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It is mid-Spring and hopefully that means you have all had a successful and COMPLETE concert band festival season. If you are on this site you most likely have a passion for bringing engaging programs to your students and audiences and thus are already thinking about ideas for next marching band season which will be here before you know it. In fact, you probably can’t help but let your imagination take off about marching season as you simultaneously look to finish this school year strong with year end concerts, galas, dances, commencements and maybe even a musical theater production. Good luck!
Like you, your students are also probably excitedly looking forward to marching band season as well. This is a good thing and means you are doing your job well! I hope you have your top kids coming into your band room daily inquiring about what is to be planned for next Fall. Getting that student “buy in” is so important and making them feel that their input is utilized and valued is a great way to ensure commitment and dedication.
In programming any concert you’ve got to take stock of your strengths. Think about your top players, your superstars. Every band has them and the trickle down effect can really help to strengthen your band. Therefore I would like to encourage you right now to set those kids up with private lessons instructors. Play to their strengths. Do you have a great lead trumpet player? Find him the best lead trumpet professional in town for lessons. Do you have a great jazz sax player? Set him up with the swingingest cat in town. This period is something of a down time for your student musicians and thus a great time to let them invest deeply in their instrumental skills with the motivation of growing their skills for maximum contribution to the band program next year.
Entice them with ideas about next years marching show that could feature your superstars and their strengths. Consider bringing in the professionals for a master class subsidized by the band and encourage that pro to take on private students from the master class. Or you can bring the instrumentalists to your band room for a few hours and have kids sign up for 30 minute private lesson slots. These are good ideas to get the culture of your band one where people take lessons however I want to reinforce that you should really drive your top players to go outside the band program and put private instruction and growth in their personal lives – lessons at their house or the house of the professional. Remove yourself from the student-professional conversation after you’ve done introductions and watch that student blossom.
In addition to drill that works, I also offer trumpet lessons via Skype or in person and am available to help your star trumpet players reach new heights. Check out my trumpet website at www.mikegillespiemusic.com for audio clips and experience information. Your band is made up of student musicians so to elevate your band let’s elevate your student’s individual playing ability!