Blog

Minute Clinic – Phrasing

I have spent a lot of time in a lot of band rooms and on practice fields this fall, and one of the things that I have to work on the most with every group I rehearse is phrasing. More specifically the end of the phrase, but I’ll get to that in a moment. When…

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Minute Clinic – Why Do All Articulations Sound The Same?

One of the things I have noticed over the past 5 to 10 years when I hear my pieces performed is that most articulations in the music are pretty much played the same – hard and short! Obviously this is not what composers intend when they write a staccato, marcato or an accent, but this…

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Minute Clinic – Intonation

So what really is good intonation in an ensemble? Pitch matching! I highly recommend that you stop trying to tune every instrument with a tuner and also stop putting the responsible for tuning the instruments on yourselves. Put it where it belongs, and that is on the students, but first you must teach them what…

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Minute Clinic – What Good is Marching Band?

Another school year is off and running and you know what that means? Football! Oh, and yes marching band. Many band directors have a love, hate relationship with marching band and there are many who wish it was not even part of what we have to do in music education. Others love it to the…

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Minute Clinic – Sound Out of Silence

How often have you heard groups set up, get ready for the first note, the conductor gives them the preparatory gesture and then they haphazardly comes in or the first sound they make is harsh and non-musical? With wind players this happens for three reasons – 1. They don’t take a rhythmic breath (breathe together…

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Minute Clinic – Warm-Ups

As the start of the new school year gets underway and bands across America are having their band camps, of which I have helped out with a few this year, I am reminded of the necessity of good quality fundamentals. Please make good focused warm-ups and fundamental drills part of your band’s routine this fall!…

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Premiere of "Legacy of Honor"

I had the privilege to travel to Menomonie, Wisconsin on July 30th to premiere a new piece I wrote called “Legacy of Honor”. It was commissioned by the Ludington Guard Band to celebrate their 125th anniversary of existence. I felt very honored to be a part of this historic event. It was a wonderful experience.…

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Marches – The Key to A Successful Band Program

Marches are an important part of the American concert band literature, but might be one of the most misplayed genres in the band repertoire. Many directors and students feel that marches are both predictable and not exciting to play. This is only true if they are played incorrectly, which comes from a complete lack of…

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Duets – The Start of Chamber Music in Your Band Program

In my experience as an instrumental music teacher, I found that having students play in small chamber music groups was a very beneficial exercise to improve the student’s overall musicianship. The simplest form of chamber music is the duet. It is an opportunity for the student to play with a teacher or to play with…

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Making Musical Connections with a Middle School Band

One of the most elusive aspects of performance in the middle school band is the students’ ability to understand how to make musical connections—that is, the relationships and performance implications of notes, chords, etc. within a phrase. In the initial and middle stages of learning how to play a wind instrument, students seem to perceive…

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