Tuesday, December 5, 2017

12/04/17 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 12/04/17

Since I was putting out multiple metaphorical fires at the start of rehearsal (stuck mouthpieces, lost fundraiser items, sick students, etc.) Mr. Witte took care of warming up the band this week. After that, our plan was to do a full run of each piece, fix up some spots, then move on to the next one in order to save some time at the end for a full run through in concert order. In spite of the craziness of the evening, we made it!

The main ideas for each of the pieces were:
1. Watch the director
2. Don't forget the dynamics
3. Make sure you're counting in the correct time signature
4. Count your rhythms carefully
5. Listen for the melody at all times
6. Did we say watch the director?!

Once that was done, we did a full run of all three pieces, with student introductions. This should be a great performance on Sunday!

Notes and announcements for the evening included:
  • There was no video for the week since we were on stage
  • The concert is at 2:00 PM this Sunday. Everyone needs to be in the Choir Room by 1:15 PM to warmup, tune, and go through some other things
  • Dress for Sunday is white from the waist up and black from the waist down (that means black pants, black socks, and black shoes)
  • Ladies may wear an all black dress if they prefer
  • Folders and music will be turned in the night of the concert so if you have anything else in your folder that you'd like to keep over break, make sure to take that out
Have a great week of preparation for the concert this weekend!

12/04/17 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 12/04/17
We started our warmup time this week with the Trunk Twist and The First Flow Study from the Breathing Gym followed by a quick bit of work on the ascending and descending musical alphabet and the first five notes of the Concert B flat scale.

Our plan with each piece was to do a full run, fix up some spots, then move on to the next one in order to save some time at the end for a full run through in concert order. Mission accomplished!


"Synergy" March was up first. We worked on making sure the band was playing at MY tempo throughout the song. There were spots where the band was going faster and other spots where things were slowing down. Always make sure you can see me while you're looking at your music! And don't forget the dynamics!

Winter Bells was up second. We played through a couple times to make sure the balance was good and we could hear everyone.

iJingle was the third piece. We worked more on the dynamics on this one and made sure we could hear both Jingle Bells and Ode to Joy throughout. Great work!

After running the pieces, we worked on how we're getting on and off the stage. Once that was done, we did a full run of all three pieces, with student introductions. I'm feeling really good about how we're doing and can't wait for Sunday!

Notes and announcements for the evening included:
  • There was no video for the week since we were on stage
  • The concert is at 2:00 PM this Sunday. Everyone needs to be in the Choir Room by 1:15 PM to warmup, tune, and go through some other things
  • Dress for Sunday is white from the waist up and black from the waist down (that means black pants, black socks, and black shoes)
  • Ladies may wear an all black dress if they prefer
  • Folders and music will be turned in the night of the concert so if you have anything else in your folder that you'd like to keep over break, make sure to take that out
Have a great week of preparation for the concert this weekend!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

11/27/17 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 11/27/17 We started this week's rehearsal with the Trunk Twist and the Elbow Grab exercises from The Breathing Gym and followed that up with the First Flow Study. We spent a little time with the plain, old version of the Concert E flat Major Scale before working our way through it with scale degrees 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 4, 1, 5, 1, 6, 1, 7, 1, 8. We then did the scale broken up into a three part round.

This week's rehearsal was what I like to call a backwards rehearsal. We started each piece near the end of the piece, then kept backing up closer and closer to the beginning. Here's the breakdown for each piece:

Impactus

  • Measure 74 - dynamics, freezing after the last note together
  • Measure 57 - marcato style
  • Measure 37 - legato style, mp dynamic level -- into Measure 45 - not too loud too fast
  • Measure 25 - marcato style
  • Measure 17 - legato style
  • Beginning and full run
Upon a Midnight Clear
  • Last two measures - it's time to let the clarinets shine!
  • Measure 52 - mp dynamic level
  • Measure 43 - p dynamic level
  • Measure 28 - accents
  • Measure 20 - staccato flute and oboe part
  • Beginning and full run
  • Be careful with the time signature changes on this one - don't start the 3/4 or 4/4 transitions early!
Seconds Out
  • Last three measures
  • Measure 179 - accented quarter note folks
  • Measure 135 - pass the melody from high voices to low voices - count carefully for the next entrance
  • Measure 109 - build the chords slowly - don't get too loud too fast
  • Measure 35 into 65 into 77 into 85
  • Beginning and full run


Our Video of the Week featured The United States Navy Band playing a mixture of Dueling Banjos and Jingle Bells! You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


Announcements for the week included:
  • Next week is our dress rehearsal on the stage - there is no need to dress up for the dress rehearsal! :) It's just a good way for us to practice everything for the concert in the performance space itself.
  • Concert dress for the concert is black from the waist down (pants, socks, and shoes), and a white top. Ties are encouraged, but not required for guys. Ladies may wear an all-black dress if they'd prefer.

We're in good shape - I'm looking forward to one more rehearsal to do some cleaning up of our music and then sharing it with our families and friends!

11/27/17 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 11/27/17 We started this week's rehearsal with the Trunk Twist and the Elbow Grab exercises from The Breathing Gym and followed that up with the First Flow Study. After that we did some work on going up and down the musical alphabet again - from A up to G and back down in a loop: out loud with my palms up and internally with my palms down. We finished with some work on notes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Concert B flat and some call and response rhythms.

"Synergy" March was up first. We started near the end (measure 27) and worked our way closer and closer to the beginning (measure 21, then 13, then 5, then the introduction). We worked on the various things in each section and also talked more about concert etiquette for the group, especially where instruments should be and when. We talked about a relaxed position, a ready position, and a playing position. We'll review that again next time.


Winter Bells was up next. That's what the group voted on for the title of our new song last week. We did a couple run throughs of the song and everything's good to go there!

iJingle was up last. We worked on this one like we did with "Synergy" March. We started with the last four measures, then went back a little bit more each time, starting at measure 63 (both songs overlapping), measure 31 and the transition through the cut we made from measure 35 to measure 63, measure 23 (Ode to Joy), measure 7 (Jingle Bells), then the beginning and a full run of the piece. We need to spend some more time on the introduction to this song next week and talk through the audience participation a bit more.

Our Video of the Week featured The United States Navy Band playing a mixture of Dueling Banjos and Jingle Bells! You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


Announcements for the week included:
  • Next week is our dress rehearsal on the stage - there is no need to dress up for the dress rehearsal! :) It's just a good way for us to practice everything for the concert in the performance space itself.
  • Concert dress for the concert is black from the waist down (pants, socks, and shoes), and a white top. Ties are encouraged, but not required for guys. Ladies may wear an all-black dress if they'd prefer.

We're in good shape - I'm looking forward to one more rehearsal to do some cleaning up of our music and then sharing it with our families and friends!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

11/20/17 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 11/20/17 We started this week's rehearsal with the Trunk Twist and the Wrist Grab exercises from The Breathing Gym and followed that up with the First Flow Study. After that we did some work on Concert E flat scale with the alternating 3 vs. 2 stuff from Seconds out, followed by some work on the bass part of Chorale #17 before putting all four parts together. It's great to have more lower instruments helping fill out the bottom of the band!

Seconds Out was up first this week. We started with a full run of the piece, then went back and worked on some spots. We reviewed trill fingerings for the woodwinds, worked on keeping the fast pace during the quieter sections, and worked on not peaking too soon with our dynamics, leaving room to grow for the really big spots.

Impactus was up second. We did a full run of that piece as well before digging in to a couple of spots. We also have a little trouble on this one when we go from the louder marcato sections into the quieter legato sections. The pulse needs to remain the same all the way through. We need to keep the pulse moving forward, even when it's smooth, or we lose the intensity. We spent some good time on the ending - trying to get those with moving quarter notes to accent and separate their notes while the whole notes are holding through.
Mr. Witte finished rehearsal with Upon a Midnight Clear. He did a full run of the piece, then went back to work on bopping some rhythms, subdividing 8th notes (the golf clapping), the flute style at measure 20, and then worked on measures 28 to the end with the best, most expressive sound possible.
Our Video of the Week featured a juggling street drummer. This is pretty impressive! You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


Announcements for the week included:
  • Fundraiser pick up is tonight - everything is on stage ready to take home.
  • Bring any old solo books you may have at home to your upcoming lessons so we can start hunting for music for solo and ensemble between now and Christmas.

We got more good work in this week. We have two more rehearsals to fine tune things and get ready for our first concert of the year!

11/20/17 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 11/20/17 We started this week's rehearsal with the Trunk Twist and the Wrist Grab exercises from The Breathing Gym and followed that up with the First Flow Study. After that we did some work on going up and down the musical alphabet again - from A up to G and back down in a loop: out loud with my palms up and internally with my palms down. We finished with some work on notes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Concert B flat and some call and response rhythms.

iJingle was the first piece up this week. We spent some time on the introduction since we hadn't worked on that yet, then worked our way through the various sections of the piece. We tried taking part of the middle section out and will officially be jumping from measure 34 to measure 63. Make sure you have that marked in your music.

Our original composition was up next. We had five title suggestions from last week so we played through the song a couple of times, then voted on our favorite choice for a title. The top two choices were pretty close - Winter Bells just barely beat out Colt March. The other three titles all tied for third place. So it's official - our song is now called Winter Bells. Congratulations to Angela (one of our clarinet players) for suggesting that title! "Synergy" March was up last. We started with Jump Start #3 together, focusing on the dynamics. We then tried a full run of the piece and worked on cleaning up a couple of spots.

Our Video of the Week featured a juggling street drummer. This is pretty impressive! You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


There was only one announcement for the week:
  • Fundraiser pick up is tonight - everything is on stage ready to take home.

Nice work this week. We have two more rehearsals to fine tune things and get ready for our first public performance!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

11/13/17 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 11/13/17 We started this week's rehearsal with the Trunk Twist and the Elbow Grab exercises from The Breathing Gym as well as another exercise titled Exhale Therapy. With this exercise we filled up with air evenly over four counts, suspended the air for four counts, emptied half way, then pushed the rest of the air out. It gave us a good chance to feel the abdominal muscles working. After that we did some work on Concert E flat scale, followed by some work on the tenor part of Chorale #17 before putting together the soprano, alto, and tenor parts. We'll catch the bass part next time. Seconds Out was the first piece up this week. We tried a little bit more of me conducting some measures in three and others in two at measure 5, and then throughout the rest of the piece. It makes more sense and should help with the rhythms in some spots. We'll explore more of that in our upcoming rehearsals. We worked on some spots with just the percussion, worked on trill fingerings in the woodwinds, then hit measures 21-37, measure 65 for the exposed clarinet entrance, measure 109 for the chord building, and 179 for more of the accented quarter notes. This is coming together nicely!

Mr. Witte then worked on Upon a Midnight Clear. He asked everyone to circle their dynamics, had the group "bop" their rhythms at measure 12 to work on precise starts to the notes, encouraged everyone to pass the baby (the melody) gently at measure 20 and other spots, being careful not to drop the baby (the melody)! 

Impactus was up last. We worked more on changing style, but not the tempo between measures 9 and 25, worked on balance at measure 45, and worked a bit on the transition at measure 57. 

Our Video of the Week featured a beatboxing flute player named Greg Patillo. It may be hard to tell from the video, but this is all happening at once, there are no overdubs. He's beatboxing and playing the flute at the same time. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.



Announcements for the week included:
  • Fundraiser pick up is next week, on Monday, November 20th. That will be on the stage and can be picked up during or after rehearsal.
  • LVW Preview Day is this Saturday. If you are in 8th grade and planning to go, make sure you register with LVW and let me know.

This was a great rehearsal - I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do with our three remaining rehearsals before our first concert!

11/13/17 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 11/13/17 We started this week's rehearsal with the Trunk Twist and the Elbow Grab exercises from The Breathing Gym as well as another exercise titled Exhale Therapy. With this exercise we filled up with air evenly over four counts, suspended the air for four counts, emptied half way, then pushed the rest of the air out. It gave us a good chance to feel the abdominal muscles working. After that we did some work on Concert B flat, C, D, E flat, and F (notes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). We finished up our warmup time with some work on going up and down the musical alphabet - from A up to G and back down again, in a loop. We did it out loud and worked on doing it out loud when my palm was up and silently when my palm was down. It helped us internalize the notes of the scale. While the winds were doing all that, the percussion players were all off with Mr. Schmandt, writing their parts for our new song. When they came back, we had them "air play" their parts while the winds played, then the percussion played while everyone else fingered along on their instruments, then we put it all together. I got several song title suggestions after rehearsal. We'll vote on that next week! "Synergy" March was up next. We did Jump Start #3 together, working on dynamics and accents. We split up the two parts between measures 5 and 12, then put them together. After that we worked on the back and forth stuff happening at measure 13. At measure 21, we talked about the three different parts layering on top of each other. We finished with a full run of the piece. We've made some major progress on this one!

iJingle was the last piece we worked on this week. We worked on Jingle Bells at measure 7, Ode to Joy at measure 23, the two overlapping each other at 35, and the switch between who's playing what at measure 63 versus measure 35. With the length of this song, we may cut some of the middle section where there's not much happening. We'll talk more about that next week.

Our Video of the Week featured a beatboxing flute player named Greg Patillo. It may be hard to tell from the video, but this is all happening at once, there are no overdubs. He's beatboxing and playing the flute at the same time. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


Announcements for the week included:
  • Fundraiser pick up is next week, on Monday, November 20th. That will be on the stage and can be picked up during or after rehearsal.
  • Thanks for the suggestions for the title of our song. We'll vote on that next week!

This was a great rehearsal - I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do with our three remaining rehearsals before our first concert!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

11/06/17 Mustang Band Rehearsal Notes

Mustang Band Notes for 11/06/17
We started this week's rehearsal with the whole body stretch (hands behind the back, bending forward, deep breaths) from The Breathing Gym as well as another exercise titled Inhale Therapy. With this exercise we tried to inhale while blocking the airway with a hand. With the resistance, we could feel the abdominal muscles working. When the hand was released, the air rushed in, giving us a feeling of how we should inhale every time we take a breath. We then reviewed the Concert E flat scale using the 3 vs. 2 rhythm from Seconds Out and then worked through the alto part for Chorale #17 before putting it together with the soprano part from last time.

Upon a Midnight Clear with Mr. Witte was the first piece of the evening. Mr. Witte talked about water balloons and how they fill up in every direction, just like when we take a breath the right way! He also worked on measures 52 and 43, talking about balance and dynamics.


Impactus was up next. We did a full run through on the piece first, then went back and worked on some spots. We focused on the legato style at measure 17 and trying not to let the pulse slow down there. We worked on keeping our softer dynamic levels lower so we had more room to grow on the louder dynamics without overblowing. 

Seconds Out was the last piece of the evening. We did a full run of that piece as well before going back to work on some sections. While the rhythms are coming along nicely, we have some counting issues on longer notes and making sure we release them at the right time. We worked on dynamics here too since it's such an important part of the impact of the piece (and every other piece in the history of music!!).


Our Video of the Week was a promotional video for The Lutheran Vanguard of Wisconsin, a summer marching group that students from KML can be a part of. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.



Announcements for the week included:
  • Fundraiser pick up is in two weeks, on Monday, November 20th.
  • LVW Preview Day (for our 8th graders) is on Saturday, November 18th. There's a free bus from Allenton to Appleton and there will be free pizza! Let Mr. Amundson know if you're interested in attending.

Have a great week!

11/06/17 Colt Band Rehearsal Notes

Colt Band Notes for 11/06/17 We started this week's rehearsal with the whole body stretch (hands behind the back, bending forward, deep breaths) from The Breathing Gym as well as another exercise titled Inhale Therapy. With this exercise we tried to inhale while blocking the airway with a hand. With the resistance, we could feel the abdominal muscles working. When the hand was released, the air rushed in, giving us a feeling of how we should inhale every time we take a breath. We finished our warmup time with some work on Concert B flat, C, D, E flat, and F (notes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) all together and split into two groups.

After that we spent some time talking about how to tune our instruments - what it means to be sharp or flat, and how to adjust the instruments.


Following that discussion, we wrote our own song for the December concert! We started with 8 blank measures on the screen, voted on whether we wanted two half notes or one whole note in each measure, then we voted on what notes we wanted. Next week, Mr. Schmandt will help the percussion come up with their parts for the song and we'll see how it sounds when we put it all together. 

Next we worked on "Synergy" March. We did Jump Start #1 and #2. We worked on a couple of sections splitting into the different groups (the intro and measure 5) before putting the groups together, then worked our way through the rest of the piece.

iJingle was the last piece we worked on. We had the melody people (flutes, clarinets, trumpets, and mallets) play what they had at measure 7 (Jingle Bells) and measure 23 (Ode to Joy) before we had everyone else join them in those two spots. Next week we'll get a chance to work on the spots where both songs are happening at the same time!

Our Video of the Week was a promotional video for The Lutheran Vanguard of Wisconsin, a summer marching group that students from KML can be a part of. You can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.


Announcements for the week included:
  • Fundraiser pick up is in two weeks, on Monday, November 20th.
  • Transposed parts for our new song will be available next week. Start thinking about potential song titles.

Have a great week!