Friday, 27 September 2013

Back into the Swing

Back into Jazz and Junior Winds

We had great first rehearsals for the Jazz bands and for Junior Winds this week.  Thank you to all students who came out.   Both jazz bands worked a little on the swing style and a little on rock, and Junior Winds did some excellent sight reading of new music.   If there is anyone who would like to be in these groups but was not there, please let us know so we can get music ready.

In Grade 6 Band 

Students continue to learn so many things so quickly.   Our focus this week has been on making sure students understand note names, time signatures, and rhythms.   To do this, we have been using flashcards to reinforce rhythms and doing a lot of note naming.   Students are now using their composition books.   We have started writing music on the musical staff.  We began with a rhythm and placed it on our musical staff.   We used notes that we knew and notes that we did not know yet.  From the notes we did not know, we used our fingering charts on Page 55 to look up the fingering.    Grade 6's also experimented with fermatas this week.   This was an opportunity for many of the Grade 6's to be the conductor.     Students held on to their note until the guest conductor cut them off.  

Breathing is one of the very basics of playing any wind instrument.   We also have been working on some breathing exercises.   Percussionists learned it is extremely important to breathe as well as this is how the band stays together.   They have been working on flams, paradiddles, and beginning to master the note names on the bells. Flutes we are still working on hand position in order to go quickly between D's and C's.   We have also shared with flutes they are allowed to "cheat" a little when we play long tones.    Since the air goes two directions when flute payers play, they lose half their air every time they play a note.   They are allowed to "cheat"  and take an extra breath when we play a long note.     Clarinets are working on covering all of their holes.   As you work your way down the clarinet, the holes get bigger.   Sometimes if we never try the bottom hand we develop some bad habits for hand position.   To help this, we are experimenting with some of those lower notes now.    We will name them later.    Saxophones have been working on tonguing.   Tonging feels rather funny for many saxophone players at the start.  The tongue touches the tip of the reed in order to get different rhythms.    Sometimes it "tickles"   as the students say, and say some students resist tonguing.  We will continue to work at it.

All of the brass players are beginning to work on the basics of lip slurs.   This is where we take one pitch and using the same fingering to go either higher or lower.   Brass players are reminded to always begin with buzzing.   French horn players are reminded they have two pages.    We begin with the low page side.    As well grade 6's this week began figuring out they can come up with familiar melodies on their instruments.  Posture is beginning to become a habit.  Our saying is "Stand to sit or sit to stand."   This reminds students that if they need to stand quickly while they are sitting, generally they are playing with good posture.   Our embouchures are becoming stronger, and we look forward to hearing just how long our long tones will be next week.

We have once again circled in each student's book what to practice.   We look forward to the sounds of Grade 6 next week!

In Grade 7 Band

Students this week had some really great musical moments.   They continue to work at musical balance and blend.  We use a snow man analogy to compare to the sound pyramid.   If the high sounds are the loudest then our snow man is inverted and ends up sinking.   If our low sounds are strong and everyone can hear them, then our snow man stays standing.  

We spent a lot of time last year mastering our first scale - concert Bb.   Now, we are mastering Concert Eb scale.   This has involved some new fingerings for the flute players, low notes for the clarinets, high notes for trumpets, trombones, euphoniums, and tubas.  The french horns are happy, they finally have a scale that is in a really great range for them.   We are focussing on this scale because we have two pieces that have this key signature.   As well as learning this scale on mallets, percussionists have been trying out some of the other percussion instruments.

All grade 7's this week have been reminded what they need to do on their individual instruments to warm up.   Flute players are reminded to start with octaves (low-high), clarinet and saxophone players are reminded to work down their instruments in long notes.    Brass players are reminded to always buzz and play lip slurs, and percussionists are reminded to begin working their way through their rudiment chart.

All students need their composition book and their Measures of Success.   We will be circling what to practice.   Most students are on page 28 of the Blue Measures of Success.    We specifically will be working on measures  1-20 of Incantation and Ritual and measures 31 to the end of Spirit of the Wolf.

We look forward to hearing what the Grade 7's sound like next week!

In Grade 8 Band

Mr. Weist began conducting the Grade 8 band.   He is working on Chant and Tribal Dance.   Students also were given two new pieces this week.  These include African Marching Song and Chesapeake Serenade.   Grade 8's continue to work through the Circle of Fourths.   They will be told specifically what to work on in their sectionals.

Students will also be receiving Consent and Waiver forms for our upcoming retreat with Professor Ghiglione at the U of R on the morning of October 16.  Completed forms should be returned to Mr. Wilkinson at the next full band.

Once again, please check out our Week at a Glance for schedules and our new "You Tube"   links.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Celebrations, Compositions, and a Guest

In Grade 6 Band This Week

Grade Six band students are amazing.    They learn so many things so quickly.    This week we began studying the differences between whole, half, and quarter notes and how they relate to a time signature.    Brass students began the first steps in developing their embouchures to play more than one pitch with the same fingering.   Woodwind students began working on covering even more wholes on their instruments.   Clarinet players were reminded to keep left hand on the top, right hand on the bottom and both hands in a "c" shape.    We are keeping a watchful eye on our flute players.  The flute takes up a lot of air and many students are up against the first major flute obstacle.   This is playing C-D.   This involves taking all of their fingers off the keys to putting them back on while holding the flute in its proper position.   It is a challenge!    Percussionists are working through paradiddles and flams and exploring the other rudiments on Page 54 and 55.   They have been reminded to keep their wrists relaxed as they play.    Besides all of this Grade 6 students have begun the basics of musical notation.   The Grade 6's were challenged to write their own composition at the end of Page 4.   (For this students may use note names instead of musical notation.)

Since all of the instruments are still at very much different stages, we have been circling in their books the exact lines to practice.   Not all students will have exactly the same things to practice.   Several students have asked if they can use their composition books to write their own songs - yes, please do!   We look forward to hearing your new song.    As well, students are encouraged to use the cd's in our book to listen to and play along with.   We are looking forward to what next will bring in Grade 6 Band!

In Grade 7 Band This Week

We  celebrated in Grade 7 Band this week.   The Grade 7's were the winner of a contest they entered last year as Grade 6's.   We had submitted a soundclip after their December Concert and found out just before the end of the school year that hey won.   Their prize was a Long and McQuade gift card which was used to restock our treasure box.   Congratulations Grade 7's!   This week also marked the first time we were able to use the wheel chair lift into the band room.   This was a very special week!

Grade 7's are working on blend and balance.   We are discovering that this is easier said than done. We have been working on a few exercises where students have to pick out the part that someone else is playing while they are playing a different part.     The bigger the group, the harder it is.    There are many amazing sets of ears in Grade 7 and the students are beginning to pick out these musical lines.    Students are working on Incantation and Ritual by Brian Balmages, Spirit of the Wolf by Michael Oare, and Song of Peace by James Swearingen.   As well, we are reviewing Concert Bb, Concert, Eb, and Concert F Scales.   We will be working out of our Blue Measures of Success Book this week, please make sure it is in your folder.   This week we asked students to look at their sheet music.  Next week we will go back to circling lines in their books to practice.

In Grade 8 Band This Week

Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Wiest were away at their internship seminar this week.   In Mr. Wilkinson's place we had Mr. Crawford with us.  Mr. Crawford teaches percussion and drums in the city and also plays with the Regina Symphony Orchestra.   All of our percussionists were treated to a special master class by Mr. Crawford.   Here they worked on percussion technique and specifically they worked on some of the auxillary instruments.  

The Grade 8's are continuing to work through the Circle of Fourths.    The sheet music they worked on included Spain, Amen, and Chant and Tribal Dance.   Grade 8 students are asked to take a look at all of these.

As well...

Take a look at our "Week at a Glance" page for sectional schedules.   As well we have added some more "you tube" video links.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Jazz Band and Junior Winds Starting Soon!

Rehearsal and Start Times
We have had a number of students asking about Jazz Band and Junior Winds.  
Tuesdays after school from 3:50 - 5:00 will be Grade 7 Jazz Band at Campbell.   The first day will be Tues. Sept. 24.  Wednesdays after school 3:50-5:00 will be Grade 8 Jazz Band at Campbell.   The first day will be Wed. Sept. 25.  Students who want to be in jazz band but are finding their grade of jazz band does not work into their schedule, please let us know.   We will make arrangements so that you can join the other group.  Junior Winds will begin on Thursday Sept. 26 from 7:30-8:30a.m. at Campbell.   Junior Winds is a smaller concert band setting.    Jazz Band and Junior Winds are open to all Grade 7 and Grade 8 students or Grade 6 students who have experience already on their instrument.   We look forward to staring these groups next week!

Friday, 13 September 2013

In Our First Week of Band...

Thank you to all of our students for a wonderful first week of band.    It was very nice to see and hear the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students and so nice to meet so many very excited Grade 6 band students.  

This Week in Grade 6 Band
The Grade 6's are split into two full bands.   Grant Road and Perry join to make one group.  (We look forward to seeing Perry students next week.)    Massey, RCS, and McVeety join together to form another group.   The band room was filled with many excited grade 6's as they demonstrated all they learned in their clinics last week.     The Grade 6's are exploring their method books, and discovering new things about their instruments.   They were left with the tasks of finding a name for their instrument, finding their favourite note (or rudiment if a percussionist) and finding a favourite sound effect on their instrument.    Favourite notes may be a note they already know or a note that is new as found on their fingering chart (p.55).   We are a mix right now of students who are ready to read music and students who are not.   Some students are looking at page 4 in their book and some page 7.   We will be reminding students that learning an instrument is not a race and to keep practice consistent.    We will be also reinforcing that putting instruments together and apart is not "quickly" but "carefully."   The first day of grade 6 band is VERY exciting and thank you grade 6's for making your start so great.

This Week in Grade 7 Band
The Grade 7's also had a great start.   It is wonderful to see the Grade 7's again.   We are split in two groups.   Perry and Grant Road are together.  Massey, McVeety and RCS are together.  We will be staring with composition books again in the next few weeks.   If you have yours at home, please bring it to school.    Grade 7's began the year with a really big and full sound.    It is wonderful!   We will be now working at controlling our sound and so did some exercises incorporating musical blend and balance.  We have reviewed our musical snowman which helps us to understand the importance of all instruments and how they fit into an ensemble sound.    We are also beginning by reviewing the three scales we worked on last year - Concert Bb, Eb, and F.    We have handed some new sheet music for the year and as well will be reviewing material that was in our method book last year.   If you did not bring your book last week, please bring it this week.

This Week in Grade 8 Band
It was also great to see the Grade 8's this week.   They walked in to the band room ready to go and we are looking forward to a great year with them.  They began with excellent listening and sound.     The grade 8's received some new sheet music, listened to recordings, and began  working on the Circle of 4rths.    All Grade 8's are reminded to bring their blue books and fingering charts with them to band classes.

We will update the "Week at a Glance" to include this coming sectional schedule.   Thank you to everyone for a great first week of band.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Congratulations and Thank You!

Congratulations to all students who participated in the Headstart Clinic this weekend!   It is amazing to watch you learn so much and so quickly.  Thank you to parents for sharing your children with us, and for juggling your busy schedules to get your children to Campbell.

Band Classes will begin on Tues. Sept. 10 (Day 1).   If you click under "A Week at a Glance" you will see a sectional schedule and event schedule for the week.

We look forward to a wonderful year of music making!