Tuesday, October 9, 2018

10/08/18 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 10/08/18

Our rehearsal this week began with an introduction to our fundraiser by Mr. Jack Schulze from Cherrydale. 
Every student received a packet of information as well as a note more specific to our program. The fundraiser will run for the next two weeks and will help pay for non-budgeted equipment and funding for assistance with the costs of the band program. Money raised the last few years has completely paid for all of our marching band equipment as well as some of the larger brass instruments. This fundraiser has also helped helped over ten families join our program with the financial assistance provided to them. Whoever has the most items sold at the half way point next Monday will received a $25 gift card. All you need to do is bring in the little sheet included in the packet.

We started our warmup session with the elbow across the body stretch and then went through the First Flow Study from The Breathing Gym, inhaling and exhaling evenly over 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 counts. We then worked our way through the Concert B flat Scale and Chorale #18, with everyone on the alto part, then split between the soprano and alto parts. We'll cover the tenor part next time!

After that we only had enough time to work on a few rhythmic things in Pulsate and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, but it was time well spent! In Pulsate, we worked on the syncopated rhythms that feel like they should be in 6/8 time and in We Wish You a Merry Christmas, we worked on the bass line at the beginning and the bass line with the background rhythms at measure 28. We also talked about the markings some people had in their parts that cut part of the song. We will be doing the whole song, as written, so if you have any markings telling you otherwise, please erase them!

Announcements for the week included:
  • Anyone who is interested in Jazz Band should let one of the band directors know as soon as possible. There was a sign-up sheet, but if you missed it, I'll have it out again next week.
  • We didn't do reflection sheets this week, but will start doing them next week. Make sure to grab a sheet on the way in and leave it with me on the way out next Monday.
  • Percussion members have already received information regarding purchases for their mallet kits. Please fill those out and return those as soon as you can.

Have a great week!

10/08/18 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 10/08/18

Our rehearsal this week began with some stretching and breathing exercises from the Breathing Gym. We did the elbow across the body stretch, then worked our way through the First Flow Study, evenly inhaling and exhaling for 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 counts. We then worked our way through the first five notes of the Concert B flat Scale using our transposition charts. We'll be working more on this to make sure everyone understands how transposition does or doesn't affect their instrument.

After that we worked on playing some call and response rhythms were I played a four beat rhythm pattern and the group repeated them back to me. We'll spend more time on these types of activities even as we get into our Winter Concert music in the coming weeks.


We finished our rehearsal with an introduction to our fundraiser by Mr. Jack Schulze from Cherrydale. Every student received a packet of information as well as a note more specific to our program. The fundraiser will run for the next two weeks and will help pay for non-budgeted equipment and funding for assistance with the costs of the band program. Money raised the last few years has completely paid for all of our marching band equipment as well as some of the larger brass instruments. This fundraiser has also helped helped over ten families join our program with the financial assistance provided to them. Whoever has the most items sold at the half way point next Monday will received a $25 gift card. All you need to do is bring in the little sheet included in the packet.

Announcements for the week included:
  • We have a store set up on Monday evenings between the two rehearsals. It will be open from 6:45 to 7:05 PM. If you need reeds, valve oil, or other supplies, you can usually get it there.
  • Percussion members got information regarding their stick bags and mallet purchases. Please return those forms and payment as soon as you can so we can make sure everyone has everything they need.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

10/01/18 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 10/01/18

We had our first playing rehearsal this week! Our rehearsal this week began with a couple of stretches from The Breathing Gym. We did the trunk twist and the elbow grab. We then worked our way through the Concert B flat Scale and the soprano part for Chorale #18. We'll add the alto part next week.

Our plan for this first rehearsal was to read through each of our three pieces together for the first time. We listened to some recordings of a couple of the pieces as well. Those can all be found on our website and in an earlier post on the blog. We made recordings of our first runs of each piece which will be interesting to listen to later as we get more comfortable with them! :) After we played each piece, students offered their thoughts on some of the challenges each piece would provide. Here are the lists:

Pulsate - rhythm, keeping track of which measure you're on in sections that have a lot of repetition, articulations (tonguing), dynamics, pulse

Gentle Winds - staying together on a slower piece, dynamics, sections where the notes split, pulse/rhythm

We Wish You a Merry Christmas - coming in at the right time after long rests, key change near the end, staccato style notes, rhythms, dynamics, slurs and ties

Announcements for the week included:
  • We didn't do reflection sheets this week, but will start doing them in a couple weeks. Make sure to grab a sheet on the way in and leave it with me on the way out when those start.
  • Percussion members have already received information regarding purchases for their mallet kits. Please fill those out and return those as soon as you can.
  • Once again, we have a store set up on Monday evenings between the two rehearsals. It will be open from 6:45 to 7:05 PM. If you need reeds, valve oil, or other supplies, you can usually get it there.

Have a great week!

10/01/18 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 10/01/18

We had our first playing rehearsal this week! 

We started our rehearsal with the procedures and expectations for our rehearsal space and our time together. Since we only meet for 50 minutes once each week, we need to maximize our time together. We talked about how we can do that. Each student received a green sheet that lists everything they need to know and do. If you missed rehearsal, you'll get one at your next lesson or rehearsal.

Next we did a couple of stretches from The Breathing Gym. We did the trunk twist and the elbow grab. As we get further into the year, we'll be talking about more stretching and breathing exercises to help everyone maximize their potential.

The next thing we did was work on what Concert Pitch means and how the different instruments transpose. We had a color-coded sheet that helped us with that. We'll review that each of the next few weeks to make sure everyone knows how it works.

After that we moved on to working on songs together in the lesson book. We worked on a few songs on pages 6 in Tradition of Excellence, Book 1. We're off to a good start and will keep working on the book together for a bit yet before we tackle the sheet music that was in the folders that were handed out this week.


Announcements for the week included:
  • We have a store set up on Monday evenings between the two rehearsals. It will be open from 6:45 to 7:05 PM. If you need reeds, valve oil, or other supplies, you can usually get it there.
  • Percussion members got information regarding their stick bags and mallet purchases. Please return those forms and payment as soon as you can so we can make sure everyone has everything they need.

That's it for this week. See you next Monday!

The 2018 Winter Concert Sample Recordings Are Online!

Welcome to the 2018-2019 band year!!

Full sample recordings for all of the pieces we're working on in Colt Band and Mustang Band rehearsals as potential songs for our December concert can now be found online. You can find them all on our main website (www.kmlhs.org/kmlesbands) in the Instruments and Music section or using the links below. They are all in mp3 format, so you should be able to download them and listen to them with whatever kind of device you would like. Depending on your device and browser, you may even be able to listen to them by just clicking on the name of the song below. Let Mr. Amundson know if you have any trouble with the recordings.


Colt Band

Symphonic Variants - Full Speed ~ Slower Speed
Merry Kisimusi - Full Speed ~ Slower Speed

Mustang Band

Pulsate - Full Speed ~ Slower Speed
Gentle Winds - Full Speed
We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Full Speed ~ Slower Speed

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

04/16/18 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 04/16/18
We started off this week by moving the wind players over to the Choir Room so Mr. Schmandt could spend some time with the percussionists in the Band Room. The winds started their rehearsal time with The Trunk Twist and The Elbow Grab from The Breathing Gym, followed by the First Flow Study - evenly breathing in and out for 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 counts while moving our arms up and down slowly. After that we reviewed some Cut Time rhythm exercises using the Concert B flat Scale.

With Family Music Fest out of the way (GREAT JOB AT THAT PERFORMANCE, BY THE WAY!) we were able to focus on our three pieces for the Spring Concert coming up in just a couple of weeks.


We started with A Song for Friends without the percussionists who were still working with Mr. Schmandt. This piece is becoming very musical. I had goosebumps at several points during our rehearsal of this piece. I'm very excited about the way the band is playing this piece with emotion!

After that the wind players moved back into the Band Room to work on Meeting at Tryon Palace with the percussion. We started near the end and worked our way toward the beginning. We focused on expression, dynamics, groove, accents, and all the things that make this song so cool. This has come a LONG way the last few weeks!

We ended with some time on The Marines' Hymn. We started this one near the end as well and made sure we could hear the melody at all times. We're doing a much better job of holding this one together. The next step is to bump the tempo up. We'll work on that next time!

We've got one more rehearsal next week to fine tune things. This is going to be a great concert!

Our Video of the Week featured Bobby McFerrin and his demonstration of the universal nature of the pentatonic scale at a science festival. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.



Notes and announcements for the evening included:
  • We'll be on stage next week for our dress rehearsal (and you don't need to dress up for that!)
  • Our Spring Concert is on Tuesday, April 24th
    • Meet in the Band Room at 5:45 PM
    • The concert starts at 6:30 PM
    • Clothing should be white on top and black on the bottom (pants, socks, and shoes). Guys are encouraged to wear ties. Ladies may wear an all-black dress if they'd prefer.

Have a great week - let's finish off our year with another great rehearsal!

04/16/18 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 04/16/18
We started off this week with The Trunk Twist and The Elbow Grab from The Breathing Gym, followed by the First Flow Study - evenly breathing in and out for 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 counts while moving our arms up and down slowly. After that we continued our work on solfege and the associated hand signs for the first five pitches in Concert B flat - first in order, then mixed up.

With Family Music Fest out of the way (GREAT JOB AT THAT PERFORMANCE, BY THE WAY!) we were able to focus on our three pieces for the Spring Concert coming up in just a couple of weeks.

American Spirit March was first. We started near the end and worked our way backward toward the beginning, noting the song at each point:

  • Measure 54 - Auld Lang Syne
  • Measure 46 - You're a Grand Old Flag
  • Measure 38 - My Country Tis of Thee
  • Measure 23 - Yankee Doodle
  • Measure 6 - America, the Beautiful
  • Beginning - The Star Spangled Banner
Next, we worked on Variations on Winter Bells. We did the original version, then worked on Variation 3, then went back to the original version before moving on to Variation 2, then did the same before moving on to Variation 1. Then we put the whole thing together, with the 2 measure interludes. This sounds really cool!

The last piece was Valley Circle March. I had intended to start near the end of this one and march our way toward the beginning, but things were going so well we jumped all the way to the beginning after just a couple of sections.

We've got one more rehearsal next week to fine tune things. This is going to be a great concert!

Our Video of the Week featured Bobby McFerrin and his demonstration of the universal nature of the pentatonic scale at a science festival. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.



Notes and announcements for the evening included:
  • We'll be on stage next week for our dress rehearsal (and you don't need to dress up for that!)
  • Our Spring Concert is on Tuesday, April 24th
    • Meet in the Band Room at 5:45 PM
    • The concert starts at 6:30 PM
    • Clothing should be white on top and black on the bottom (pants, socks, and shoes). Guys are encouraged to wear ties. Ladies may wear an all-black dress if they'd prefer.

Have a great week - let's finish off our year with another great rehearsal!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

04/09/18 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 04/09/18
We started off this week with The Trunk Twist and The Wrist Grab from The Breathing Gym, followed by Monitoring Flow, breathing in/out: 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, and 1/4 beats. After that we worked a little bit on the Concert F Major Scale before jumping into our pieces for the night.

We started off with Castles and Dragons since we're performing it on Friday at Family Music Fest. We ran the piece then worked on dynamics, transitions, and getting the correct notes for the key signature (clarinet/trumpets - F#, flutes - E naturals).


The Legend of Castle Armagh, our second piece for Family Music Fest, was up second. After a run of the piece we worked on dynamics, transitions, staccato and marcato style, and more dynamics. We're good at the loud stuff - we need to be better about playing quieter at times.

A Song for Friends was up next. We worked on watching better so I can stretch things more. We decided to tie the last two fermata notes together if your note stays the same. If you have two different notes, you'll still tongue the last note. We have to be better about playing much softer at measure 25.

Meeting at Tryon Palace was up last. We're really quite good at some spots and other spots need a lot of work yet. Make sure you're working on your individual parts at home so we can focus on putting it all together at KML, not trying to learn our parts in the group setting.

Our Video of the Week was a little unique. It answers the age-old question, "Is mayonnaise an instrument?" You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.



Notes and announcements for the evening included:
  • Family Music Fest is on Friday!
    • Meet in the Band Room at 4:40 PM
    • We play (in the gym) at 5:10 PM
    • No formal concert clothing is necessary - come in whatever you wear to school on Friday or dress up in something medieval to fit the theme for the night (knight, princess, dragon, etc.)
  • We have only two rehearsals left before our Spring Concert on April 24th!
  • After the Spring Concert, we have four rehearsals to prepare for the West Bend Memorial Day Parade. Start working on memorizing The Marines' Hymn!
See you on Friday!

04/09/18 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 04/09/18
We started off this week with The Trunk Twist and The Wrist Grab from The Breathing Gym, followed by Monitoring Flow, breathing in/out: 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, and 1/4 beats. After that we continued our work on solfege and the associated hand signs for the first five pitches in Concert B flat - first in order, then mixed up.

With Family Music Fest coming up on Friday, our first order of business was to work on the pieces for that performance. We started with Heroes and Glory. We did a full run, then talked about and worked on playing the mf dynamic softer, listening for the melody (and not burying it), and watching out for the rhythms where the rhythm changes to two 8th notes followed by a quarter note instead of the quarter coming first like it does in the other spots.


Castles and Kings was up second. We did the same thing with that piece. We worked on our dynamics and the melody at measure 35. People with melody there - keep working on that!

Next we took a look at the latest version of Variations on Winter Bells. There is now a small interlude between each variation. The second variation seems to be the most difficult for most people - slow it down to fix it up, then speed it up again. You'll get it!

Valley Circle March was the last piece of the evening. We ran the piece then went back to try to get less sound from our percussion section and more from most of the other parts. There's a chunk in the middle that we need to spend more time on in our last two rehearsals before the Spring Concert.

Our Video of the Week was a little unique. It answers the age-old question, "Is mayonnaise an instrument?" You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


Notes and announcements for the evening included:
  • Family Music Fest is on Friday!
    • Meet in the Band Room at 4:40 PM
    • We play (in the gym) at 5:10 PM
    • No formal concert clothing is necessary - come in whatever you wear to school on Friday or dress up in something medieval to fit the theme for the night (knight, princess, dragon, etc.)
  • We have only two rehearsals left before our Spring Concert on April 24th!
See you on Friday!

Monday, March 19, 2018

03/19/18 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 03/19/18
We started off this week with The Trunk Twist and The Elbow Grab from The Breathing Gym, followed by Monitoring Flow, breathing in/out: 4/4, 4/3, 4/2, and 4/1 beats. After that we continued our work on solfege and the associated hand signs for all of the Concert B flat, E flat, and F Major Scales.

We made it through all five our pieces this week! We started with A Song for Friends. Our focus was allowing for more stretching throughout the piece and making sure we were using all the correct notes for the key signature!

The Legend of Castle Armagh was up second. We worked on the beginning of the piece and making sure the clarinets played their rhythms correctly. We talked about watching out for the dynamics and making sure we don't peak too early. We spent some time on the transitions into and out of the faster middle section. Everything needs to be crisp in that middle section - especially the staccato notes and those with the tent accents.

Castles and Dragons was the next piece. We have key signature issues on this one at times as well, especially in the trumpets, alto saxophones, and flutes. We spent some time getting through the end of the slower part and into the faster part at measure 45. We need more crescendo (which also requires us to play the p parts softer) at measures 73 and 74. We also worked on the tuning of the final chord of the piece.

The Marines' Hymn was much better this week. We had a strong foundation in the bass drum and the snares are getting their offbeats closer to where we need them to be. Dynamics were the key in this one as well. Sense a recurring theme? :)

We finished up our rehearsal with some time on Meeting at Tryon Palace. I wasn't sure we'd get to this piece and we ended up with over 10 minutes to work on it! We started at the Groovin'! section at measure 17. We talked about accenting the entrances at measure 41 (and measure 151) so they pop a bit more. We worked on the flow and the passing of the melody at measure 67 and how the music is similar, but the instrument roles switch, at measure 83. This is going to be a great piece!

We were on stage this week so we didn't have a video of the week.

Notes and announcements for the evening included:
  • Make sure you bring a pencil to every rehearsal.
  • It's not too late to sign up for the WELS Summer Band Camp!
  • We are off the next two Mondays - March 26 and April 2.
  • April 9 will be our last rehearsal before Family Music Fest on Friday, April 13.
See you all in a few weeks!