recently--starting today, in fact, the kids are starting to get it. Starting to develop the most important piece of all--the aural concept. The Norup students are no different. The pieces are starting to materialize as distinct wholes instead of disjointed surface readings.

I hope to hear some similar stories from the other directors I meet this weekend. I'm attending an Early Careers conference for band/orchestra directors in Mt. Pleasant. Hope to gain some good teaching strategies, etc. while there.

Last, this looks pretty fascinating: