- A Focus on Fundamentals -
- Foundational Skills Development for Concert Band -
When I look back on my years in grade school band, and even collegiate ensembles, focused work on fundamental skills was almost never a part of the routine. As a result, there were many times with those ensembles where it was a week before the concert, and we were still struggling to play the right notes and rhythms, let alone with good intonation and interpretation. However, when I marched in drum corps, focused work on fundamental skills was an integral part of our daily routine. This is one of the biggest reasons why drum corps tend to perform at a high level so consistently. This book brings some of the technique development exercises used by drum corps - breathing, long tones, range builders, flexibility, and others - into an accessible supplemental book that includes exercises that are appropriate for musicians at just about any level, ranging from a well-developed first year student to adult players. This supplement has been field-tested with my own students; incorporating it into our daily routine paid dividends when they came back to in-person rehearsals after almost a full year of remote learning.
This book also has tight integration with technology through the use of Youtube and SmartMusic. Accompaniment tracks for the breathing exercises and warm up sets in the book are on Youtube, and by using the playlist functionality, directors can create their own custom warm up sets that are tailored to the needs of their bands. Timestamps are also available if the need arises to repeat or break down the exercise. In addition to the Youtube functionality, XML files for all of the warm up sets and chorales are included with each purchase. Directors can upload these files to SmartMusic and assign specific exercises for individual assessments. The benefits are two-fold; students have the opportunity to receive individualized grading and feedback on each exercise, and by moving individual assessment out of the rehearsal and onto SmartMusic, we eliminate a common time-suck from the rehearsal. This leaves more time to do what we all come to the band room to do - make music together!