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!

03/19/18 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt 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 the first five pitches in Concert B flat - first in order, then mixed up. We finished our warmup time with some call and response rhythms led by me, and then by more student volunteers!

Heroes and Glory was up first. We did a full run of the piece, then went back to work on a few spots. We talked a lot about dynamics and making sure it's not all loud all the time. We need to be quieter on our mf so there's room to grow when we have a crescendo or a louder dynamic marking.

Castles and Kings was up next. We worked on this one at a slower tempo to get everyone more comfortable. We worked on being quieter at measure 17, the melody at measure 35, and the little fanfare rhythm at measure 43.

American Spirit March was next. We still have some people not holding their whole notes out all the way, which pulls things apart in some spots. Count carefully! We talked about the entrances in the clarinets and saxophones in the measure before 46 and a few measures later in the flutes and oboes. We also worked on the counting of the quarter-half-quarter rhythm four measures from the end. The melody of each tune is coming through nicely.

We ended our rehearsal by running through the new variations on Winter Bells. Congratulations to Ethan E., Eden B., and Dan H. on having their variations selected for the band to play. We'll work on putting this all together in the coming weeks.

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!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

03/12/18 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 03/12/18
We started off this week with The Trunk Twist and The Elbow Across the Body Stretch from The Breathing Gym, followed by a new breathing/lung stretching exercise. For this exercise, we inhaled for 5 counts, held the breath for 15 counts (sipping a little more air every 5 counts), then exhaled for 5 counts. We did three repetitions of that. 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.

A Song for Friends was up first this week. We talked about what rubato means - stretching the tempo - and worked on an exercise practicing that before we tried it with the piece. There's some really great stuff happening in this piece. This will be really nice once we've got the stretching included and we're all together!

Castles and Dragons was up second. We did a full run of the piece and then went back to work on some sections. We spent some time working on the transition between the slower opening and the faster section in the middle, then worked on the transition back into the D.S. and the slower part again. We also spent some time on the ending to make sure that all makes sense with the timpani solo.

Meeting at Tryon Palace was up second. This one is still pretty new to us. The groove part is actually coming together quite well. The staggered entrances at measure 41 and later at measure 151 were kind of tricky so we spent some time on those. There's a style change at measure 67 we need to work on a bit more - it's smoother and more flowing but can't slow down. We worked on the transition into measure 105 where it does actually slow down and then the transition back to the faster tempo at measure 126.

The Marines' Hymn is probably one of our easiest pieces, but it's proving to be the hardest to keep together. We really need the percussion section to anchor down the tempo for us and then we'll be fine. Everyone needs to spend some time on this one individually before our next rehearsal.

We spent our last few minutes working on the middle section of The Legend of Castle Armagh - measures 28 to 55. There's lots of good articulation style stuff going on in this section! We'll do the whole piece next time.

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!
  • Solo and Ensemble is coming up this Saturday, March 17th.
Have a great week!

03/12/18 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 03/12/18
We started off this week with The Trunk Twist and The Elbow Across the Body Stretch from The Breathing Gym, followed by a new breathing/lung stretching exercise. For this exercise, we inhaled for 5 counts, held the breath for 15 counts (sipping a little more air every 5 counts), then exhaled for 5 counts. We did three repetitions of that. After that we continued our work on solfege and the associated hand signs for the first five pitches in Concert B flat. We finished our warmup time with some call and response rhythms led by me, and then by more student volunteers!

Heroes and Glory was up first. We did a full run of the piece, then went back to work on a few spots. We worked on the back-and-forth stuff at measure 21 and popping the accents more near the end at measure 39.

Castles and Kings was up next. We did a full run of that one as well, then went back to work on a few spots. Keeping the tempo at the beginning was the first task. Getting softer at measure 9 was the next thing, followed by getting even softer at measure 17. We worked on the style at measure 35 and strong entrances at measure 43.

Valley Circle March was the last piece on the agenda. We did a full run of this one also. We talked about how the song was a musical sandwich and the section at measure 29 was the meat in the middle. The flutes and oboes have a tough section at measure 39 and were encouraged to work on that at home this week. The percussion did a great job with their little soli section at measure 51!

We actually had time to do a quick run of American Spirit March. We'll work more on this next time. We had some trouble counting the longer notes the correct length and had trouble keeping our tempo steady. We'll get there!

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!
  • Solo and Ensemble is coming up this Saturday, March 17th.
  • Variations on Winter Bells were due this week. I'll be putting that together so I can pass it out to everyone next Monday.
Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

03/05/18 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 03/05/18
We started off this week with The Trunk Twist and The Elbow Grab from The Breathing Gym, followed by the 1st Flow Study - evenly inhaling and exhaling for 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 counts. After that we worked our way through the entire Concert B flat, E flat, and F Major Scales with solfege. We finished our warmup time with Chorale #2 - everyone on bass the first time, then split into four parts.

The Legend of Castle Armagh was up first. We focused on the transitions this week and how we get from the slow to the fast and back to the slow. After that we ran through the entire piece.


A Song for Friends was up second. We talked about flow, style, and balance before we started in. We spent a little time on the key change happening between measures 25 and 33, worked out the double fermata at the end, then did a full run. We'll work on stretching the tempo in spots next time.


Meeting at Tryon Palace was our last piece of the night. Here's the breakdown on what we did with that one:


  • Measure 17 - the groove
  • Measure 41 - staggered entrances
  • Measure 51 - heroic theme in the alto saxes and trumpets playing clarinet parts
  • Measure 67 - style change
  • Measure 105 - tempo and style change

Our Video of the Week featured something called animated sheet music - you get to see the notes appear on the staff as they're played. It featured the music of Charlie Parker, a famous jazz musician. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


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!
  • Solo and Ensemble is coming up on Saturday, March 17th.
Have a great week!

03/05/18 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 03/05/18
We started off this week with The Trunk Twist and The Elbow Grab from The Breathing Gym, followed by the 1st Flow Study - evenly inhaling and exhaling for 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 counts. After that we continued our work on solfege and the associated hand signs for the first five pitches in Concert B flat. We finished our warmup time with some call and response rhythms led by me, and then by some student volunteers!

American Spirit March was up first. We went through the piece and labeled which songs were where and then worked our way through each of them. Here's the list:


  • Beginning - The Star Spangled Banner
  • Measure 6 - America, the Beautiful
  • Measure 22 - Yankee Doodle
  • Measure 38 - My Country 'Tis of Thee
  • Measure 46 - You're a Grand Old Flag
  • Measure 54 - Auld Lang Syne (which is still technically part of You're a Grand Old Flag)

Castles and Kings was up second. We started with a full run of the piece, then went back to work on some spots. There were some accidentals (added sharps/flats/naturals) in measures 23 and 24 to fix up. We also talked about the different styles at measure 35 - some have separated staccato notes and others have nice long slurs. We worked on the accents at the end. We also worked on playing quieter at measure 17.

Our Video of the Week featured something called animated sheet music - you get to see the notes appear on the staff as they're played. It featured the music of Charlie Parker, a famous jazz musician. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


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!
  • Solo and Ensemble is coming up on Saturday, March 17th.
  • Variations on Winter Bells are due next Monday!
Have a great week!