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 Post subject: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:45 pm 
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Reasons why marching band shows are boring these days.

1. Marching shows are designed to be extension of winter shows. Music takes a backseat to visual design.

2. Artsy-fartsy design. If you need dialog to let the audience know what is happening, you need to spend more time designing the show. You should not have to recite what is happening on the field. The music should do the talking.

3. Instructional staff! I see bands with 5-6 percussion instructors, around 4 guard and god knows how many visual instructors and NO BRASS OR WOODWIND staff. Huh?

4. Brass players are held to simple parts. Woodwinds are challenged at times but you don't hear brass playing anything more than quarter notes and whole notes. Trumpet sections that can't, or aren't allowed, to play anything above a high C. So no soprano voice at all in the brass. Once again ... HUH?!

5. Judging! Focus is on visual not music. I don't understand that. I've seen bands that play music beautifully but don't have the pretty flags and dancing musicians so they get hit for it. Los Osos 2015!

6. Drum Corps. Every band out there wants to do what DCI did during the summer. Would be great if marching bands were limited to brass and percussion but they have way more to express emotion with. Also, drum corps tend to do a lot of neat visual stuff but not at the expense of the music. They move and play.

7. Arrangements do not take advantage of the color range offered by woodwinds and brass combined. Instead we see more dancing horn players. Long chords by the brass section followed by drum features and sometimes a woodwind feature displaying their ability to play fast runs. Guess what? Brass players can play fast too. Brass instruments can bring a bright sound and volume that can be used effectively but no one does.

It starts with judging. Band directors want to have success so they go with whatever the judges are looking for. They play it safe! If you can challenge your kids with fancy movement you should challenge them musically too.

I am at the point right now that I welcome the small band playing pep tunes on the field. Some of those stock arrangements are more advanced than what I hear at every show.

Are there any band directors and staff out there that have the guts to tell the judges to go to hell and put together an entertaining show for both the audience AND MOST IMPORTANTLY the students playing the show?

I have many more reasons but this is long enough of a rant already!

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:02 pm 
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I don't know who you are but I can tell you from my experience that where I went to school my band director pretty much would agree worth everything you had to say. He use to tell us that we will lose many tournaments but you will gain so much musical knowledge. He would pick shows that were grade 5 or 6 very challenging. But I agree it was fun seeing the process of growth. He never wants to judge or host, just focus on the life lessons that band can offer through music. He would say you want to win, ok we can cut members, get easier music, and hardly move on the field. I could go on but I need to go.


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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:20 pm 
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I may agree with aspects of what you're getting at, but i'm not seeing the whole picture. You call out judges for doing a bad job and use Los Osos as an example, as if their show was not being rewarded. But they won music effect and scored well in music performance, which makes up 60% of the total score! Unfortunately, it is called marching band, so if people can march better than your unit you cant expect to win on music alone...
Also, it was frustrating that you said too many bands try to copy DCI, and your example band did a (practically) verbatim phantom 2003. I was impressed and thought they did a great job, but it counters your argument :/

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:01 pm 
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Brassissimo I couldn't agree more. This is on point with what is going through my mind when I watch most shows.


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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:58 pm 
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I agree with much of what you said. However there are many Bands that have not given up everything for COMPETITIVE BAND.

1. York County, PA. Six of the High Schools in This County stopped doing competitive shows and formed their own cavalcade of Bands that hosts three different non competitive shows during the fall season. These six schools have been joined by two or three other schools who like to try out different type of shows with no competition requirements. Attendance at the Cavalcade shows has been good and comments have been made about the selection of popular music by the Bands.

2. Washington County, OH. The Massillon High School Tiger Band hosts a Band Jamboree for Bands not involved in Competitive Marching. This Brings out many Precison Drill Bands, Big Ten Style Bands, Show Bands and some Corps Bands. This event has gone on for many years with good attendance.

The number of States adding Marching Contests that result in a rating is growing. In each of these states, more bands are willing to compete against a standard than other Bands. At present, the following states have Festival Marching Band Contests
Florida, Virginia, Maine, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska, Iowa,Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas. The big difference in Ratings being given, is that a Band competes against a standard for Musical Performance. Thus, the judging concerns how well you did your show and not all the other criteria. This helps many Bands that want to be recognized for their excellence in Marching, but do not see the need to try and compete under the standards of many judging associations. Their are many good Bands in my State of TX who only do one marching contest show a year and that is at the Region Marching Contest.

I disagree somewhat with the comments concerning emphasis on Visual vs Music. This is not always true. In TX the UIL judges Bands on Two categories, Music which is 60% and Marching and Manuvering which is 40%. The Florida Band Masters also divides the score between Music and GE with each getting 50%

There are a growing number of schools who want to put on shows that are enjoyable and fun. Many of them are quite good. Support these schools and their directors in this different approach to Marching Band.

Not everyone wants to compete on a grand scale. Their is room for all.

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:52 pm 
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uci_guy

My frustration with marching bands copying DCI is not with the choice in music, it's that bands try to copy the complex visual side of their show but not the musical side. The problem is all the focus is on the visual end, not music. You're right it is marching band, but it isn't dirty marching that killed their show, it was lack of dancing horns and pretty colors. I used Los Osos out of all the 6A bands in scsboa because I loved that music when Phantom did it and feel this band pulled it off quite well. Their show was rewarded musically as you say and it is embarrassing that other bands with less music outscored them.

JLGORMAN
That is great to hear. I will look that up. My beef in this rant is aimed at what I've been seeing since the early 2000s in Southern California. I've watched BOA competitions and I see those bands at a whole different level.

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Thanks, I'm glad I'm not alone!

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:02 pm 
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I can agree that some schools have less music in their shows than in prior years


brassissimo wrote:
... it isn't dirty marching that killed their show ...


this may not be a nice thing to say, but from the video i saw, it probably contributed ... when you have a larger band, its always going to be tougher to clean.

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:13 pm 
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uci_guy

Absolutely! I feel that way with bands like Cypress, they for the most part play well, but they're so big that it's difficult to clean. No doubt Los Osos' show was not as clean visually but they weren't terrible. The point difference between them and mt carmel is 3. Cleaner marching may have made the difference but in the end it comes down to what they call general effect.

I really dug Etiwanda's sound too.

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:15 am 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMxTzPmKedg

It is possible to push your kids! Broken Arrow 2015

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:56 pm 
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brassissimo wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMxTzPmKedg

It is possible to push your kids! Broken Arrow 2015


To be fair, Broken Arrow requires auditions for its band (marches about half its total), has a huge budget, a practice season starting early in the summer, and custom arranged music. Very few California Bands (or national bands, for that matter) can compete with them in those regards. Not to diminish your point, but imagine if, say, Mt Carmel and Rancho Bernardo combined their bands, budgets, and resources, then marched their best 250. I think we'd see a lot more interesting shows visually and musically.

To go back to the original point, I'd say that there has been a shift more towards technical visuals and sparse musical passages. I'd rather see more full band features than a woodwind feature, brass feature, drum feature, solo/duo, repeat. It gets old, but that's what works to combine the visual challenge with the musical challenge without breaking down the show or having a superhuman band. It can be done, however, and some of the best shows from SCSBOA in the last decade managed to do that. Think Mt Carmel 2006, Poway 2006, El Dorado 2007, Rancho Bernardo 2009, Arcadia 2010. I think if the show is well designed, well balanced, and well performed, you will see the judges reward the bands with points.


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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:53 pm 
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Surfersax wrote:
... imagine if, say, Mt Carmel and Rancho Bernardo combined their bands, budgets, and resources, then marched their best 250...


This. This needs to happen.

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:16 pm 
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If only.

I don't see the problem with auditioning members. If I had the numbers of some of these large bands in California, I'd have a competitive band and some JV type bands to prepare students to earn a spot in the competitive band.

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 Post subject: Re: Band directors, make marching band fun again ... PLEASE!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:49 pm 
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This New Years the Nations Largest HS Band will be in Pasadena, CA. The 715 member Eagle Escadrille from Allen HS will be marching in the Rose Parade. They come from a school of 4200 students in Allen, TX.

Yes the do compete. In the fall of 2014, they had a Superior Rating at UIL Region 25 Marching Contest and finished 8th in both the Prelims and Finals of the UIL Area C 6A Marching Contest. They finished 8th out of 24 Competitive Bands.

They march all students who come out and can play the music. Members of the Band with Disabilities are included in the Band. The Band Parents are very supportive and they have 9 Directors.

They also travel to every Football Game, Home and Away that the Allen Football team takes part in. At this time Allen has the Nations Longest High School winning streak at 60 games. The Team was 16-0 in both 2013 and 2014,

It is great to see this many students taking part in Marching Band

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