Thursday, July 29, 2010
and so my 8th year of teaching commences...
First day of Band Camp today and it certainly was a hot one...I must say that it really did go well and run like a well oiled machine. Tevin, one of my juniors, said something to the affect that he felt like a seasoned veteran out there helping others find their place on the field and figuring it all out. That made my heart glad because I remember when he joined us halfway into camp his freshman year. I had told the Line that I was in need of a fourth bass drummer and that they needed to be a big kid cause it's the biggest drum. Jeff (BD #3) told me his friend, Tevin, wanted to be on the Drum Line but he had no experience because he had been in orchestra up till then...I remembered Tevin from 6th and 7th grade orchestra so I told Jeff to bring him in. This poor kid...I literally threw the drum on him, piled on top of it all his music and drill book (of which we had been playing the music for a while and had learned half the drill), gave him a big smile and said "Let's go!". So for him to tell me that he felt confident in helping out those around him and was proud that he really understands what's going on made me happy. Maybe I am teaching these kids something...not just about music but about being a good person as well.
We gathered in the band room at Ruskin (man it's smaller and more cramped than Hickman's) for the first full band rehearsal of the new school year. *Remember*...we consolidated school's this year...we've combined two different programs, two different philosophies; in essence two *completely* different ways of doing things and I think it's going to work. Oh there were a few balkers to be sure, and definitely one who couldn't hack it, but I think it's gonna work...Anyways...after the welcomes, announcements and reminders we headed outside. Instantly we were hit with a wall of heat. Whoo0buddy it was hot today! I swear I lost 5lbs in sweat/water weight alone.
We started putting them through the paces of the fundamentals: Forward March, Drag Step, Right Slide, Left Slide, Crabsteps, Glide Step, *DON'T MOVE AT ATTENTION!!*, Mark Time, Parade Rest, "STOP FIDGETING!"...Toes UP!, Chin UP! Hands by your sides, *Snap* the movement, About Face, To The Rear..."I don't care if someone comes streaking through wearing nothing but saran wrap, DO.NOT.MOVE!".
I think they got the point. ;)
After the fundamentals we moved onto reading drill and plotting the first song. I swear...this drill is so easy they better nail it! NO EXCUSES! We successfully put the first drill on the field from start to finish and yes even though there are a lot of rough edges to smooth out, there's a lot of potential there to build upon.
Did you know that there are smart, logical thinking young men and women in our band who did not bring water with them to an outdoor rehearsal on astro-turf under a 90 degree-plus sun? I'll never understand it...never.
After the break was the classic drill-down...I'm sure that was an interesting experience for some. :) Spencer Jones (senior...can't believe it!), trumpet player was the grand winner. Congrats Spencer!!
Finally make it inside for 30minutes of music rehearsal and sweet Jesus hallelujah for air conditioning! That blast of cold air as I walked through the school doors was the most welcome thing in the world after spending darn near 3 hours out in the sun...on astro-turf in case you'd forgotten. Have you ever had the experience of your feet burning while standing on turf in the hot sun? It's quite interesting, but I don't recommend it for the faint of heart...you gotta be tough to work through heat like that.
Finally made it too noon and it was time to eat then have Drum Line rehearsal. Never have I devoured my food with such a hunger; I'm packing more for tomorrow cause what I took today didn't cut it. Ha! We wound up losing a rehearsal together because I wanted everyone to get their uniforms fitted and get that task out of the way but let me tell you that when we came back together after about 20minutes of sectional time something magical happened. We played through the piece we're taking to marching competition and it was beautiful. Rough around the edges? Yes. Needs dynamics? Yes. Needs movement? *Absolutely* but to have the pleasure of witnessing one of those early season miracles where everything gels together and sounds damn good, that my friends is what makes it all worth while.
F*** cancer. As long as I have my family, friends, and Drum Line...that's all I need in this crazy world to keep me sane. Looking forward to tomorrow. :)