Monday, October 10, 2016
Those of us who teach or assist with marching bands are just getting to the point where we can see the "light at the end of the tunnel". Maybe you've got just a couple sets left to put on, or you've been cleaning drill for a week already...but ALL of us see November creeping up on the calendar at this point. The question I've been asking myself the past few years is...WHY are we doing this thing called "marching band"? Is it good for the students? For music education?
I think the answer to those questions depends on the goals of the band director. I would like to take this opportunity to ask each and every music educator whether or not you have a specific, attainable goal (mission statement) for your students, your program, and yourself. I have found that it is far to easy to just move from rehearsal to rehearsal, ball game to ball game, to marching contests then playoffs, the list seems endless...without actually accomplishing the goals that are really important to us for our students.
So, my challenge to you today is to name the goal you have for your students and pursue it THROUGH all of the activities of marching band (and concert band for that matter). For my program, the goal my students and staff is simple: We are teaching young people to do something very difficult to the best of their ability, with the development of outstanding individual musicianship being the highest priority.
With this goal or "mission statement" guiding my decision-making, questions of music selection, difficulty of drill, my attitude toward winning or losing...everything becomes clearer for me, and I can climb back "on the ladder" and teach the 80th set of drill without complaining TOO much. So if your goal is winning a specific marching contest, growing the band to healthier numbers, or having more All-Region or All-State musicians this year, set it in stone and work toward that goal instead of working through the next "event". I've found this approach allows me to see the "light at the end of the tunnel" much sooner.
Best wishes to all on a great year! - Jeremy
Contact Your Local Palen Music Center Representative
Can we assist you with anything? Please contact your local Palen Music Center school road representative for all of your music education needs.