Re: Re: Marching Band Approach

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Posted by Wade on May 28, 2003 at 13:10:09:

In Reply to: Re: Marching Band Approach posted by Mike on May 27, 2003 at 23:41:19:

To me, the perfect example of what a sousaphone section should sound like (as well as a nice guide to staging them) can be found in the telecast video from the 1983 DCI championships that were held in Miami. The Freelancers came off the line with a tag intro of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" that goes into the opener of "Lover Come Back to Me". I remember it so well because it totally changed my expectations about what could be accomplished when playing outdoors. It was a sort of personal paradigm shift, if you will.

When I occasionally do week-long clinics or masterclasses that fall during marching season, I start by playing audio examples of good and bad outdoor playing followed up with a tape of these kids in their first rehearsal. They are always shocked by how BAD they sound. Then we follow up with that old tape of the Freelancers and they get really excited about making a good sound while out on the field, and that there is no such thing as a "concert" sound or a "field" sound. (That we are supposed to play with a really beautiful sound at all times never seems to enter the minds of students this of this age group unaided.)

Then I (sigh...) get a sousaphone and play parts of the show for them, having each student play back to me individually so that I can see where the real problems are hiding, holding a sort of group lesson.

(After taking some notes on each player, I then work the section as a group and can "pick on" individual players as needed. If I am hired to work with them for the week of band camp, this amount of pre-work can save hours down the road. It allows me to instill an audible standard and get to know the players' bad habits on an individual basis.)

Then we work on breathing, long tones, and intonation A LOT! The show music rarely comes into play until the last couple of days.

Wade "My tape is worn out-anyone make me a copy?" Rackley

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