Congratulations on graduating from 8th grade! It’s summer and you have taken a couple of weeks to savor your success but now is a good time to prepare for high school marching band season this fall.
Probably the only marching you have experienced in the past was a Memorial Day parade in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Though you did your best trying to co-ordinate stepping to the beat (marching) and playing the rhythms of the music at hand, the end result is many middle school bands sound good but look like a gaggle of ducks waddling down the street. Why? Well, most band directors shoot themselves in the foot. How? Understandably, they tell their band members not to keep the beat with their foot. (especially on stage… too noisy) After the spring concert there is little time to prepare for marching band.
Now, high school is two months away. How should you prepare? OK, check out the Patriotic Songs section in the Yankee Collection. This is a song book for elementary and intermediate school bands, but don’t feel like you are moving backwards, just reviewing a technique you may have missed in the first place.
Choose a military song like the “Marine’s Hymn”, Pg 73. You might already know it from memory (even better). Now stand up and play your song. I hope you were keeping a beat with your foot. Let’s double your pleasure by using both feet… first left, then right. Remember: Left heel is always down on beat one, (the strong beat). Play many marching songs in this fashion every day to develop a feel of the rhythm against the beat. Both are easy. Putting them together is the tricky part. In the end, your goal should be: marching is as natural and subconscious as walking. Focus until you “Feel” it.
High school marching band can be fun and stress free if you are prepared. No pun intended: “This is the first step.”
Have a Great year!