Advice on coaching a rebuilding band program?

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Advice on coaching a rebuilding band program?

Post by DJ-PsiLon » Thu Nov 21, 2002 2:43 am

This year a group of us are going to potentially help out a rebuilding band program during the concert season. Personally I don't have any experience in coaching and my music experience is only from when I started playing trumpet in elementary school till now.

Any tips and/or suggestions?
Formerly known as [UCI]-Mike

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Post by nizmo » Thu Nov 21, 2002 9:35 am

hire a director?

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Post by Arcadia Trumpeter » Sun Dec 15, 2002 10:23 pm

you just have to push the students to get better. Our director is constantly looking for music to challenge us. My sophomore year, we played a piece called Poema Alpestre in our top concert band. I thought that song was probably one of the hardest songs on the market as far as concert band goes for high school, but I was wrong. last year we played To Tame the Perilous Skies by holsinger, and wow. the amount of energy that the first trumpets have to put into that song is ridiculous. When i first saw it i didn't think i'd be able to play it well at all, but it came out wonderfully in the end, and i think we all realized that we were better than we thought we were. We just needed that little push from somebody. In fact, I can't wait to see what we're going to play this year. I know it's going to kick my butt.

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Post by LovableSheep » Mon Dec 16, 2002 7:27 pm

euphman wrote:You started in Elementary? WOW
I don't find that too amazing, since I did too and I know many people who did also. I'm surprised you are so shocked since it seems to me common among musicians to start early.


re-building a band

Post by MystikalBrass » Sun Dec 22, 2002 8:22 pm

As a staff member of a young drum & bugle corps, as well as a brass coach at a high school that is also re-building, I can offer some insight.

I agree with Arcadia Trumpeter in that you should challenge the kids. That's why they are there in the first place. However, I can't stress enough the importance of setting realistic goals. Strive to build and maintain a program with achievable goals. Don't promise them a spring trip, or book them at Carnegie Hall. Don't dive in and tackle difficult pieces, except perhaps one advanced selection for Spring Concert (Holst, for example). A good program for a young band might include "Instant Concert", "Cakewalk For Band" or "Rollo Takes A Walk" Those are all easy to read and easy to perform. "Known" music, however difficult, will also hold their interest while challenging them. Some of the "classics" would be good, such as William Tell, New World Symphony or The Grand Canyon Suite. I like "Morning, Noon, and Night In Vienna" or "Light Cavalry". My high school band (West Covina HS, early 80's) had a predominence of woodwinds. Therefore we played music more suitable to that.

At the high school program I coach, we have eight brass players. We have been learning the importance of blend and balance, as well as striving to achieve a dark symphonic sound. "Loud" is not good. They have received positive comments from judges for their efforts in this. Here in the beginning of Concert season, we are focusing on brass ensemble music. The sax section is working on some pieces, as are the rest of the woodwinds. A good idea for a spring program would be to work like this: your spring concert series could feature each of the ensembles performing a piece or two each, then combine for a finale of one or two concert band pieces. Don't spend the entire semester working your kids on a difficult program. Give them something they can achieve quickly. Sounding good when playing together will be rewarding for all.

Also, if you are rebuilding a program, look through your library before spending money on new arrangements. Sight reading daily is also a good way to challenge them, as well as yourself. Who knows? You might find some suitable pieces that will inspire them as well as challenge them.

Staffwise, find motivated people. Look to your recent graduates of the same program who want to help build a program, or might be looking to boost their resume. Seek people who are patient, positive and knowledgeable. Don't waste your student's time with the wrong staff!

Lastly, develop a parents club or booster club. Get the parents involved, throw an open house and show the parents how hard their kids are working. At your spring concerts, don't charge admission but ask for a donation.

Ultimately, the program is about the kids of course. They should have some say in where the program goes, and it is the director and staff's duty to get the job done. But importantly, the kids cannot be the ones who decide what is the level of acceptable performance.

OK, I guess that's enough for now. Remember: realistic goals, achievable results. Best of luck!

Charles Hargett

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