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This one is easy… for most schools you want to get an award winning program in place and have your students reap the rewards of their hard work right? Well the answer for you then on how fast should you learn the show is … ASAP!
When band camp starts, day 1, if you use my services as they are intended you’ll have the complete drill from me. First block of course do the fun things, the attendance, the ice breakers, the big reveal of band camp – really get your students bought in! By the 2nd or 3rd day try to have the entire show on the field! How?? How can you get a complete show on the field in just a few days when it used to take weeks and you still weren’t done before the first football game? Easy! My drill cleans itself. When you fill out my questionnaire regarding your program and vision for this year we talk about the difficulty level. Having taught before, I am on your side for something that won’t feel like pulling teeth to teach.
A rehearsal strategy: use a loud speaker to play the audio of your music once you’ve learned a movement. Have the students march and count aloud the counts (1, 2, 3, 4, etc…15, 16, HOLD, 2, 3, 4,…etc) with or without instruments. Just get them used to hearing the show played perfectly as it will be on the .wav or .midi (albeit a computer). They will internalize the tempo, the rhythms, the pitches and associate drill moves with certain musical phrases. This is a great way to get developing bands, or bands with kids with summer chops!, to see the bigger picture of what it will sound like in October.
Modern marching is all about show design, staging, and lots of cleverness. Visuals, dance training, etc. are a must. If you get the entire show on the field in a few days, even if it’s sloppy, you and your staff can then go through and see what works and what doesn’t. If something doesn’t work – change it!! Do it early in band camp. This is why I advocate to get the entire show done first. Then you go back and add, add, add. Because these days it’s all about the added content. Drill is almost secondary to choreography at times.
And don’t worry – my drill will clean itself!!
Have fun – race you to getting the show learned??