Elkhart High School

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Handbooks

Elkhart BIG RED Band
Handbooks
 
Our Band Handbooks are located below.  The Elkhart BIG RED Band Handbook outlines our band policies and procedures in great detail.  Almost any question you would have about how the program is run is addressed in that handbook.  If you cannot find your answer there (it is vast...), please contact me!
 
The Marching Handbook was put together several years ago in an attempt to "go back to the basics" with our fundamental marching.  All of our important fundamentals are addressed...again, in great detail...in that handbook.  Especially if you are a rookie marcher, but even if you just want a refresher, please take a read at the Marching Handbook. 
 
Enjoy...
 
 
 
 
 
 

Elkhart ISD


Band Handbook


Updated 8/25/20

 

Elkhart BIG RED Band Student Handbook



Band Policy and Mission Statement


In order to assist band members and parent in understanding areas of responsibility, a statement of band policy is herein set forth.  Becoming familiar with this policy will enable each individual to make the most of this great opportunity to be a member of the Elkhart High School BIG RED Band, becoming a better person and a better musician.


We firmly believe that each student should improve through regular practice.  When the student has lost the will to improve him/herself or to make a better contribution to the band, he or she is wasting the time and effort of fellow members.  The happiest student is one who improves through regular habits of practice and daily progress.  He or she must not only know right from wrong, but must be able to stand for principles and develop a high sense of purpose toward which he or she is willing to work.  Responsibility is the focus behind any level of achievement within this program.  We intend to conduct ourselves in a manner that will facilitate the learning of all students. 



Objectives of the Elkhart BIG RED Band Program


-  To teach music through performance

-  To develop performance skills on the various wind and percussion instruments

-  To provoke for the musical needs of the school and the community

-  To develop discrimination with regard to the selection of music

- To acquaint the students with music theory/history and how history and musical composition relate to students' lives and musical experience

- To provide all students with the opportunity for worthy use of their time, a means for self-expression, and a healthy social experience

- To develop the ability to function as a responsible member of a group, enhance interaction and develop espirit de corps

- To foster leadership skills within each student

- To foster a life-long love of music appreciation and music performance




Twelve Benefits of Music Education

(by:  Carolyn Phillips)


1. Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning. It is thought that brain development continues for many years after birth. Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain's circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds.



  1. There is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things). This kind of intelligence, by which one can visualize various elements that should go together, is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced mathematics problems to being able to pack a book-bag with everything that will be needed for the day.


  2. Students of the arts learn to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions, rejecting outdated rules and assumptions. Questions about the arts do not have only one right answer.

  3. Recent studies show that students who study the arts are more successful on standardized tests such as the SAT. They also achieve higher grades in high school.


  4. A study of the arts provides children with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures. This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to development of greed and a "me first" attitude, provides a bridge across cultural chasms that leads to respect of other races at an early age.


  5. Students of music learn craftsmanship as they study how details are put together painstakingly and what constitutes good, as opposed to mediocre, work. These standards, when applied to a student's own work, demand a new level of excellence and require students to stretch their inner resources.


  6. In music, a mistake is a mistake; the instrument is in tune or not, the notes are well played or not, the entrance is made or not. It is only by much hard work that a successful performance is possible. Through music study, students learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence and the concrete rewards of hard work.


  7. Music study enhances teamwork skills and discipline. In order for an orchestra to sound good, all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning music, attending rehearsals, and practicing.


  8. Music provides children with a means of self-expression. Now that there is relative security in the basics of existence, the challenge is to make life meaningful and to reach for a higher stage of development. Everyone needs to be in touch at some time in his life with his core, with what he is and what he feels. Self-esteem is a by-product of this self-expression.


  9. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace. It focuses on "doing," as opposed to observing, and teaches students how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are looking for multi-dimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create as described above. In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another.


  10. Music performance teaches young people to conquer fear and to take risks. A little anxiety is a good thing, and something that will occur often in life. Dealing with it early and often makes it less of a problem later. Risk-taking is essential if a child is to fully develop his or her potential.


  11. An arts education exposes children to the incomparable.

Carolyn Phillips is the author of the Twelve Benefits of Music Education. 

She is the Former Executive Director of the Norwalk Youth Symphony, CT.


Research from the University of Toronto showed that children who studied music have higher IQ’s as adults. Music feeds the soul and brightens imaginations. Music is a tremendous vehicle to open up your child’s mind to many new wonders.


Elkhart Band Curriculum


Elkhart High School


Marching Band

Membership in the marching band requires strenuous physical exercise and the ability to play the difficult literature encountered in the activity by memory.  All students enrolled in the band program are required to participate in the marching band.  The marching band is the primary performance group in the fall semester.  Required performances include all Elkhart pep rallies and football games, local parades, invitational style marching contests and the UIL Region 21 Marching Contest.  Participation in Elkhart Summer Band Camp is mandatory for this group.  Failure to participate in the Summer Band Camp will result in being removed from the marching show and could result in removal from the band program!


Concert Band

Once marching season is done, concert season begins and the concert band becomes the primary performance group at Elkhart ISD.  Concert band ends the fall semester and continues through the spring semester.  Students should have the performing ability to play grade 1 (easily), grade 2 (slightly challenging), grade 3 (challenging…this is the grade level that we strive to attain) and grade 4 (very challenging) music.  Required performances include the Winter and Spring Concert, invitational style concert contests and the UIL Region 21 Concert and Sight Reading Contest.  


Marching band and concert band are different functions of the same group.  HS Band includes marching band, and concert band.  The HS Band meets 1st period (8am-9am) and has additional after-school rehearsals depending on the season.


Jazz Band

Jazz Band is a sub group from our main band group.  You MUST be a member of the Elkhart HS BIG RED Band in order to join the Jazz Band.  Instrumentation is also a limiting factor.  Jazz Band instrumentation includes Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax, Trombone, Trumpet, Piano, Guitar, Bass and Drums.  This is NOT a beginner band class, so if you are interested in Jazz Band, you will need to have some sort of experience on the instruments listed above.  


Performance opportunities include our Winter/Spring Concerts as well as invitational style music festivals...possibly a jazz specific festival, depending on what’s available.


Applied Music/Music Theory

Applied Music class is a smaller, more individualized music class.  Students MUST be currently enrolled in band and must participate in several required individual performances, including auditioning for the ATSSB All-Region Band, and performing at the UIL Solo & Ensemble contest.  


Applied Music students will also receive some basic music theory training.  More advanced students and potential collegiate music majors will gain the most from Applied Music as it will help them to "dig deeper" and improve musically as well as help to prepare them for college level music theory and/or a music scholarship audition.  


While more advanced students will get the most out of Applied Music, struggling students will also find the more individualized and intense rehearsal times very beneficial.  Applied Music students make up the bulk of All-Region band students from Elkhart and the class has placed 90% of its membership in the ATSSB All-Region band over the last few years.  In other words, Applied Music will greatly increase your chance to become a member of the All-Region band and its primary purpose is to make the students better individual musicians.


Theory students who qualify for the UIL Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest on their instrument are also entered into the UIL State Theory competition that happens during TSSEC.  This is another opportunity to get a medal at a UIL State event.


All-Region, All-Area, & All-State Band

All Elkhart BIG RED Band students are eligible and highly encouraged to audition for the ATSSB (Association of Texas Small-School Bands) All-State Band.  The ATSSB auditions are considered an individual event and not a full band event.  Audition material should be prepared by the student outside of normal band rehearsal time.  Band directors are here to assist the students with the preparation of All-Region music, but it is on a first come-first served basis and an appointment must be made with a director in advance.


This process begins with All-Region auditions in November/December.  Students are given a series of musical etudes and will perform these etudes to a panel of 5 judges who will rank their performance alongside their peers from other schools in the region according to their level of performance.  Students who place high enough in the All-Region band are certified to the All-Area auditions in early January where the student will be given the opportunity to audition for the ATSSB All-State Band.  


Students who make the All-Region band will perform a concert in January while All-State students will do an additional concert in San Antonio in February.  Needless to say, membership in the All-Region and All-State Bands are a huge accomplishment.  Auditions for ATSSB is not required, but highly encouraged.


The Jazz Band has a separate All-Region/Area/State audition process, but it’s largely the same as the Band’s version.  The Region/Area auditions are usually conducted in early October.


Solo and Ensemble

All Elkhart BIG RED Band students are eligible and highly encouraged to prepare and perform either a solo or an ensemble for the UIL Region 21 Solo & Ensemble contest.  While this is a UIL event, it is still considered an individual event and music should be prepared by the students outside of normal band rehearsal time.  Similar to All-Region music, the directors are available for help.  


The entire month of January is dedicated to UIL Solo & Ensemble.  Students have ample time during class to prepare their music for this contest. Even though the students have this time for rehearsal available in class, it is no substitute for after-school practice.


Students are given a solo or ensemble chosen by the band directors to rehearse and perform for UIL.  Most solos require a piano accompaniment for its performance.  EISD will hire a piano player to play these accompaniments for the Region contest.  Solo students also have access to a music program called SmartMusic that can also act as their accompaniment for UIL.  The students will have access to SmartMusic at school before and after school as well as any other time throughout the day when the full band is not in rehearsal.  Students in a small ensemble have no need for SmartMusic.  


COMMERCIAL ALERT:  SmartMusic is a computer program that you can purchase and have access to at home.  While SmartMusic is initially an expensive program, parent and students can be added to our existing school account giving you access to SmartMusic for a very reasonable rate.  Please contact the band directors for more information.  <END COMMERCIAL!>


Even though the school will hire a live accompanist for the UIL Region 21 solos,   solos that require accompaniment that qualify for State will have to acquire a piano accompanist on their own.  We can arrange for an accompanist, but the student will be required to pay any fees that the accompanist charges.


In addition to the region level of UIL Solo & Ensemble, students who memorize and are awarded a 1st division on a Class 1 solo are then able to perform their solo at the State UIL Solo & Ensemble contest in late May.  This contest is much higher profile and the best performing students in the state are awarded the "Outstanding Performer" medal and are considered individual state champions in that event!  


Summer Camps

There are many good summer music camps offered by many colleges and universities.  We strive to hold our camps in-house so that we can control the curriculum, tailor the instruction to suit our system, as well as keep overall costs down, both for the district and the students.  Extra participation in summer music camps is HIGHLY encouraged, but must be funded by the student.  


Our main summer camp is the Elkhart Summer Band Camp, and it is required of all Elkhart BIG RED Band members.  Generally speaking, starting on the first day of August (first weekday) and lasting until school starts.  The camp times are 2pm to 9pm.  During this camp, we will review marching fundamentals, learn “The Book” for the upcoming marching season.  ("The Book" refers to all of the music that we will play during marching season), and start working on our halftime/UIL performance.  


This is why attendance to Elkhart Summer Band Camp is so important.  At this level, even one absence can put a student VERY far behind and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to catch up.  Failure to attend our Full Summer Band Camp will result in removal from the show and could result in removal from the band program.  


Other important summer camps include a preliminary Rookie Camp which meets during the first full week of June from 10am-2pm and is mandatory for all incoming freshmen and all leadership team members.  This portion of camp is designed to get incoming freshmen up to speed on our marching and musical fundamentals so that our regular summer band camp goes more smoothly.  


Also meeting during the summer, usually in late July, are our “Mini Camps”.  We will have a Woodwind, Brass, Drumline, Front Ensemble and Color Guard mini camp during the weeks before August 1.  Keep an eye on the Calendar of Events on the website for exact dates and times.  There is no marching during this camp…just music.


<Please refer to the online HS Band Calendar for a complete rehearsal schedule>


Private Lessons

As one might expect, private lessons on a musical instrument are the best way to improve individual performance skills.  The one-on-one approach allows the student to benefit from individual attention as opposed to being one in a class of more than fifty.  A recent survey of students in the All-State Band revealed that approximately 80% of the students in band studied privately.  Students are generally more inclined to practice diligently for a weekly music assignment, and this discipline increases the student's enjoyment with the instrument.  The band directors will be more than happy to assist in the selection of a private teacher.



Elkhart Middle School


Beginner Band

The Elkhart Beginner Band starts in 6th grade.  The primary focus of this group is to introduce the students to their respective instruments and teach them the fundamentals of that instrument.  While this is not a primary performance group at Elkhart, we will perform at the Winter and Spring concerts as well as participate in an adjudicated invitational style music festival. 


There are three (3) classes of beginner band at Elkhart.  The woodwind class consists of clarinet and saxophone, while the brass class consists of trumpet, trombone, and baritone.  Percussion is very limited and students are chosen through an audition, interview and the results of the Selmer Music Aptitude Survey that each student will take in their 5th grade music class, and the beginner flute players will share this class period.  


Other instruments such as bass clarinet, F horn, and tuba are taught at a later time.  Students interested in the bass clarinet are encouraged to enter the woodwind class and start on the clarinet while students interested in the F horn or tuba are encouraged to enter the brass class and start on the trumpet.  Transitioning from clarinet to another woodwind instrument or trumpet to another brass instrument is very smooth and very common.  


Middle School Band

The Elkhart Middle School Band consists of 7th and 8th grade student who have completed the Elkhart Beginner band class. The primary focus of this ensemble is to prepare the students for HS Band through performance.  As a result, the MS Band has more performance opportunities than the beginner band which include all Middle School pep rallies, the Winter and Spring Concerts as well as an invitational style Music Festival and UIL Concert & Sight Reading Contests. 


7th and 8th Graders have their own class period for band.  Depending on the instrumentation, we will sometimes play as individual classes or we will combine into one large group that rehearses separately from one another.  


In addition to the full band events, MS students have individual performance opportunities that include ATSSB Middle School All-Region Band and an invitational style Solo & Ensemble contest.  


Beginner Band and Middle School Band TEKS

The Beginner Band and Middle School Band are subject to TEKS as well.  The basic content is the same as the High School Band, but the objectives are modified for that grade level.  



General Rules and Procedures


All school rules laid out in the EISD Student Handbook must be observed within the band program.



Attendance Policy


The only excusable absences are prearranged school conflicts and those that would be excused by the school for regular attendance records, e.g., illness, a death in the family, or a religious holiday.  Individual needs will be addressed as they occur. This system is subject to modification by the director.  


For all absences, the following procedure must be followed by the student as well as the parent:


- The director must be notified in advance

- For illness, a parental note or doctor's note must be submitted

- Although cleared by the school office, absences from a band activity that same day must be cleared with the band director as well - please call the band hall

- In extreme cases, a phone message may be left on the band hall voice mail with a follow-up personal call

- Follow-up is the sole responsibility of the student and/or parent


All performances and rehearsals are mandatory and attendance is of the utmost importance.  If a student must miss a performance for ANY REASON, the band director must be notified as far in advance as possible.  Please keep in mind that notification of an absence is a professional courtesy and does not insure that the student's grade will not be altered.  In extreme cases, skipping a performance may result in being removed from the band program altogether.



Injury, Illness, and the Common Cold


There are situations that happen from time to time that make participating in our rehearsal either very difficult and painful, or downright impossible.  In those situations, I will need a note to clarify the situation and justify the student’s participation grade.  There are varying degrees of illness and injury.  In severe cases, in which students will need to miss several days or more of rehearsal, a doctor’s note will be required.


In the case of very minor issues (a sore throat, a cough, a broken fingernail), I expect the student to participate fully to the best of their ability.  “Just try your best” will be my reply to any minor affliction that may present itself.  It is not our intention to further injure a student, or to make their affliction worse, but I also feel that it teaches them to rise above their situation in a way that more closely simulate “real life”.  



Quitting Band


Being part of the Elkhart Band is a challenge.  Challenge is built into the equation; learning requires patience; problem solving is a key element to fulfillment; obstacles come our way every day.  World leader Winston Churchill gave a speech at his old school in the darkest days of WW2; he’d had a miserable time there and was considered a failure. He walked to the podium and surveyed the crowd of awe-struck students. “This is the lesson,” he said. “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense….”



But we also live in this world of entitlement: “’I deserve this.” “I want mine now!” “Children should have everything they want.” “It’s my responsibility to make my kids happy.” “Satisfy me now!”
 However, and experience proves this every time, pretty much everything worthwhile comes at the price of investment. It’s not just that the reward is sweeter after the long haul.  It turns out that the process of getting from A to B is intrinsically worthwhile - regardless of the payoff at the end.  


The key to success is perseverance, however, there are times we, and our children should quit something.  We do the math and realize the best option is to do something else.  But what are the guidelines?  


Here are 10 worth thinking about:


“Quitter” is a tough label to shake. Breaking a promise is a big deal; failing to follow through should never be brushed off. Quitting is never small potatoes.


Tenacity is a strong word for life: Thomas Edison famously “failed” 10,000 times on his way to inventing the light bulb. What if he had simply quit along the way?


This is a big life-lesson opportunity. If children don’t learn to follow through now, when they have our support, how will they become equipped to follow through as adults, when they must rely on what we taught them?


Make sure we understand the entire story! It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about network news, witnesses to an accident, or kids - the principle’s the same: one source of information is never enough.


Trust takes a long line of completions to build, but it only takes one broken promise to dismantle.


Quitting on impulse is never the right choice. Have your child outline the problem and then explain exactly why they believe quitting is their #1 option.


Kids usually quit for the wrong reason.  Try to get at the bottom of why your kids want to quit.  “It’s not fun anymore” may be code for “I don’t want to put in the extra time necessary to succeed.”


Challenging experiences invariably build character; the easy way out typically builds something else.  Want your children to be diamonds?  The only way is to have them take the pressure sometimes.


The more often children quit before completing a task, the less likely they are to finish the next one.  Quitting, like perseverance, can quickly form a habit.  Challenge your children not to give up too easily.


Sometimes your child needs to make a tough choice and walk away. Once in a while, quitting is simply the right thing to do. Maybe your child struggles immensely despite their very best efforts; maybe a pre-existing condition seriously limits your child’s success; maybe your child really is overcommitted; maybe there are principles of character he or she cannot compromise. If this is the case, your child needs your support and your help to make a gracious exit.


In the end, band is not for everyone.  We have very high standards and a very strong work ethic and there are students who just can’t (but more often than not, just don’t want to) live up to those standards.  In short, it’s hard work…unapologetically.


Please don’t misread that last paragraph.  Even if your child is not very musically talented, there is a place for them in the Elkhart BIG RED Band.  I feel that the band is a very important piece of their educational puzzle.  Not just in potential college scholarships, but in mental, emotional, and psychological development as well. 


The fact of the matter is this, if you work very hard…try your best…then not only will you no longer want to quit band, but you’ll love band.  



Conflicts With Band


Resolving conflicts between band and other activities or events is the responsibility of the student.  Rehearsal and Performance schedules are given out well in advance and are on the band's website for reference.  This is done so that students can plan their schedules and arrangements can be made to attend each band rehearsal and performance.  Students should have a band calendar and be aware of all band dates well ahead of schedule.  


It is the policy of the band director to assist students when conflicts occur within the scope of the band policy.  Students are reminded that band is a very demanding activity and that involvement in outside activities should be limited to those compatible with the band schedule.  All conflicts with performances must be resolved in favor of band participation.  Work is not an excuse for missing any band activity.


When there is a conflict between two school-sponsored events, allow time for the band directors and the conflicting sponsor to work it out.  This takes time, so make sure you look ahead to any future conflicts so that the sponsors will be able to plan around it and resolve the scheduling conflict.  Plan ahead.



Grading Policy


Grades are assigned for the band class and performances, which are considered co-curricular.


Participation (60%) - If a student attends class punctually, has all of their materials every day (instrument, music, pencil), and is not a disruption in class, they will receive a “100”.  Tardiness, lack of effort, lack of preparation and/or missing equipment will result in points taken off.


Rehearsals/Performance (40%) - All after-school rehearsals (Monday night & Thursday morning) are graded rehearsals and as such are considered test grades.  Attending and being on time to these rehearsals will result in a “100”.  For every minute late to the rehearsal that a student is, points will be taken off of the grade.  Not attending the rehearsal will result in a “0” for that rehearsal.  


The same basic policy applies to performances.  Missing a performance, without prior notification of the band directors, may also result in removing the student from the field show.  


Music playoffs and Tuning Charts are also considered within this grading category.  Both music playoffs and tuning charts are a “100” if you do them on time and a “0” if you don't.  If you play your music off late, there are harsh grade penalties, but a “0” can be avoided if you play it off late.  Tuning Charts cannot be made up.


There will be times when show music is graded on a performance basis, meaning that your grade will reflect your performance.  Those grades will vary depending on proper preparation of the music.  Scoring is subjective.  


Six Weeks Test (20%) - Usually the Six Weeks test is a big performance within that six weeks grading period.  Any UIL band event will be graded as a six weeks test.  During a Six Weeks grading period in which there is no UIL band event, the last test of the Six Weeks will be considered the Six Weeks Test.


Semester Tests - The Winter Concert acts as a fall semester test while the Spring Concert acts as a spring semester test.  The grade is based on attendance and punctuality.  Points are taken off for tardiness and a “0” is given for non-attendance.  Students are expected to attend the entire concert for full credit.  TEA mandates that the students are taught how to behave as well as critique a live concert environment, and this is our way of fulfilling that specific TEKS for band.  



Eligibility


All public performances are subject to eligibility status.  UIL has a “no pass/no play” rule that means if you make below a 70 in any class during a 6 weeks grading period, you cannot perform with the group until you regain eligibility either through the progress report at the 3 week mark, or through a passing report card at the end of the next grading period.


Eligibility is a very big deal.  Not only are you letting the entire band down by forcing them to perform without you, you are also jeopardizing passing a class for the year which could affect your graduation date.  


As a courtesy to band students who become ineligible because of a failing grade(s) on their report card, a “50” is given for every performance that the student must miss because they are ineligible to attend.  We do this so that the student will not fail band.  Their grade will be significantly lower during the time that we have performances while they are ineligible, but that is an accurate reflection of their contributions to the band during that time.  Bottom line:  Don’t fail a class and become ineligible.


Stay on top of your class work.  Go to tutorials.  Turn in all of your work.  Keep a good attitude in your classes and it will be difficult for you to fail.  9 times out of 10, failing to do one of those things is the reason that you failed a class in the first place.  “I’m not good at math…” is not the reason you failed that class.  Get some help and do your best at all times.


Ineligibility during marching season may result in a permanent loss of your marching spot.



Equipment


All students must attend every rehearsal and performance with all of their necessary equipment.  Instrument, music and a pencil is mandatory for every rehearsal.  Failure to have any of these items will result in disciplinary actions of various degrees ranging from writing sentences (I have a really good sentence!!!) to an office referral.  Please make having all of your equipment a top priority!


If a student's personal instrument is in the repair shop and not available to the student, a parent note explaining the nature of the repair and when the instrument will be back in action is mandatory.  Without a parent note, the student will be disciplined as if the instrument were merely forgotten and left at home.  When it comes to having an instrument repaired, the band director MUST be informed in writing.  


Most instances of “forgetting an instrument” happen because the student is not in a habit of taking their instrument home to practice and bringing it home the next day.  If home practice is not a consistent part of their day, then the student WILL attend class unprepared whether they have their instrument or not. 



Financial Obligations


All Band Students

-  Blue Book – “Foundations for Superior Performance” 

We will use this book from 7th grade through 12th grade.  Buy 1 and keep up with it and you will only have to purchase it one time!!!

-  Pencil 

-  Metronome/Tuner (tons of free apps will do this job just fine!!!)

- Basic maintenance items (valve oil, cork/slide grease, slide cream, key oil, polishing cloth, or other instrument specific maintenance supplies)

- Reed players (clarinet and saxophone) and double reed players (oboe, bassoon) should have a good supply of reeds…at least 4 working reeds in their case at all times.  Reeds break and must be perceived as consumable items that will need to be replaced regularly.  

A reed will NOT last a full year…even if it remains unbroken.  For marching season, it is recommended to purchase a plastic reed.  It can last for the entire marching season, and it is impervious to the weather changes that we see in Texas.  Humidity does not affect a plastic reed, so it will be more consistent than a wood reed.  It’s a lot more expensive, but it shouldn’t break or give out, while a typical reed player can go through a box or more of reeds during marching season.  In short, it is not ideal musically, it is more expensive initially, but it is cheaper in the long run, and a little more practical for marching.



High School Band Members Only

- Black Band Shoes (~$35)

- Long Black Socks

- Themed High School Band T-Shirt (~$20)

- Booster Meal Fee ($25) *if applicable


When it comes to general band membership, it is our policy to NEVER let a child miss out on a music education because of financial difficulties.  We can and will do whatever we can to help out financially.  Please communicate to us and allow us to help.  Communication is key!



Band Uniforms


High School Only

Our band uniforms are a source of pride of this organization, and as such should be treated with care and respect.  The uniform, when not in use, should ALWAYS be hung neatly on a quality hanger inside the uniform bag.  Uniforms should never be balled up and put in the bottom of the uniform bag.  This not only wrinkles the uniform, but also shortens its lifespan…and it shows a complete lack of pride and respect for this organization.  


The Band Boosters have assumed the responsibility of cleaning/dry-cleaning of the uniform throughout the school year.  As a result, there is no cleaning fee.  In lieu of a cleaning fee, join the band boosters.


Students will fit for uniforms during the Elkhart Summer Band Camp.  Once a uniform is fitted to the student, he/she will be issued a card with their specific uniform information on it.  The uniform will then be joined together in a uniform bag and hung in the uniform room.  


UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL A BAND UNIFORM GO HOME WITH A STUDENT!!  


This means that a student will have to get to the band hall early enough to change into their uniform before we meet/leave for a performance.  This also means that the student/parent must budget enough time to change out of their uniform after a performance before they go home.  


Students must also keep up with their uniform information as it will not only be used to check-in the uniform, but will also be used to identify the uniform during the year.  


If a student is checked out from an event and as a result must take their uniform home with them, the uniform is to be hung neatly on a hanger, placed in the uniform bag as quickly as possible and hung up at home until they can bring it back to school and hang it in the uniform room.  The uniform must be brought back to school at the earliest convenience.


Performing In Uniform

When we are in uniform, all parts of the band uniform must be worn correctly.  No other pants or shorts are to be worn under the black bibber pants.  Current band-themed t-shirts are to be worn under the jacket so that in the event that we remove the uniform jacket, the band continues to look uniform.  


No jewelry is allowed when a student is in uniform.  This includes, but is not limited to rings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, or earrings.  We must take our uniformity seriously.


Parts Of The Uniform

- Black Uniform Pants

- Uniform Jacket

- Uniform Hat (With a hatbox)

- Two (2) Gauntlets

- Blue/Black Plume *

- Long Black Socks (A pair of long black socks are the responsibility of the student)

- Black Marching Shoes (We use Super DrillMasters.  The shoes are bought by the student through the school to ensure uniformity and get the best price)

- Uniform Bag with correct Hangars (the hangars that came with the uniform must stay with the uniform.  Do NOT lose the hangars!)


* Plumes are a part of the uniform that are only worn during performance.  Plumes should NEVER be stored in a hatbox and should always be placed back in the plume storage box immediately after each use.  


Students will take a plume from the plume storage box prior to a performance and will return the plume to the storage box immediately after the performance.  Plumes will not be checked out to a student, as they will likely pull a different plume every time.


Behavior While In Uniform

It is critical that you realize that when you are wearing our band uniform, or any part of our band uniform, you are representing the Elkhart BIG RED Band, Elkhart High School and the community of Elkhart itself.  It is unacceptable to behave in a way that brings negative views to our organization.  This includes your speech as well as your actions. 


There is NO PDA of any type while in uniform.  Please control your actions.  People are watching, and people form opinions of the Elkhart BIG RED Band based on your individual choices.  Make the right choice.


On a side note, the same concept applies while in your band shirt, whether at a performance or on your own time.  



Instruments


School-Owned Instruments

School-owned instruments will be checked out on a needs-only basis.  Please understand that the school district has invested a large amount of money to supply quality instruments to our band program.  It is our responsibility to treat each instrument with care and respect.  This is not only a responsibility issue, but an issue of pride.  Please have pride in the instrument that you've been supplied.  


The school will pay to have the instrument serviced as well as any normal wear-and-tear maintenance that may be required.  Normal wear-and-tear issues include torn or worn pads, broken springs, torn corks, etc.  The student is responsible to pay for any repairs to a school-owned instrument that is not considered normal wear-and-tear.  Anything that would jar the solder joints loose or dent/scratch a slide, valve casing or any other part of the horn is NOT considered normal wear-and-tear.  


Currently, we do not charge students a "rental fee" for the use of school-owned instruments.  This is a courtesy and will remain in effect as long as the school instruments continue to get treated with care and respect.  A rental fee of an undetermined amount may be added at any time if students do not display pride and care when dealing with their instrument.


All High School marching brass instruments are supplied by the school so that we will have a unified, silver brass horn line on the field.  Brass players are expected to keep their instrument clean and shiny throughout the marching year.  A polishing cloth is a must.  Other instruments (flute, clarinet, and saxophone) are checked out during marching season on a needs only basis.  During concert season, all low brass and low woodwind instruments are supplied by the school.  Any other instruments will be checked out on a needs only basis.  


All percussion equipment, including sticks and mallets, are provided by the school.  Our percussion equipment is good, and will be treated with the utmost of respect.  Our sticks and mallets should not be used in any way that would render them useless.  The stick bag is a privilege and at any time a percussionist may be asked to provide his/her own sticks or mallets if our equipment is continually mistreated.


Student Owned Instruments

Each student is highly encouraged to purchase his/her own instrument.  We believe that a student will take more pride in their music education if they have an instrument of their own.  This also reduces the strain on the band budget when it comes to supplying instruments to students.  


If the student is still using the instrument that was purchased for beginner band in 6th grade, it is also recommended that the instrument be upgraded to "Intermediate" or "Advanced/Professional" for the High School level of music.  Beginner level instrument quality has inherent mechanical and intonation problems that will start to hold the student back if it is not upgraded.  This is not an issue when they are beginning to play, but as they improve, the instrument needs to improve along with them.  The band directors can help locate a good instrument and help you find it with the best price.  Remember, this is an investment.  When that instrument helps pay for 4 years of college, it really starts to look like a smart investment.



Extra Trips


The band takes a "fun trip" every year.  This is an extra expense, but this expense can be offset by our annual Cookie Dough fundraiser.  Trip cost will vary from ~$25-30 for a group-rate Six Flags over Texas ticket (we do Six Flags every other year), to $500+ for a Disney World Trip to Orlando (every 4 years), and can land anywhere in between depending on location.


Our past trip destinations have been:

2003 – Six Flags over Texas

2004 – Disney World in Orlando, FL

2005 – Six Flags over Texas

2006 – Nashville, TN (Country Music Hall-of Fame/Hermitage/Graceland)

2007 – Six Flags over Texas

2008 – Disney World in Orlando, FL

2009 – Six Flags over Texas

2010 – San Antonio, TX (Schlitterbahn/Sea World/Alamo)

2011 – Six Flags over Texas

2012 – Disney World in Orlando, FL

2013 – Medieval Times in Dallas

2014 – San Antonio, TX (Schlitterbahn/Sea World/Alamo)

2015 – Medieval Times in Dallas

2016 – Disney World in Orlando, FL

2017 – Medieval Times in Dallas

2018 – Branson, MO (Performance at Clay Cooper Theatre/Silver Dollar City)

2019 - Medieval Times in Dallas

2020 - well, we tried to go to Disney, but COVID-19 said “NO!!!”

2021 - Disney World in Orlando, FL


Until COVID, we were on a 4 year rotation, if you can’t tell.  We will try to get back on that trip schedule!!!



Duties of the Band Member


- Be on time to all rehearsals and performances.  Early is on time, on time is late, and late is completely unacceptable!!!

- Upon entering the rehearsal setting, get your instrument and other equipment, and go directly to your seat.  

- Make sure you have all of your materials with you at all times.  This includes a pencil.

- When the director or staff member steps on the podium or asks for your attention, all talking and playing should immediately cease.

- Come to the rehearsal with a good attitude.

- There should be no excess playing (e.g., making ugly sounds on your instrument), only good, solid material.  Practice the way you perform!

- Make a real effort to improve on a daily basis, and establish a good practice routine.  Have pride in yourself and your band.

- At the end of the rehearsal, put all of your materials in their proper place and completely latch your instrument case.

- Maintain a strong academic standing in all of your classes.

- Become responsible for and assume responsibility for your own actions.  Admit when you are wrong.

- Have proper respect for yourself and those in authority.

- Read and play music with insight - have musical expectations.

- Keep yourself healthy.  If you are injured or sick, this basic rule applies:  Do the very best that you can.  We will never ask you to further injure yourself, but if you are healthy enough to come to school, it stands to reason that you are healthy enough to participate.  



The Importance of Attitude


The greatest single factor that will determine the success of any individual or organization is attitude.  The kind of person you are in as individual choice, and how you feel about something is one of the few actual independent choices you have in life.  It takes intense dedication to reach goals.  Students should learn to discipline themselves to practice fundamentals daily.  


The right attitude must be present along with sincerity, concentration, and dedication as the basic foundations.  Such an attitude makes an artistic performance inevitable and is the difference between a winning organization and a mediocre group.  The band can do much for you.  Make the most of it in every rehearsal and performance.


Attitude is the only real thing in your life that you have direct control over.  



The Importance of Discipline


Because of the nature of the organization, band discipline must be strict.  Band students and parents must believe in the ideals, principles, and philosophy of the organization.  Each member must always be aware of good behavior and think for him or herself.  


Any and all misconduct casts a bad light on the school, community and the band program.  Any member who discredits the organization by his or her conduct or actions in band, in another class, or on a trip shall be subject to dismissal from the band program or may lose a privilege within the program.  This may include the chance to go on our spring trip.  This decision will be at the director's discretion.


Discipline not only includes making good choices and acting with maturity, but it is also the discipline to practice your craft.  You will only be as good as the amount of work that you put into it, and you will only receive back from band what you put into it.  The more you work at it, the more you will enjoy it…it doesn’t sound logical, but it’s the truth.  All band members are expected to have the self discipline to practice and rehearse on their own.



Students' Responsibility...


…to the Band

As members of this organization, you have a great deal of responsibility.  These expectations coordinate with the privileges, rewards and duties of the band program.  


…to Ourselves

You have the primary responsibility of developing your own abilities.  The benefits of a good instrument and private instruction can never be overestimated.  What you put into it is what you will get out of it.  The director is always available for your guidance and encouragement - just ask!


…to the School

The school district provides us with the resources for rehearsals, performances, and equipment.  The band booster club also provides a support network, both financially and philosophically.  We have the responsibility to provide the best possible services to our community.


…to Music

Music has always been a part of our culture.  We must take what we have and use it for the betterment of that culture.  No one expects you to be virtuoso musicians, only to do the very best you can.  The great composer Gustav Mahler once said that only 10 percent of a piece of music is on the page.  If that is the case, we as musicians have the duty of creating and producing the other 90 percent.  The joy of music is not in everything that is apparent.  It must be discovered and created.


…to Each Other

We must always do what is best for the welfare of the group.  There can be no selfish acts solely for the benefit of the individual.  Respect each other.  If there are conflicts, find a way to resolve them.  Never insult another band member's integrity.  The word "band" implies that we are banded together without divisions.  



Parents' Responsibility to the Band


It is the responsibility of every parent and guardian to see that the policies outlined in the handbook are followed and that the form in the back is signed and returned.  This form states that you understand the policies set within and that any questions or concerns are to be directed to the band director by making an appointment.   Each parent is responsible for the attendance of his or her child at all band functions.  It is the responsibility of each parent to see that the child practices his or her instrument daily.  The hands of the directors are tied without the help of the parents.



How Parents Can Help


When a band question arises, it is important that you get factual information before discussing it with others.  We do more harm to ourselves, the band family, when we talk about things that contain one or more falsehoods presented as facts.  If questions arise, it is important to remember this axiom:  If it is a performance issue or anything dealing with the band proper, contact the band director directly via a phone call, email or an office visit.


Parents can also help in the following ways:

- Show an interest in the musical study of your child

- Arrange a regular time for your child to practice

- Find a quiet place where he or she can practice without interruption

- Listen to performances of practice material when asked to do so

- Help the student keep a daily record of practicing

- Come up with a reward system for daily practice

- Encourage practice (can you tell that practicing is important?)

- Keep the instrument in good repair 

- Make sure your child has at least 4 good reeds at all times (for saxophone and clarinet students...2 good reeds for oboe and bassoon)

- Get your child a metronome & tuner

- Be extra careful with school-owned instruments.  Repair costs are high

- Teach your child to be prepared and on time to each rehearsal or lesson

- Provide private instruction

- Make faithful attendance at all band activities important

- Buy your child a personal planner for marking important dates

- Keep this handbook in a safe place and refer to it often

- Notify the teacher if the student is to be absent for rehearsals or lessons

- Double check to make sure students bring their instrument home to practice and that they bring it back to school for the following day's rehearsal

- Visit rehearsals occasionally

- Make sure all fund-raising money is turned in on time

- Attend booster meetings, concerts, games and contests…yes, you are welcome to attend all of our events!


Please do NOT punish your child’s bad behavior, bad attitude or poor decision making by taking away musical privileges.  If your child really enjoyed math, you wouldn’t try to discipline your child by not allowing them to do their math homework, would you?  It makes just as little sense to take their practice time away from them in order to discipline them.  Make them practice more!


In the same way, do NOT keep them out of an after-school band rehearsal because they are “grounded”.  Please know that our rehearsals are mandatory and graded.  They are a part of our curriculum.  Also, our rehearsals are very strenuous, disciplined and focused.  It is not what I would consider “fun”.  We work VERY hard.


If your child is having behavioral problems, I can help.  Please contact me and allow me to step in and assist you.  By removing your child from band activities, you are effectively removing my influence and the discipline that I require of the band members.  The band program is steeped in self-discipline and pride.  I believe that these traits will inevitably work themselves out in their personal life.


Finally, BECOME A BAND BOOSTER!!!  Those folks work so hard to make the HS Band a MUCH better place to be.  Please consider joining this organization…



Complaint Department


Please understand that there will be conflict, frustration, misunderstanding, miscommunication and a myriad of other problems that can occur within our very busy schedule.  It is not our mission to hurt, embarrass, exclude, or put down any student…as a matter of fact, it is contrary to our “family” atmosphere that we work hard to establish.  That said, sometimes feelings get hurt and there is a very high chance of miscommunication or misunderstanding of the situation.  


We must, as adults, be willing and able to work out any conflict in a mature manner.  If you have any complaint that you would like to voice, please follow proper due process.  


Proper due process is:  first, schedule an appointment and talk directly to the band director, especially if that is the source of your complaint.  If a resolution is not made with the director, then proceed to make an appointment and talk to the campus principal.  Again, if there is no resolution, then the next step is to talk to the superintendent and then on to the school board.  


Again:  1 - Band Director, 2 - Campus Principal, 3 - Superintendent, 4 - School Board…in that order.


There is no logical reason to go straight to the principal, superintendent or the school board if NO contact has been made with the band director first. 



General High School BIG RED Band 

Calendar of Events


The dates on the website are as accurate as possible.  For a more complete list of up to date and accurate calendar events, please visit the band website at:


www.elkhartisd.org


Remember:  Make sure you are accessing the correct calendar of events.  The Middle School Band (6-8 Grade) and High School Band pages are different.


A paper copy of the current year’s calendar is available if you do not have internet access.  Please contact the band director for that information.



High School TEKS 

(Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills)


All of the activities of the high school band are utilized to fulfill our state mandated TEKS.  The TEKS are online, but for your convenience, the HS version of the TEKS is listed below.  


Chapter 117. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Fine Arts

Subchapter C. High School


Statutory Authority: The provisions of this Subchapter C issued under the Texas Education Code, §28.002, unless otherwise noted.

  • 117.310. Music, Level I (One Credit), Adopted 2013.

(a)  General requirements. Students may fulfill fine arts and elective requirements for graduation by successfully completing one or more of the following music courses: Band I, Choir I, Orchestra I, Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Improvisation I, Instrumental Ensemble I, Vocal Ensemble I, World Music Ensemble I, Applied Music I, Mariachi I, Piano I, Guitar I, and Harp I (one credit per course).

(b)  Introduction.

(1)  The fine arts incorporate the study of dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts to offer unique experiences and empower students to explore realities, relationships, and ideas. These disciplines engage and motivate all students through active learning, critical thinking, and innovative problem solving. The fine arts develop cognitive functioning and increase student academic achievement, higher-order thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, making the fine arts applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, social skills, and everyday life. Students develop aesthetic and cultural awareness through exploration, leading to creative expression. Creativity, encouraged through the study of the fine arts, is essential to nurture and develop the whole child.

(2)  Four basic strands--foundations: music literacy; creative expression; historical and cultural relevance; and critical evaluation and response--provide broad, unifying structures for organizing the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire. The foundation of music literacy is fostered through reading, writing, reproducing, and creating music, thus developing a student's intellect. Through creative expression, students apply their music literacy and the critical-thinking skills of music to sing, play, read, write, and/or move. By experiencing musical periods and styles, students will understand the relevance of music to history, culture, and the world, including the relationship of music to other academic disciplines and the vocational possibilities offered. Through critical listening, students analyze, evaluate, and respond to music, developing criteria for making critical judgments and informed choices.

(3)  Statements that contain the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(c)  Knowledge and skills.

(1)  Foundations: music literacy. The student describes and analyzes music and musical sounds. The student develops organizational skills, engages in problem solving, and explores the properties and capabilities of various musical idioms. The student is expected to:

(A)  experience and explore exemplary musical examples using technology and available live performances;

(B)  identify and describe melodic and harmonic parts when listening to and performing music using a melodic reading system such as solfège, numbers, letter names, note names, or scale degrees;

(C)  define concepts of music notation, intervals, and chord structure using appropriate terminology;

(D)  define concepts of rhythm and meter using appropriate terminology and counting system;

(E)  explore elements of music such as rhythm, meter, melody, harmony, key, expression markings, texture, form, dynamics, and timbre through literature selected for performance; and

(F)  apply health and wellness concepts related to music practice such as body mechanics, hearing protection, vocal health, hydration, and appropriate hygienic practices.

(2)  Foundations: music literacy. The student reads and writes music notation using an appropriate notation system. The student is expected to:

(A)  read and notate music that incorporates rhythmic patterns in simple, compound, and asymmetric meters; and

(B)  interpret music symbols and expressive terms referring to dynamics, tempo, and articulation.

(3)  Creative expression. The student demonstrates musical artistry by singing or playing an instrument individually and in groups. The student performs music in a variety of genres at an appropriate level of difficulty. The student performs from notation and by memory as appropriate. The student develops cognitive and psychomotor skills. The student is expected to:

(A)  demonstrate mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre;

(B)  demonstrate psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques;

(C)  demonstrate rhythmic accuracy using appropriate tempo;

(D)  demonstrate observance of key signature and modalities;

(E)  demonstrate correct intonation, appropriate phrasing, and appropriate dynamics; and

(F)  create and notate or record original musical phrases.

(4)  Creative expression. The student sight reads, individually and in groups, by singing or playing an instrument. The student reads from notation at an appropriate level of difficulty in a variety of styles. The student is expected to:

(A)  demonstrate mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre while sight reading;

(B)  demonstrate psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as use of appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques while sight reading;

(C)  demonstrate rhythmic accuracy while sight reading using a counting system within an appropriate tempo;

(D)  demonstrate observance of key signature and modalities while sight reading;

(E)  demonstrate use of a melodic reading system such as solfège, numbers, letter names, note names, or scale degrees while sight reading; and

(F)  demonstrate correct intonation, appropriate phrasing, and appropriate dynamics while sight reading.

(5)  Historical and cultural relevance. The student relates music to history, culture, and the world. The student is expected to:

(A)  compare and contrast music by genre, style, culture, and historical period;

(B)  identify music-related vocations and avocations;

(C)  identify and describe the uses of music in societies and cultures;

(D)  identify and explore the relationship between music and other academic disciplines;

(E)  identify and explore the impact of technologies, ethical issues, and economic factors on music, performers, and performances; and

(F)  identify and explore tools for college and career preparation such as social media applications, repertoire lists, auditions, and interview techniques.

(6)  Critical evaluation and response. The student listens to, responds to, and evaluates music and musical performance in both formal and informal settings. The student is expected to:

(A)  practice informed concert etiquette as a performer and as an audience member during live and recorded performances in a variety of settings;

(B)  design and apply criteria for making informed judgments regarding the quality and effectiveness of musical performances;

(C)  develop processes for self-evaluation and select tools for personal artistic improvement; and

(D)  evaluate musical performances by comparing them to exemplary models.

Source: The provisions of this §117.310 adopted to be effective July 28, 2013, 38 TexReg 4575.

  • 117.311. Music, Level II (One Credit), Adopted 2013.

(a)  General requirements. Students may fulfill fine arts and elective requirements for graduation by successfully completing one or more of the following music courses: Band II, Choir II, Orchestra II, Jazz Ensemble II, Jazz Improvisation II, Instrumental Ensemble II, Vocal Ensemble II, World Music Ensemble II, Applied Music II, Mariachi II, Piano II, Guitar II, and Harp II (one credit per course). The prerequisite for each Music, Level II course is one credit of Music, Level I in the corresponding discipline.

(b)  Introduction.

(1)  The fine arts incorporate the study of dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts to offer unique experiences and empower students to explore realities, relationships, and ideas. These disciplines engage and motivate all students through active learning, critical thinking, and innovative problem solving. The fine arts develop cognitive functioning and increase student academic achievement, higher-order thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, making the fine arts applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, social skills, and everyday life. Students develop aesthetic and cultural awareness through exploration, leading to creative expression. Creativity, encouraged through the study of the fine arts, is essential to nurture and develop the whole child.

(2)  Four basic strands--foundations: music literacy; creative expression; historical and cultural relevance; and critical evaluation and response--provide broad, unifying structures for organizing the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire. The foundation of music literacy is fostered through reading, writing, reproducing, and creating music, thus developing a student's intellect. Through creative expression, students apply their music literacy and the critical-thinking skills of music to sing, play, read, write, and/or move. By experiencing musical periods and styles, students will understand the relevance of music to history, culture, and the world, including the relationship of music to other academic disciplines and the vocational possibilities offered. Through critical listening, students analyze, evaluate, and respond to music, developing criteria for making critical judgments and informed choices.

(3)  Statements that contain the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(c)  Knowledge and skills.

(1)  Foundations: music literacy. The student describes and analyzes music and musical sounds. The student develops organizational skills, engages in problem solving, and explores the properties and capabilities of various musical idioms. The student is expected to:

(A)  compare and contrast exemplary musical examples using technology and available live performances;

(B)  compare and contrast melodic and harmonic parts using a melodic reading system such as solfège, numbers, letter names, note names, or scale degrees;

(C)  compare and contrast concepts of music notation, intervals, and chord structure using appropriate terminology;

(D)  compare and contrast concepts of rhythm and meter using appropriate terminology and counting system;

(E)  compare and contrast musical forms such as song, binary, ternary, and rondo selected for performance and listening;

(F)  compare and contrast concepts of balance and blend using appropriate terminology;

(G)  compare and contrast concepts of music such as rhythm, meter, melody, harmony, key, expression markings, dynamics, and timbre; and

(H)  apply health and wellness concepts related to music practice such as body mechanics, hearing protection, vocal health, hydration, and appropriate hygienic practices.

(2)  Foundations: music literacy. The student reads and notates music using an appropriate notation system. The student is expected to:

(A)  read and notate music that incorporates rhythmic patterns in simple, compound, and asymmetric meters; and

(B)  interpret music symbols and expressive terms referring to dynamics, tempo, and articulation.

(3)  Creative expression. The student demonstrates musical artistry by singing or playing an instrument individually and in groups. The student performs music in a variety of genres at an increasing level of difficulty. The student performs from notation and by memory as appropriate. The student develops cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills. The student is expected to:

(A)  demonstrate increasingly mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre;

(B)  refine and apply psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques;

(C)  demonstrate rhythmic accuracy using appropriate tempo;

(D)  demonstrate observance of key signatures and modalities;

(E)  demonstrate correct intonation, appropriate phrasing, and appropriate dynamics; and

(F)  create and notate or record original musical phrases at an appropriate level of difficulty.

(4)  Creative expression. The student sight reads, individually and in groups, by singing or playing an instrument. The student reads from notation at an increasing level of difficulty in a variety of styles. The student is expected to:

(A)  exhibit increasingly mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre while sight reading;

(B)  demonstrate, refine, and apply psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques while sight reading;

(C)  demonstrate correct articulation and rhythmic accuracy while sight reading using a counting system within an appropriate tempo;

(D)  demonstrate observance of multiple key signatures and changing modalities while sight reading;

(E)  demonstrate use of a melodic reading system such as solfège, numbers, letter names, note names, or scale degrees while sight reading;

(F)  demonstrate application of dynamics and phrasing while sight reading; and

(G)  demonstrate accurate intonation while sight reading using concepts such as vowel shapes, ensemble blend, and just intonation.

(5)  Historical and cultural relevance. The student relates music to history, culture, and the world. The student is expected to:

(A)  compare and contrast music by genre, style, culture, and historical period;

(B)  define uses of music in societies and cultures;

(C)  identify and explore the relationships between music and other academic disciplines;

(D)  identify music-related vocations and avocations;

(E)  identify and explore the impact of technologies, ethical issues, and economic factors on music, musicians, and performances; and

(F)  identify and explore tools for college and career preparation such as personal performance recordings, social media applications, repertoire lists, auditions, and interview techniques.

(6)  Critical evaluation and response. The student listens to, responds to, and evaluates music and musical performance in formal and informal settings. The student is expected to:

(A)  exhibit informed concert etiquette as a performer and as an audience member during live and recorded performances in a variety of settings;

(B)  design and apply criteria for making informed judgments regarding the quality and effectiveness of musical performances;

(C)  develop processes for self-evaluation and select tools for personal artistic improvement; and

(D)  evaluate musical performances by comparing them to exemplary models.

Source: The provisions of this §117.311 adopted to be effective July 28, 2013, 38 TexReg 4575.

  • 117.312. Music, Level III (One Credit), Adopted 2013.

(a)  General requirements. Students may fulfill fine arts and elective requirements for graduation by successfully completing one or more of the following music courses: Band III, Choir III, Orchestra III, Jazz Ensemble III, Jazz Improvisation III, Instrumental Ensemble III, Vocal Ensemble III, World Music Ensemble III, Applied Music III, Mariachi III, Piano III, Guitar III, and Harp III (one credit per course). The prerequisite for all Music, Level III music courses is one credit of Music, Level II in the corresponding discipline.

(b)  Introduction.

(1)  The fine arts incorporate the study of dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts to offer unique experiences and empower students to explore realities, relationships, and ideas. These disciplines engage and motivate all students through active learning, critical thinking, and innovative problem solving. The fine arts develop cognitive functioning and increase student academic achievement, higher-order thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, making the fine arts applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, social skills, and everyday life. Students develop aesthetic and cultural awareness through exploration, leading to creative expression. Creativity, encouraged through the study of the fine arts, is essential to nurture and develop the whole child.

(2)  Four basic strands--foundations: music literacy; creative expression; historical and cultural relevance; and critical evaluation and response--provide broad, unifying structures for organizing the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire. The foundation of music literacy is fostered through reading, writing, reproducing, and creating music, thus developing a student's intellect. Through creative expression, students apply their music literacy and the critical-thinking skills of music to sing, play, read, write, and/or move. By experiencing musical periods and styles, students will understand the relevance of music to history, culture, and the world, including the relationship of music to other academic disciplines and the vocational possibilities offered. Through critical listening, students analyze, evaluate, and respond to music, developing criteria for making critical judgments and informed choices.

(3)  Statements that contain the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(c)  Knowledge and skills.

(1)  Foundations: music literacy. The student describes and analyzes music and musical sounds. The student develops organizational skills, engages in problem solving, and explores the properties and capabilities of various musical idioms. The student is expected to:

(A)  evaluate exemplary musical examples using technology and available live performances;

(B)  explore musical textures such as monophony, homophony, and polyphony while using a melodic reading system;

(C)  compare and contrast concepts of music notation, intervals, and chord structure using appropriate terminology;

(D)  compare and contrast concepts of rhythm and meter using appropriate terminology and counting system;

(E)  compare and contrast musical forms such as song, binary, ternary, rondo, and sonata-allegro selected for performance and listening;

(F)  compare and contrast concepts of balance and blend using appropriate terminology;

(G)  compare and contrast musical styles and genres such as cantata, opera, zydeco, motet, hip-hop, symphony, anthem, march, beats, musical theatre, gospel jazz, and spirituals;

(H)  compare and contrast concepts of music such as rhythm, meter, melody, harmony, texture, key, expression markings, dynamics, and timbre using literature selected for performance; and

(I)  apply health and wellness concepts related to music practice such as body mechanics, hearing protection, vocal health, hydration, and appropriate hygienic practices.

(2)  Foundations: music literacy. The student reads and notates music using an appropriate notation system. The student is expected to:

(A)  read and notate music that incorporates melody and rhythm; and

(B)  interpret music symbols and expressive terms referring to style, dynamics, tempo, and articulation.

(3)  Creative expression. The student demonstrates musical artistry by singing or playing an instrument individually and in groups. The student performs music in a variety of genres at an increasing level of difficulty. The student performs from notation and by memory as appropriate. The student develops cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills. The student is expected to:

(A)  demonstrate mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre;

(B)  refine and apply psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques;

(C)  demonstrate rhythmic accuracy using appropriate tempo;

(D)  demonstrate observance of key signatures and modalities;

(E)  demonstrate correct intonation, appropriate phrasing, and appropriate dynamics; and

(F)  create and notate or record original musical phrases at an appropriate level of difficulty.

(4)  Creative expression. The student sight reads, individually and in groups, by singing or playing an instrument. The student reads from notation at an increasing level of difficulty in a variety of styles. The student is expected to:

(A)  exhibit mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre while sight reading;

(B)  refine and apply psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques while sight reading;

(C)  demonstrate correct articulation and rhythmic accuracy while sight reading using a counting system within an appropriate tempo;

(D)  demonstrate observance of multiple key signatures and changing modalities while sight reading;

(E)  demonstrate use of a melodic reading system such as solfège, numbers, letter names, note names, or scale degrees while sight reading;

(F)  demonstrate application of dynamics and phrasing while sight reading; and

(G)  demonstrate accurate intonation while sight reading using concepts such as vowel shapes, ensemble blend, and just intonation.

(5)  Historical and cultural relevance. The student relates music to history, culture, and the world. The student is expected to:

(A)  classify representative examples of music by genre, style, culture, and historical period;

(B)  explore the relevance of music to societies and cultures;

(C)  define the relationships between music content and concepts and other academic disciplines;

(D)  analyze music-related career options;

(E)  analyze and evaluate the impact of technologies, ethical issues, and economic factors on music, performers, and performances; and

(F)  generate tools for college and career preparation such as electronic portfolios, personal resource lists, performance recordings, social media applications, repertoire lists, auditions, and interview techniques.

(6)  Critical evaluation and response. The student responds to and evaluates written music and musical performance in formal and informal settings. The student is expected to:

(A)  exhibit informed concert etiquette as a performer and an audience member during live and recorded performances in a variety of settings;

(B)  create and apply specific criteria for evaluating performances of various musical styles;

(C)  create and apply specific criteria for offering constructive feedback using a variety of music performances;

(D)  develop processes for self-evaluation and select tools for personal artistic improvement such as critical listening and individual and group performance recordings; and

(E)  evaluate musical performances by comparing them to similar or exemplary models and offering constructive suggestions for improvement.

Source: The provisions of this §117.312 adopted to be effective July 28, 2013, 38 TexReg 4575.

  • 117.313. Music, Level IV (One Credit), Adopted 2013.

(a)  General requirements. Students may fulfill fine arts and elective requirements for graduation by successfully completing one or more of the following music courses: Band IV, Choir IV, Orchestra IV, Jazz Ensemble IV, Jazz Improvisation IV, Instrumental Ensemble IV, Vocal Ensemble IV, World Music Ensemble IV, Applied Music IV, Mariachi IV, Piano IV, Guitar IV, and Harp IV (one credit per course). The prerequisite for all Music, Level IV courses is one credit of Music, Level III in the corresponding discipline.

(b)  Introduction.

(1)  The fine arts incorporate the study of dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts to offer unique experiences and empower students to explore realities, relationships, and ideas. These disciplines engage and motivate all students through active learning, critical thinking, and innovative problem solving. The fine arts develop cognitive functioning and increase student academic achievement, higher-order thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, making the fine arts applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, social skills, and everyday life. Students develop aesthetic and cultural awareness through exploration, leading to creative expression. Creativity, encouraged through the study of the fine arts, is essential to nurture and develop the whole child.

(2)  Four basic strands--foundations: music literacy; creative expression; historical and cultural relevance; and critical evaluation and response--provide broad, unifying structures for organizing the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire. The foundation of music literacy is fostered through reading, writing, reproducing, and creating music, thus developing a student's intellect. Through creative expression, students apply their music literacy and the critical-thinking skills of music to sing, play, read, write, and/or move. By experiencing musical periods and styles, students will understand the relevance of music to history, culture, and the world, including the relationship of music to other academic disciplines and the vocational possibilities offered. Through critical listening, students analyze, evaluate, and respond to music, developing criteria for making critical judgments and informed choices.

(3)  Statements that contain the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(c)  Knowledge and skills.

(1)  Foundations: music literacy. The student describes and analyzes music and musical sounds. The student develops organizational skills, engages in problem solving, and explores the properties and capabilities of various musical idioms. The student is expected to:

(A)  evaluate exemplary musical examples using technology and available live performances;

(B)  analyze advanced musical textures while using a melodic reading system;

(C)  analyze concepts of music notation, intervals, and chord structure using appropriate terminology;

(D)  analyze concepts of rhythm and meter using appropriate terminology and counting system;

(E)  analyze musical forms in music selected for performance and listening;

(F)  analyze concepts of balance and blend using appropriate terminology;

(G)  analyze musical styles and genres such as cantata, opera, zydeco, motet, hip-hop, symphony, anthem, march, beats, musical theatre, gospel jazz, and spirituals;

(H)  analyze concepts of music such as rhythm, meter, melody, harmony, texture, key, expression markings, dynamics, and timbre using literature selected for performance; and

(I)  analyze and apply health and wellness concepts related to music practice such as body mechanics, repetitive motion injury prevention, first-aid training, hearing protection, vocal health, hydration, and appropriate hygienic practices.

(2)  Foundations: music literacy. The student reads and notates music using an appropriate notation system. The student is expected to:

(A)  read and notate music that incorporates advanced melodies and rhythms; and

(B)  interpret music symbols and expressive terms.

(3)  Creative expression. The student demonstrates musical artistry by singing or playing an instrument individually and in groups. The student performs music in a variety of genres at an increasing level of difficulty. The student performs from notation and by memory as appropriate. The student develops cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills. The student is expected to:

(A)  demonstrate mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre;

(B)  analyze and apply psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques;

(C)  demonstrate rhythmic accuracy using complex patterns at an appropriate tempo;

(D)  demonstrate observance of key signatures and modalities;

(E)  demonstrate correct intonation, appropriate phrasing, and appropriate dynamics; and

(F)  create and notate or record original musical phrases at an increasing level of difficulty.

(4)  Creative expression. The student sight reads, individually and in groups, by singing or playing an instrument. The student reads from notation at an increasing level of difficulty in a variety of styles. The student is expected to:

(A)  exhibit mature, characteristic sound appropriate for the genre while sight reading;

(B)  refine and apply psychomotor and kinesthetic skills such as appropriate posture, breathing, text, diction, articulation, vibrato, bowings, fingerings, phrasing, independent manual dexterities, and percussion techniques while sight reading;

(C)  demonstrate correct articulation and rhythmic accuracy while sight reading using a counting system within an appropriate tempo;

(D)  demonstrate observance of multiple key signatures and changing modalities while sight reading;

(E)  demonstrate use of a melodic reading system such as solfège, numbers, letter names, note names, or scale degrees while sight reading;

(F)  demonstrate application of dynamics and phrasing while sight reading; and

(G)  demonstrate accurate intonation while sight reading using concepts such as vowel shapes, ensemble blend, and just intonation.

(5)  Historical cultural relevance. The student relates music to history, culture, and the world. The student is expected to:

(A)  discriminate representative examples of music by genre, style, culture, and historical period;

(B)  evaluate the relevance of music to societies and cultures;

(C)  define the relationships between music content and concepts and other academic disciplines;

(D)  explain a variety of music and music-related career options;

(E)  analyze and evaluate the impact of technologies, ethical issues, and economic factors on music, performers, and performances; and

(F)  generate tools for college and career preparation such as curricula vitae, electronic portfolios, personal resource lists, performance recordings, social media applications, repertoire lists, and audition and interview techniques.

(6)  Critical evaluation and response. The student responds to and evaluates written music and musical performance in formal and informal settings. The student is expected to:

(A)  exhibit informed concert etiquette as a performer and an audience member during live and recorded performances in a variety of settings;

(B)  create and apply specific criteria for evaluating performances of various musical styles;

(C)  create and apply specific criteria for offering constructive feedback using a variety of musical performances;

(D)  develop processes for self-evaluation and select tools for personal artistic improvement; and

(E)  evaluate musical performances and compositions by comparing them to similar or exemplary models and offering constructive suggestions for improvement.

Source: The provisions of this §117.313 adopted to be effective July 28, 2013, 38 TexReg 4575.

 
 
 
 
 

 

Elkhart High School

BIG RED Band


Marching

Fundamentals

Handbook

 

“Strive for excellence”


“Good Enough is NEVER 

Good Enough”



This handbook is a reference guide for the Elkhart High School BIG RED Band in Elkhart, TX.  This book will spell out our fundamental marching techniques, common terms, rehearsal techniques and traditions.  If there is ever a question of how we do things in our marching phase, please refer to this handbook as a starting point.

 

All BIG RED Band members should know the contents of this book.  Let’s begin:



The Position of Attention

 

The position of attention is the centerpiece of our marching fundamentals.  We do ALL fundamental moves from the position of attention.  It is, without a doubt, the most important fundamental that we learn.  Our position of attention teaches us proper posture, uniformity in stance and form, and serves as a platform to display the pride that we have in ourselves and in the BIG RED Band.

 

Vocal Command

 

All vocal commands are in 4/4 time signature and will consume 1 full measure or 4 beats of time to complete.  The tempo will vary. 

 

The vocal command for the position of Attention is, “Detail – Ten Hut” to which the band responds: “Pride!”  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

                                               

“Detail  (rest)   Ten - Hut”     |     “Pride!”

1 &       2          3         4                     1

 

All vocal commands are staccato in nature, as are any and all vocal responses from the band. 

 

The Posture of Attention

 

When we are standing at Attention, the band must look uniform and professional with absolutely NO MOVEMENT.  In order to learn the position of attention correctly, we will start at the bottom and work our way up.

 

Feet – Our foot position is very important.  We use “second position” as foot placement.  Place your heels together and have your toes apart, with roughly the space of your fist between the arches of your feet.  

 

Knees/Legs – Stand with your legs straight.  This is fairly simple.  Your heels are together and you are just standing up straight and tall in a relaxed, comfortable manner. 

 

DO NOT LOCK YOUR KNEES!  By squeezing the quad muscle in your thigh, this pulls your knee into a “locked” position, cutting off return blood flow from the legs and creating a very dangerous situation.  If you lock your knees for an extended period of time, you will become light-headed and can pass out.  Please avoid this situation.  DO NOT LOCK YOUR KNEES! 

 

Hips – Your hips/pelvis should be facing forward, keeping your spine in alignment with your feet and legs.  Do not “ride back” on your hips.  That creates a leaning backward look that is not natural or appropriate for our position of attention.

 

Stomach – The stomach should be pulled inward.  While we teach that the stomach should be “in”, we are not teaching to hold your stomach in as if you were “sucking in” and holding your breath.  This is used more in conjunction with the chest position.  With the chest in the proper position, the stomach will naturally be “in”.

 

Chest – The chest is to be held out and up from your body.  Imagine a string attached to your sternum and is being pulled out and up away from you at a 45 degree angle.  That’s the position that we are looking for.  When you pull your chest out and up, it will automatically pull your stomach in.  Standing up tall with your chest out and up communicates a high level of pride.  It will and should feel very “prideful” when standing with your chest out and up.

 

TERMINOLOGY ALERT!!!  “Pull Up” – The chest position is key to creating the look and feel that we are after.  We will refer to this fundamental of the position of Attention many times throughout the marching year.  The phrase “Pull Up” refers to pulling your chest back into correct “up and out” position.  When we get lazy with our position of attention, two things generally happen.  We sag our shoulders and lean back onto our hips.  Both or either of these errors destroys the position of Attention

 

Shoulders – We will hold our shoulders back.  This fundamental is not to be overdone, as holding your shoulders as far back as possible makes holding and manipulating your instrument much more difficult, but a distinct pulling back of your shoulders is correct.  This builds on having your stomach in and your chest out.  Shoulders back will help make those two fundamentals better.

 

Head – We hold our head and chin up when we are at the position of Attention.  Again, uniformity and a look of pride are the main concerns here.  When looking straight ahead, you should have to “look down your nose” to see. 

 

There are several reasons for this:  Our uniform hat, or Shako, is designed with a brim that blocks the forward view when standing “normally”.  In order to see straight ahead with our hats on, you have to lift your chin up and look down your nose.  Another reason is instrument position.  Forward facing brass players especially will need to lift their head to play with proper horn angle.  We use a “slightly above parallel” instrument position (horn angle) for forward facing brass, so a head up position is necessary to maintain a proper embouchure and mouthpiece placement. 

 

The bottom line on why we do place our head in the up position is that it looks good, looks uniform, and is imposing when done correctly.  Keep your head up!

 

Eyes – Your eyes should not be looking around when at the position of Attention.  Just like the rest of your body at the position of Attention, your eyes DO NOT MOVE.  They should be focused and full of pride. 

 

What does “eyes full of pride” mean?  Well, that means different things to different people, but to sum it up, your eyes should communicate the level of pride that you have with this organization.  A stoic, almost mean look to your eyes is completely acceptable. 

 

With all of these fundamental checkpoints corrected, the final thing is to be still.  There is NO MOVEMENT at all when standing at the position of Attention.

 

Drill Position of Attention

 

The position of Attention’s main goal is to allow proper posture while marching and playing your instrument, as well as maintain uniformity in our presentation.  There are several specific checkpoints that we want to constantly check.  We do this with a command called “Drill Position of Attention.”

 

The command and response is:

 

Drum Major Command                         Band Response

How are your…             Heels?                   “Together!”

                         Stomach?               “In!”

                             Chest?                   “Out!”

                           Shoulders?              “Back!”

                           Chin?                   “Up!”

                                         Eyes?                   “With Pride!”

                                         Eyes?                   “With Pride!”

 

When we call a drill position of Attention, not only do we want a loud and unified response from the band, but we want each individual to double check each area of the position of Attention to make sure that these checkpoints are being done correctly.  It wouldn’t do us much good if you yelled “Together” and your feet were shoulder width apart, would it?

 

The “Eyes?  …With Pride!” section is repeated because pride is a very large component in our marching band.  Reiterating “with pride” is just another way that we remind ourselves that we are to take pride in our band.  The entire position of Attention can be summed up with that one word, pride.

 

Instrument Placement at the position of Attention

 

We hold our instruments perpendicular to the ground directly out in front of you.   The instrument should be far enough away that when we give a “Horns Up” command, the process of bringing the instrument up is smooth and efficient.  The elbows should NEVER tuck into your ribcage for support.  You must hold all of the instrument’s weight with your arms. 

 

With few exceptions (saxophone/sousaphone), the mouthpiece of the instrument will be at, or slightly above eye level and the instrument is at a 90 degree angle to the ground and parallel to your body.  In other words, the instrument will mimic your position of attention. 

 

Saxophone players will hold their instruments across their body with the mouthpiece to their left with their hands in proper hand position and the body of the saxophone parallel to the ground. 

 

Sousaphone players will just hold their instruments normally with their right hand on the valves and their left hand across the instrument holding the neck of the sousaphone where the bits connect to the mouthpiece.  The bell should point directly ahead of the player.  Straighten those bells...

 

Snare Drum and Tenor Drum players will stand with the sticks together in front of them at their waist. 

 

Bass Drum players will stand facing 90 degrees from the rest of the band.  The bass drum head will face forward to the sideline while the actual drum will point toward the “end zone” section of the field.  Sticks are held vertically next to the rim.  The sticks must be perpendicular to the ground, facing straight up.

 

ALL FUNDAMENTALS MENTIONED FROM THIS POINT FORWARD IN THIS HANDBOOK ARE CONDUCTED FROM THE POSITION OF ATTENTION!

 


Variations of the Position of Attention

 

There is no real variation to our position of Attention, but there is a variation on how we call it up and how we use it from time to time.

 

SET

Instead of the time consuming “Detail – Ten Hut” call to attention, more times than not, we use a simple command called “Set”.  This means to set immediately to attention.  The band will repeat “Set” as it’s programmed response when hearing the command, and the movement is instantaneous.  It saves time and energy during rehearsals.  Generally speaking, we use the entire Attention vocalization at the beginning and the end of a rehearsal, and use “Set” everywhere in between. 

 

CHECK

The vocal command “Check” refers to a relaxed version of the Position of Attention.  It is used when working a smaller part of the band for a short amount of time.  “Check” means that your right foot does not move and you DO NOT talk.  The rest of your body can be in a relaxed position. 

 

The stationary right foot keeps you in the form of the drill and close to your spot as well as keeps students from roaming around the field.  We do not talk because when the band is in “Check”, there is teaching going on somewhere and talking would distract from that.  When called to “Check”, always be ready for a call to “Set” as soon as possible.

 

TO THE READY

“Detail, to the ready!” will be called before the band is called to attention, either before a parade or before a marching performance.  After hearing the command, band members will stand with their feet shoulder width apart, look down and make a hissing sound, all while listening for the “Detail, Ten Hut” Attention command, to which the band will respond with “Pride!!!” as loud as possible.  


 

Horns Up/Down

 

Instrument placement in both the up and down position is very important to achieve both a uniform look and to maintain proper posture while marching.  The “horns down” position was covered in the position of Attention section, but we will cover that fundamental in more depth here.

 

Horns Down

 

This version of horns down is primarily used for fundamental marching rehearsal. 

 

The vocal command for horns down is, “Detail – Horns Down” to which the band answers with a staccato sizzle sound; “Tssst!”  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

                                               

“Detail   (rest)   Horns - Down”     |     “Tssst!”

1 &           2            3              4                       1

 

The response for horns up and horns down is the same staccato sizzle sound.

 

The instrument is an extension of your hands and arms.  It should be a very natural feel to manipulate the instrument up and down with a little practice.  Awkwardness at first is natural, but that is true of all of the marching fundamentals covered in this handbook. 

 

Flute/Piccolo – The instrument is held out in front of you at a 90 degree angle to the ground (pointing up and down).  The instrument mimics your position of Attention.  The lip plate should be level with your eyes.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument. 

 

Clarinet – The instrument is held out in front of you at a 90 degree angle to the ground (pointing up and down).  The instrument mimics your position of Attention.  The mouthpiece and reed should be level with your eyes.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument. 

 

Alto/Tenor/Baritone Saxophone – The instrument is held by its neck-strap hanging facing sideways with the mouthpiece to your left.  This should be how the instrument hangs normally from its strap.  Alto and tenor Saxophones should be parallel to the ground, while the baritone saxophone will have a slight angle.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument. 

 

All Forward Facing Brass (Trumpet/Mellophone/Trombone/Marching Baritone) – The instrument is held out in front of you at a 90 degree angle to the ground with the bell facing downward.  The instrument mimics your position of Attention.  The mouthpiece should be level with your eyes or slightly above, depending on the instrument.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument.   The movement from “horns down” to “horns up” should be a rotation of the wrists, NOT an arm movement.

 

Sousaphone – The instrument will be located on the left shoulder where the back tube goes across the shoulder and part of your back.  The tube should NOT be placed perpendicular to the shoulder.  The right hand should be on the valves and the left hand holding the neck where the bits and mouthpiece meet.  We do NOT use pads...so don’t ask.  

 

Snare/Tenor Drum – The instrument should be adjusted through the carrier to allow drum head to be slightly above waist level.  The drum should not be so high as to create an awkward angle of your elbows to play the drum, but also not low enough to straighten the arm too much.  Sticks are held side to side with the beads facing the opposite way.  Snare drum will use the either traditional grip or matched grip, depending on the show, while the tenors will use matched grip.

 

Bass Drum – The instrument should be adjusted through the carrier to allow the top of the drum to be at eye level.  Sticks are held in matched grip with the stick touching the rim of the drum closest to the player.  The stick should be in a straight up and down position (90 degrees from the ground) with the head of the stick facing upward.  When going from horns up to horns down, the sticks will actually make a clack sound on the rim of the drum.

 

Variations of Horns Down

 

When we are marching, a horns down is generally built into the last move that we make, or is placed somewhere in the music when a section has an extended period of rests.  These horn movements will vary from show to show, but there is one common variant that heeds mention.

 

An example of this horns down would be when we play the last note of a song and it ends on beat one, then beat two would be considered “and” and beat three would be “down”.  So the song would be 1-2-3-4-1-and-down. 

 

During the “and” part of the beat, the instrument is quickly and sharply removed from the mouth so that the snap of the horns down doesn’t damage their lips.  This is not a big move and isn’t considered a visual move since it really shouldn’t be seen from a distance.  The purpose of “and” is simply to give the mouthpiece some room to move during the “down” part.

 

During the “down” part of this move, the instrument is snapped to the down position as quickly as possible.  This particular horns down is very abrupt and harsh.  This part of the move is the visual statement.  The “and – down” movement is used at the end of our fundamental marching formations such as “Box Drill” and “Diamond Drill”.

 

Vocalizing “and down” is sometimes used to punctuate the move during a show or to help teach the move during rehearsal.  If vocalizations are used, they are to be sharp, loud and staccato. 

 

Horns Up

 

This version of horns up is primarily used for fundamental marching rehearsal. 

 

The vocal command for horns up is, “Detail – Horns Up” to which the band answers with a sizzle sound; “Tssst!”  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

                                               

“Detail   (rest)   Horns - Up”     |     “Tssst!”

1 &           2            3          4                     1

 

Again, the response for horns up and horns down is the same sizzle sound.

 

Flute/Piccolo – The instrument is up in a playing position with the instrument perfectly parallel with the ground.  A slight tilting down of the flute may be proper for concert band, but the marching band instrument position is flat and level.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument. 

 

Clarinet – The instrument is held out in front in normal playing position.  The angle of the instrument will change, however.  Because our position of attention has your head up, the instrument’s position will feel slightly farther away from you.  We try to maintain a 45 degree angle from the instrument’s mouthpiece to the ground.  Remember:  we achieve the 45 degree angle as a result of our “head up”  head position.  If your head is in the right place and you are using a proper clarinet mouthpiece angle, then the 45 degree instrument angle will take care of itself.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument. 

 

Alto Saxophone– The instrument is held by its neck-strap directly out in front of you.  The instrument will be straight up and down.   This will feel normal for alto saxophone players that play “down the middle”.  On the marching field, the alto sax is never played “off to the side” as it may be played in concert band.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument.

 

Tenor Saxophone/Baritone Saxophone – The instrument is held by its neck-strap hanging to your right.   This is the normal position for tenor or baritone saxophone player.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument. 

 

All Forward Facing Brass (Trumpet/Mellophone/Trombone/Marching Baritone) – The instrument is held up in a “slightly above parallel” position to the ground.  If the mouthpiece placement, instrument angle and embouchure are correct, this should be a natural playing position if you have your head in the correct “up” position.  Your hands should be in proper playing hand position on the instrument. 

 

Sousaphone – There is no horns up/horns down difference on the sousaphone. 

 

Snare/Tenor Drum – The instrument should be adjusted through the carrier to allow drum head to be at waist level.  The drum should not be so high as to create an awkward angle of your elbows to play the drum, but also not low enough to straighten the arm too much.  Sticks snap to a 45 degree angle from the player.  When the tips of the sticks meet, they should form a 90 degree angle.

 

Bass Drum – The instrument should be adjusted through the carrier to allow the top of the drum to be at eye level.  Sticks are held in matched grip with the stick touching the rim of the drum closest to the player.  The mallets snap to a 45 degree angle when viewed from the side.  Both hands move together…NEVER will one hand do a horns up while the other maintains a horns down position.  The two mallets are “locked” together and with the exception of playing, will always move horns up and down together.   Take special care that you play directly in the center of the bass drum head.  This may change your arm angle depending on which drum you play.

 

Variations of Horns Up

 

There are many variations of horns up as well.  The show will dictate many of these horns up moves, as the move will follow the mood of the music.  The most common variant is the subdivided horns up.

 

The band will get a count-off, whether vocal or via metronome (also called “the met”).  The first 4 beats are used for tempo purposes.  Beats 5, 6 & 7 (1, 2, & 3 in the second measure) are subdivided vocally by the band while they are bringing their instruments to the up position.  This is a slower, smoother, more deliberate variant of the horns up maneuver. 

 

The vocalization is subdivided eighth notes and would go like this:

 

(The count-off) One, Two, Three, Four (The vocalization)  dut, dut, dut, dut, Lock

 

The “dut” is the equivalent of one eighth note, so the counts for “dut, dut, dut, dut, Lock” would be 1 - & - 2 - & - 3 and the band would then breathe on beat 4 (total beat eight of the countoff) to play on beat one.

 

The band moves their instruments smoothly to the “up” positions during the “dut” subdivision.  They are to use all of those beats to bring their instrument up and the instrument is “locked” into the proper up position when they vocalize “lock”.  This allows the vocalization to keep alignment of instruments uniform.

 

This count-off/horns up combination is basically a two measure prep to play.  We use the two measure count-off to start our marching performances, so this is an extension of that.  The first measure of count-off gives the tempo, the band uses the vocalization to both time the horns up together and to internalize the tempo via subdivision. 

 

The subdivided horns up is the most common horns up we use outside of fundamental marching rehearsal.  We use this variation of horns up in our shows, in parades, at pep rallies and in the stands at football games. 

 

Mark Time

 

Mark Time is simply marching in place.  The feet move, but the placement on the field is stationary.  We use this fundamental for visual effect on the field, keeping the feet moving in tempo when the band has to come to a stop (i.e. parades), and for learning how to be “in step” during our summer band fundamental camp. 

 

The vocal command for Mark Time is, “Mark Time - Mark” to which the band responds with “Squeeze and Step”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 

“Mark Time Mark” – “Squeeze and  |  Step”

 1         2       3                  4         &           1

  

When we vocalize “Squeeze”, this refers to a tightening of the right thigh muscle (the quad, if you will) which acts to slightly move center mass and steady and balance the body when we do our kick off with the left leg.  The “And” part of the response relates to the knee moving outward and the entire foot (flat bottom) being lifted off of the ground. 

 

Again, the bottom of the shoe should remain flat.  For subdivision purposes during “Mark Time”, we concentrate on the bending of the knee outward on the & of the beat.  This creates a “1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &” feel to our “Mark Time” as well as our general marching fundamentals. 

 

To break down this subdivision further, the left foot hits the ground on 1, the right knee is at full bend and the right foot is off the ground on the “&” of 1 and the right heel hits the ground on 2.  The left knee is at full bend on the “&” of 2 and the left foot hits the ground on 3.  The right knee is at full bend on the “&” of 3 and the right foot hits the ground on 4.  The left knee is at full bend on the “&” of 4 and the left foot hits the ground on 1...then it starts all over again.

 

To end a “Mark Time”, we use our “Band Halt” command.

 

Halt

 

Halt is used to halt any movement of the band, whether it be a mark time, forward march, backward march or any other movement command. 

 

The vocal command for Halt is “Detail Halt” to which the band responds with “Freeze Close”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 

“Detail   (rest)   Halt”   “Freeze   |   Close

1 &           2          3               4                 1

 

The Freeze Close response is a vocal response of what their feet are doing.  On the word “Freeze”, they are planting their right foot squarely on the ground in front of them...adjusting the angle of their feet for a proper “second position” foot placement on the Close.  Sometimes, it requires a strange angle depending on their heading and the proximity of the sideline.  This is addressed on a case-by-case basis.  On the word “Close”, the student brings their left heel directly along side of their right heel, effectively stopping their movement and resuming the Position of Attention with the correct foot angle. 

 

The response “Freeze-Close” is what we use any time we are going from any type of movement to a halt.

 

4 Count Turns

 

We use 2 different 4 count turns:  Right and Left.  These moves are used in the place of right and left flanks as a traditional military marching band would do.  We use this command to change the direction of the band in an organized and professional manner.

 

4 Count Turn to the Right

 

This fundamental changes the band’s heading 90 degrees to the right.

 

The vocal command for our “4 Count Turn to the Right” is, “4 Count Turn to the Right - Move” to which the band responds by using all 4 counts equally as they slowly make the turn to the right while counting aloud.  The vocal response is: “1 2 3 Freeze Close”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 

“Four Count Turn to the Right – Move”  |  “1   2   3   Freeze   |   Close”

 1        &          2    &  a       3             4           1   2    3         4                 1

 


4 Count Turn to the Left

 

This fundamental changes the band’s heading 90 degrees to the left.

 

The vocal command for our “4 Count Turn to the Left” is, “4 Count Turn to the Left - Move” to which the band responds by using all 4 counts equally as they slowly make the turn to the Left while counting aloud.  The vocal response is: “1 2 3 Freeze Close”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 

“Four Count Turn to the Left – Move”  |  “1   2   3   Freeze   |   Close"

1        &          2    &  a      3           4             1   2   3        4                 1

 

Both variants of our 4 Count Turns must be consistent.  On beat 2, the student will have turned 45 degrees to either the right or the left.  Each beat is equal and consistent.  A student should not be fully turned earlier (or later) than beat 4.  Beat 4 is when all the students should finalize their facing. 

 

About Face

 

Our About Face command is a faster version of About Face than what is customarily used.  This command changes the facing of the band 180 degrees so that they are facing the opposite direction than they started.  Movement will be to the left for easier footwork.

 

The vocal command for our “About Face” is, “Detail – About Face” to which the band responds by using all 4 counts equally as they quickly make the turn to the left while counting aloud.  The vocal response is: “1 2 3 Freeze Close”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 

“Detail   (rest)   A - bout   Face”  |  “1   2   3   Freeze   |   Close

 1 &        (2)      &       3         4            1   2   3      4                 1

 

The turning speed and “step size” must be consistent.  On beat 2, the student will have turned 90 degrees to the left and they should be halfway around.  Each beat is equal and consistent.  A student should not be fully turned earlier (or later) than beat 4.  Beat 4 is when all the students should finalize their facing. 

 

Forward & Backward March

 

Forward March and Backward March is the command we use to start the band in motion.  These basic fundamentals are used in every marching situation, including our halftime contest performance as well as parades.  These are the most used and arguably the most important fundamentals in marching band.

 

Forward March

 

Forward March is a fundamental that we use to move in a forward motion, including forward facing slides.  Anytime our lower body is marching in a forward motion, it is considered a part of the Forward March command.

 

The vocal command for Forward March is, “Forward - Harch” to which the band responds with “Squeeze and Step”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 

“For - ward (rest) Harch” – “Squeeze and  |  Step”

1         &        2          3                  4         &           1

 

When we say “Squeeze”, this refers to a tightening of the right thigh muscle (just like our Mark Time) which acts to steady and balance the body when we do our kick off with the left leg.  The “And” part of the response relates to the left leg moving forward, keeping the leg straight (no bent knee) and the Step portion is when the left heel makes contact with the ground.

 

Kick Off

 

The first movement associated with Forward March is the Kick Off.  We do what is referred to as a “Straight-Leg Kick Off”, meaning that when the left leg starts the forward march, a concerted effort is made to keep that leg straight.  Neither the knee nor the ankle should bend at all during the Kick Off.  With the leg straight and the ankle not bending, the overall look should be consistent and the “heels down – toes up” concept pretty much natural.

 

The Kick Off helps to establish balance, establish tempo and to make sure you start on the correct foot.  The left foot starts all movement. 

 

Any and all forward movement will begin with the fundamental of the Kick Off. 

 

Marching In-Step

 

Marching In-Step refers to the correct foot hitting the ground on the correct beat.  Generally speaking, the left heel hits the ground on 1 and 3, while the right heel hits the ground on 2 and 4.  This is obviously different if we are marching in a 3/4 or 5/4 type time signature.

 

A key point to remember is that the beat happens when the heel touches the ground, not when the whole foot is planted or when the toes are on the ground. 

 

In order to further help consistency and uniformity of Marching In-Step, when we subdivide the beat to the eighth note level, the feet should pass each other on the “&” of the beat.  In other words, your left heel hits the ground on 1 and on the “&” of 1, the right foot should be directly beside the left.  The right heel should make contact with the ground on 2 and the left foot will be beside the right foot on the “&” of 2 and so on.

 

Out of step marching (not marching In-Step) is a major concern and a primary reason for low contest rankings.  Mastering Marching In-Step is a very important fundamental.

 

Marching In-Phase

 

Marching In-Phase refers to the heel of the foot hitting the ground on the beat.  This is regardless of whether you are In Step or not.  Being out of phase means that your heel is hitting the ground on some subdivision of the beat that is NOT 1, 2, 3, or 4.  Generally speaking, out of phase marchers are simply marching out of tempo. 

 

Marching In-Phase requires the feet and legs to move in tempo with the music.  When a student struggles with being out of phase, counting out loud and subdividing the beat while marching will go a long way to make it easier to master.

 

While marching out of step is very bad in terms of our consistency and uniformity of fundamental marching, being out of phase is absolutely devastating.  An out of phase marcher cannot be hidden and is unacceptable on the competition marching field.

 

Glide Step (Forward March)

 

The Glide Step is another fundamental that contributes to the consistency and uniformity of our fundamental marching.  It is also a very important fundamental in terms of keeping the upper body from bouncing.  Our upper body must remain perfectly still and smooth as we move.  All movement is made from the hips down.  When we don’t use the correct glide step, and audible beat can be heard through the instrument and thus creates problems in our full band sound. 

 

The most common phrase in regards to our Glide Step is “rolling your feet”.  This refers to the physical motion of stepping on the ground with your heel first (on the beat, of course), then rolling along the outside of your foot until you are back on your toes and stepping away from your spot.  It should be like you are trying to squeeze toothpaste from the bottom of the tube to the top with your foot.

 

The heel should stay low to the ground when marching and thus the toes should be as high in the air as they can be.  Every person is different, and the toe heights will vary from person to person, but for consistency’s sake, we try to get the toes as high as we can. 

 

Our reminder phrase is “heels down”.  This reminds the student to lower the heel while at the same time getting the toes in the air. 

 

When the student is executing a proper glide step, they should look and feel as though they are floating from the waist up.  The lower body (i.e. feet, ankles, knees, and hips) does 100% of the work while marching.  Never allow the upper body to get involved in the fundamental marching process.  The upper body remains at the Position of Attention at all times.

 

Backward March

 

Backward March is a fundamental that we use to move backfield while maintaining our forward facing instrument position including backward slides.  Anytime our lower body is marching in a backward motion, it is considered a part of the Backward March command.

 

The vocal command for Backward March is, “Backward - Harch” to which the band responds with “Up and Step”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 

“Back - ward (rest) Harch” – “Up    and  |  Step”

1          &        2          3               4        &         1

 

Kick Off

 

The “Up and Step” is a vocal response that deals with the physical act of leaning slightly forward and going up onto your tip-toes to prepare to march backward.  “Up and Step” is the Backward March equivalent of the Kick-Off.  

 

The backward march is done exclusively on the toes.  The heels never come in contact with the ground on a backward march.  In addition, using the “Up and Step” creates a very unique visual impact of the band (or a section of the band) getting taller one count before performing a backward march.  The “Up” part occurs one beat before the actual move starts, generally on count 4 before stepping on beat 1.

 

Glide Step (Backward March)

 

We use a straight-leg backward march.  The knee does only the minimal amount of movement while maintaining the appearance of keeping the leg straight.  The toes should lightly drag the ground when moving backward.  The sound of the drag should occur on the “&” of each beat.

 

The larger the backward step, the more the knee will have to bend in order to complete the step.  Performing the backward march on the toes helps to keep the leg straight.

 

Marching In-Step and In-Phase also must be accomplished in backward march.  Marching In-Phase is self-explanatory.  You must move your legs and feet to the beat of the music.  Marching In-Step, however, is a little more detailed.  The beat of the music occurs when the foot stops its backward “drag” motion and you put your weight on that toe. 

 

The up-on-the-toes, straight-legged backward march is the backward march equivalent of the glide step.  Just like the forward march, we must move backward with NO upper body movement.  If you stay up on your toes and keep your leg straight, then the upper body will not bounce up and down.  Bending your ankle at any time during a backward march may also introduce bounce into your marching fundamentals.  If your heel contacts the ground at any time, then the upper body will follow. 

 

In addition to facilitating a glide step, keeping your heel in the air helps you maintain your balance.  When the heel hits the ground, you may stumble backward creating an “out-of-step” and/or “out-of-phase” marching situation or you may actually lose your balance completely resulting in falling down. 

 

While backward marching, pay special attention to your center of gravity and lean forward a little bit to help keep you from stumbling backward.  You must constantly manipulate your center of gravity (balance) in order to execute a backward march.

 

Slides

 

Slides are very important to our marching style.  In order to maintain a “horns to the front” position, we utilize slides.  Because we use this fundamental to keep the horns to the front, we do not utilize a slide when the horns are down.  Slides are only performed when horns are in the up position.

 

A slide is accomplished when you swivel your hips facing whichever direction you need to go while keeping your shoulders and chest facing the sideline as if you were facing that direction.  In other words, the upper body always faces forward and the lower body faces the direction it is going.  This move is what we call a slide.

 

There are four basic slides:  Forward Slide Right, Forward Slide Left, Backward Slide Right and Backward Slide Left.  In the fundamental block, these slides are executed at a 90 degree angle.  In reality, most slides are done at a much smaller angle and easier to perform.   Our “Box Drill” utilizes all 4 slides done at a full 90 degree angle. 

 

Fundamental Slides

 

Forward Slide - Right

This fundamental is used to move to the right while maintaining a forward march and a forward facing instrument position.

 

The vocal command for the Right Forward Slide is, “Slide Right - Slide” to which the band responds with “Step and Move”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 

“Slide Right - Slide” – “Step    and  |  Move”

1         2           3               4        &            1

 

On the word “Step”, the band is to plant their right foot solidly so that they can push off of that right foot to take the first step to the right.  On the “Right Slide”, the first step requires a “cross-over” step for all band members except for drum line members. (Drum Line slides are covered a little later in the handbook)  This means that when you plant your right foot and then step with your left foot to the right, you have to spin on your right toe and cross your left foot over your right.  The left foot passes in front of the right foot on the cross-over step. 

 

Even though we roll our feet within our glide step, we make special considerations when doing a direction change.

 

All direction changes are done from a planted right foot.  We lead with the toe and plant the ball of our right foot on a direction change.  This maneuver allows us to have a good grip on the field before making a direction change.  There is no glide step (rolling the feet) for that 1 beat of music.

 

After the “Step and Move”, the lower body has changed directions and has started moving to the right.  The upper body is still facing front with the shoulders square to the sideline and in the instrument in proper horns up position.  The twist should be at the hips and lower back. 

 

DO NOT turn the shoulders in the direction of travel and just swivel the instrument toward the sideline.  That is not a slide.  Full 90 degree slides are hard work and if it feels comfortable and natural, you probably aren’t doing it correctly.

 

Forward Slide - Left

This fundamental is used to move to the right while maintaining a forward march and a forward facing instrument position.

 

The vocal command for the Left Forward Slide is, “Slide Left - Slide” to which the band responds with “Step and Move”.  The command and response has the following rhythm to it:

 


“Slide Left - Slide” – “Step    and  |  Move”

1         2          3              4         &            1

 

On the word “Step”, the band is to plant their right foot solidly so that they can push off of that right foot to take the first step to the left.  We make the same special considerations when doing a direction change on left slides as we do on right slides.  There is no “cross-over” step in a Left Slide.

 

Backward Slide – Right & Left

The command for either backward slide is the same as the equivalent forward slide command.  If you were in the process of forward marching when you hear a slide command, then you would execute a forward slide.  If you were in the process of backward marching when you hear a slide command, then you would execute a backward slide. 

 

The same “planting and pushing off of the right foot” happens on a backward slide as well. 

 

* Drum Line Slides

Drum Line members do a slide a little differently, meaning that they really don’t do a slide at all.  The command, response and initial footwork remain the same, but because of the drum and carrier, there is no way to twist at the hips and swivel to do a proper slide, so Drum Line members have to do what we call the “Crab Walk”.  This is essentially a forward facing sideways marching where the shoulders, hips and feet face the sideline while stepping sideways. 

 

The entire body stays facing forward while the lower body moves in either direction (left or right).  If the slide is forward in nature or directly sideways, then the cross-over step occurs IN FRONT OF the stationary leg.  If the overall movement is backward, then the cross-over step must occur behind the stationary leg. 

 

Other Fundamentals

 

Rock Step

 

The transition between a forward march to a backward march in the opposite direction (or backward march to forward march) is called a Rock Step.  This refers to the rocking motion that we make with our feet when changing direction. 

 

If you are marching backward and you must transition to a forward march, then you plant your right foot behind you, rock back on it and move forward with your left foot. 

 

If you are marching forward and you must transition to a backward march, then you plant your right foot in front of you, rock forward on it up to your tip-toes and move backward with your left foot.

 

Not only is it a visual maneuver, but it also helps to keep you in-step while making that transition.


Corps Style Marching Concepts

 

While playing music during a field show, the band makes a series of formations, called drill, on the field, which may be pictures, geometric shapes, curvilinear designs, or blocks of musicians, although sometimes it may be pure abstract designs using no specific form.

 

Typically, each band member has an assigned position in each formation. In many show bands and most drum corps, these positions are illustrated in a handheld booklet called drill charts. Drill charts show where each person stands during each set of the show. The drill charts include yard lines and hashes as they would be on an actual football field, which shows the band members where to stand in relation to the yard lines and hashes. There are many ways of getting from one formation to the next:

 

-       Each member can move independently – this is called scattering or "scatter drill"

-       All the members can move together without deforming the picture – this is called floating

-       The members can stay in their lines and arcs, but slowly deform the picture – this is sometimes called rotating, expanding, or condensing

-       The members can break into ranks or squads, each of which performs a maneuver (such as a follow-the-leader) which may or may not be scripted

-       Each member may have a specifically scripted move to perform – in these cases, the desired visual effect is often the move itself and not the ending formation

 

Many bands use a combination of many or all of the above techniques, sometimes adding dance choreography that is done in place or while marching. Players may point the bells of their instruments in the direction they are moving, or slide with all the bells facing in the same direction. Bands that march in time with the music typically also synchronize the direction of individuals' turns, and maintain even spacing between individuals in formations (called intervals). Sometimes bands will specifically have wind players turn their instruments away from the audience in order to emphasize the dynamics of the music.

 

Auxiliaries can also add to the visual effect. Backdrops and props may be used on the field that fit the theme of the show or the music being performed.  


The Grid

 

We use a grid on our practice field.  Please remember that there is no grid on a performance field, but the concepts that we learn from our grid will transfer to a “normal” playing field.

 

The grid is a small dot located every 4 paces on the football field.  This dot locates “halfway in between” yard lines, as well as locating 4, 8, 12, 16, etc. paces from the sideline.  This gives us a “3-D” feel of our practice field and teaches us what 4 paces from the sideline or a yard line looks like. 

 

The grid aids in setting drill and maintains consistent drill while cleaning.  We will, at times, “snap to grid” in order to make a set of drill easier to find.  This simply means that we will move from our choreographed spot from the drill charts to the closest grid dot.

 

Spacing

 

Our spacing on the field is a very important component to Corps Style marching band.  This refers to the space between members of the band.  Most of the time, the space between each member should be uniform throughout the band.  There are instances when the spacing in one section is different than another section, but the spacing is equal from section to section.

 

When we are marching a “block”, then the spacing should be equal front to back as well as side to side.  When we march lines, then our emphasis should change to adjusting to the player on each side (to the right and to the left). 

 

You can’t be closer to the student on your right and farther away from the person on you left…that is the definition of bad spacing.

 


Cover Down

 

The term “Cover Down” refers to the active movement that it takes to make a line straight.  When standing in straight lines, you must put yourself in that line by looking down the line and placing the person directly in front of you “on top of” the person on the other side of them.  In other words, you should only see the person directly beside/in front of you.  If you can see the person beside them, then you are out of line. 

 

The second person in the line will set the angle of the line.  This is the most important position when we are trying to set a straight line.  The first person needs to be correct, but it’s the second person in the line that will set the angle of the line.  Depending on the length of the line, a 6 inch mistake by the second person in line can turn into a 10 yard mistake by the end of that line.  The second person needs to be accurate.

 

Forms

 

Forms are the pictures or shapes that we make on the field as a part of our field show.  Each form, called a set, has a certain number of counts that it takes to arrive at the form.  Sometimes, we will stop on a set and show the picture for an extended period of time.  This is called a hold.  When we hold on a set, the form must be accurate and symmetrical…meaning the spacing between members must be consistent and equal, as well as each line, curve, or block looking smooth and accurate.

 

On forms that we do not execute a hold on, the form is used as a common transition point for the band.  In this form, the actual “picture” that we form is not the most important thing.  The consistent movement and individual spacing moving to the picture then the transition away from the picture is the main concern. 

 

This “consistent movement” to and from the form includes spacing, being in-step and being in-phase with our feet.

 

Transitions

 

Transitions are the point in which we move from set to set.  The transition point is the set.   Most of our transitions are done off of our right foot. We use a roll step during normal marching, but we will use a toe down, planted right foot in order to do the transition.  Sometimes the transition will move you in the same direction…in this case, you will simply “march through” the set, but if you change direction from set to set you must plant the right foot firmly. 

 

The right foot is the key to a good, clean transition.

 

Plus-1/Minus-1

 

We will use the “Plus-1” and “Minus-1” in order to get proper footwork transitions learned while learning/cleaning drill.  This is simply the beat before we start and the beat after we end.  Both Plus-1 and Minus-1 are used in set-to-set marching only.  It is not an active part of our marching show, but a teaching technique that we use to learn flow from one set to another.

 

Plus-1 is when we add one beat to our rehearsal set and take that one step toward the next set.  This aids transition between multiple sets.  The plus-1 should be a roll step and should stop immediately on that roll step.  At the end of the set, the student will freeze on the Plus-1 with their toes in the air.  This is to simulate moving on to the next set.

 

Minus-1 is when we add one beat before the step off.  The Minus-1 takes the place of the normal “Kick Off” and is a step in whatever direction you would have been coming from if we were marching the drill continuously and the Minus-1 step is on the “Lock” part of our normal “Horns Up” vocalization.  This maneuver varies from set to set and helps to simulate moving in to the current set from the set before.  


Fundamental Drills

 

 

Warm-Up/Box Drill

 

As a part of our everyday playing warm-up, we incorporate a fundamental marching drill that we call the box drill.  The first part of our warm-up consists of about 3-4 minutes of stretching, followed by our playing warm-up (variations taken from the book, “Fundamentals for Superior Performance).  As we finish up our Foundations warm-up, we play our Chorale (Psych Warm-Up) and the box drill is set to this chorale.

 

The box drill contains the following maneuvers in this order:  Forward March (8 counts), Forward Slide Left (8 counts), Backward March (8 counts), Backward Slide Right (8 counts), Forward March (8 counts), Forward Slide Right (8 counts), Backward Slide (8 counts), Backward Slide Left (8 counts), and a Forward March (8 counts) then a Halt. At the end of the Box Drill, you should end up 8 steps (5 yards) in front of where you started.

 

This drill incorporates both Forward and Backward march with left and right Slide variations of each.  In other words, every moving fundamental that we will use in our show is used in this drill.  Make this drill and the individual fundamental techniques that it contains a very high priority.

 

 

Diamond Drill

 

We use this drill primarily in our Summer Band Camp.  This drill teaches oblique marching fundamentals. 

 

To perform a Diamond Drill, you will kick off marching at a 45 degree angle to your left (12 steps to the yard line).  You will pass through our grid marking in 6 steps.  The next move will be at a 45 degree angle to your right back to the yard line that you started on (again…12 steps to the yard line, through the grid dot).  The next move is a backward slide to the right on a 45 degree angle (12 steps, through the grid) followed by a backward slide to the left on a 45 degree angle (12 steps through the grid) back to your original starting spot.  We use an 8 count forward march and a halt to end this drill. 

 

The overall picture of this move is a large diamond…thus the name.

 

 

Triangle Drill

 

We use this drill primarily in our Summer Band Camp.  This drill teaches oblique marching fundamentals in combination with slides and backward marching and the transitions of each.

 

The Triangle Drill consists of a squad of 5 members.  The first member starts at a grid dot that is at least 10 yards away from the sideline.  The first move is a 16 count oblique move to the student's left that covers 10 yards forward and 5 yards to the left moving through the appropriate grid dot in 8 counts.  This move transitions to a forward slide-right for 8 counts followed by a backward march 16 counts to return to their original starting position.  After the first student starts the Triangle Drill, the next student moves into that position and starts 8 counts later, followed by the next student and the next until they are all in the drill, 8 counts apart.  This drill is a continuous movement drill until halted.

 

There are several variations of the Triangle Drill.  One version has the first student starting to their right as a first move with a forward slide-left to complete the triangle.  You can also substitute backward slide-right or left to get some practice of that fundamental.  


 

Zig-Zags

 

A Zig-Zag is a fundamental routine that uses combinations of forward march and slide-left and right.

 

The students perform an 8 count forward march followed by an 8 count slide-right, then 8 counts forward and an 8 count slide-left.  This continues until halted.  The overall effect is forward 8, slide-right 8, forward 8, slide-left 8 (to get back onto the original plane), then forward 8 and it starts all over again.  This drill can be done as a primarily forward or primarily backward fundamental.

 

8's and 8's

 

This is a very simple fundamental.  It consists of a forward (or backward) march of 8 counts followed by 8 counts of Mark Time, then it starts all over again.

 

Oof

 

This is a fundamental drill used to work on our “Rock Step”.  It consists of a forward march of 4 counts, utilizing the Rock Step to transfer into 4 counts of Backward March, then Rock Stepping into 8 counts of Forward March and Halt on the next yard line.  Rinse and repeat.


Foo

 

This is another fundamental drill used to work on our “Rock Step”.  This drill is the opposite of “Oof”.  The first line starts facing AWAY from the field.  It consists of a Backward March of 4 counts, utilizing the Rock Step to transfer into 4 counts of Forward March, then Rock Stepping into 8 counts of Backward March and Halt on the next yard line.  Do a quick adjustment to get on the yardline, then do it again.


Spin Cycle

 

This is a VERY complicated fundamental drill...but BY FAR the most fun!  Here goes…


Start with a Forward March for 4 counts (Forward March).  At the end of those 4 counts, snap the instrument to the left (Forward Right Slide) while maintaining your forward momentum.  Hold that position for 4 counts, then transition to a Backward March while holding the instrument in the SAME facing from the previous move (Backward Right Slide).  Do this for 4 counts, then transition to a straight up Backward March (bring the instrument forward) for 4 counts (Backward March).  After those 4 counts, the instrument will snap to the left while maintaining your backward march to create another slide position (Backward Left Slide) for a total of 4 counts.  Next, transition to a Forward March while keeping the instrument angle in the SAME facing from the previous move (Forward Left Slide).  After those 4 counts, snap the instrument to the forward position (Forward March) and you start again…


Here it is again…

4 counts - Forward March

4 counts - Forward R Slide

4 counts - Backward R Slide

4 counts - Backward March

4 counts - Backward L Slide

4 counts - Forward L Slide

4 counts - Forward March (this is back to the beginning)


All of these “slides” are done while maintaining a straight line trajectory on the marching field, hitting a dot on our grid every 4 counts.  All moves should be “snappy” in nature. 


 

Traditions

 

We have created and maintained many traditions in the Elkhart BIG RED Band.  We believe that traditions add to our program’s level of pride and commitment.  Listed below are a couple of traditions that our marching band follows.

 

The Elkhart Mile

 

This is literal.  During summer band, we will march a mile on our track.  While we do work into the mile (the Elkhart Quarter Mile, the Elkhart Half Mile, the Elkhart Three-Quarters of a Mile), we march that mile daily.  It is a grind, but it is the greatest teacher of marching in-step and in-phase for us.  It is also a source of pride and accomplishment within the band.  We work hard, and the Elkhart Mile is our benchmark.

 

Drill Downs / Squad Comps

 

At the end of every Summer Band outside marching rehearsal, we will end with a Drill Down.  This is a series of fundamentals called out by the drum major(s) or band director(s).  The overall goal of the Drill Down is to get everyone reacting to and understanding how to implement our core fundamentals quickly.  This is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one.

 

All band members start in the fundamental block.  As the fundamentals are called out, they must execute the fundamental correctly and in tempo.  If a mistake is made (mistakes start off as large mistakes and gradually get more specific and detailed), then that student is out.  This means that they are to move quickly to the sideline, do 10 pushups and then stand at attention and watch the rest of the Drill Down. 

 

The winner of the Drill Down is the last band member left on the field.  The winner will sometimes get a prize for their effort, but the main reward is a job well done.  Winning the Drill Down is a big deal, and we make it a priority.

 

Squad Comps are basically drill downs with squads competing instead of individuals.  The best squad wins...

 

OOSAW

 

OOSAW is the acronym for Out-Of-Step Awareness Week.  We will dedicate an entire week to OOSAW once the entire drill is on the field and we’ve had a few weeks to clean it.  Not only do we hammer the concept of being in-step, but this is the week that individuals corrected for being out-of-step.  This is not a fun week for students who struggle with marching in-step, but we feel that it’s a necessary evil to making our overall show presentation acceptable. 

 

This week shows our all-out, complete and total commitment to marching in-step.  Out-of-step marchers will be required to do calisthenics whenever they are out-of-step.  This could range from push-ups to sit-ups to jumping jacks or laps.  Anything that we can use to help will be used.

 

We reserve the right to use other stupid acronyms as needed.

 

Our Role as Marching Band

 

Our main objective and purpose is to provide spirit and pride through music at the football games.  What this means is that we are there to support our football team.  We watch the game, cheer when appropriate and do our very best to be “in” the game.  Win or lose, those are our boys out there playing for Elkhart…we WILL support them!

 

Friday Night Football Games

 

We are responsible for the School Song before the game, the Fight Song when our football team runs out, and the National Anthem at home games. We also play the Fight Song at every Elkhart score.

 

These 3 songs are of utmost importance, because they represent our community and our nation.  Learn them and learn them right!

 

During halftime, we march our contest show in order to entertain the audience.  We want to do everything in excellence on Friday night so that it brings pride to our community.  UIL Marching Contest is not our primary goal!  While we do use football game halftimes as a “contest dress rehearsal”, but we must never forget that Friday Night Football games are our main performance objectives.  The community of Elkhart does not traditionally come out to our contests, so this is where the general public determines its opinion of our band. 

 

Other Music (The Book)

 

In addition to the School Song, Fight Song, National Anthem and our Marching Show Music, we will also play what we call “Stand Tunes”.  The sum total of our marching music is called “The Book”.  Learning the book is the responsibility of the student.

 

Stand tunes are short arrangements of popular music.  The book remains fairly consistent from year to year, but there will be a few additions and subtractions to the book every year.

 

We will play our stand tunes in between quarters, during time-outs, and when we are on defense.  We do NOT play when we are on offense, with one exception:  When we get a first down, we play “Tag”, which is the very end of our Fight Song.  During the game, you must pay attention and always be at the ready for playing TagTag is very short and must be done before the offense gets ready to run its next play.

 

Discipline

 

We use “Richies” (see below) or running laps as a physical way of training ourselves to do things the right way.  Here are a few examples of what and why we do what we do:


Late to rehearsal:  Get to the field and do 10 “Richies”, then get into the form as quickly and quietly as you can.  Keep in mind that lateness to a major after-school rehearsal will also deduct points from your grade.  You need to learn that being early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is totally unacceptable.

 

Forgetting your drill chart:  If you get to the field without your drill chart, then you must do 10 Richies every time we reference our drill chart as well as run a lap after rehearsal.  You need to learn to remember your equipment and the drill chart is a very importance piece of equipment for marching band. 

 

Talking during rehearsal:  There is always a small amount of talking, but when the talking is not about the drill, the music or anything related to marching band, it is a distraction and is not tolerated.  This could result in anything from Richies to laps depending on the consistency of your disruption.  You must learn the amount of self-control you need in order to have the amount of discipline and pride that we require in our group

 

These are just a few examples of common discipline techniques that we have used in the past.  All disciplinary action is subject to change.  Strangely enough, our high level of discipline is also a source of pride in our band.   We will simply be disciplined in our actions and we will place a lot of effort and pride in doing so.

 

Richies:  Start from a normal standing position with your hands at your side.  Jump straight up in the air and kick your feet outward and clap your hands directly above your head.  All of this should be done WHILE STILL IN THE AIR, because you then need to get your feet back together and your hands to your side by the time you land from your initial jump. 


Drink lots of water, and earn that PE credit!!!

 

 

 

last update - 8/21/20