Friday, 25 October 2013

Playing the Blues

Thank you to all those families who returned their band t-shirt forms!    If you did not hand it in yet, please turn it in this week.   Thank you!

For those students who are interested in playing in the Grey Cup Parade - remember the deadline is Nov.1.   Information about this is found on the side bar.

In Grade 6 Band 

This week in Grade 6 Band we learned a 12 bar blues.   After students figured out the pattern, we then challenged them to figure out a Db for the C instruments, Eb for the Bb instruments, Bb for the the Eb instruments, and Ab for the F instruments.   Once they had this note we had some AMAZING solos that students were playing accompanied by our blues.   Our percussionists learned how to play a swing style  and we spent quite a bit of time exploring some different sounds on our instruments.   As we figured out these solos, students were reminded that our goals are still to play with good sound.   This is achieved by proper posture, embouchure or grip, and lots of air.    

Once we learned this as we called it "a funny note"   we learned how to listen for the interval of a minor third.   Students are now writing in their composition books the intervals they hear.   So far, we have studied major seconds, major thirds and now minor thirds.   It has become habit to try to figure out  the notes of one song just for fun.   This week most of the students figured out the notes for Green is the Colour.    Once again we have circled in each book what to practice.   Most students are nearing the end of the first chapter.   Soon, we will be getting sheet music.

In Grade 7 Band

In Grade 7 Band this week we did experiments in controlling our sound.   Students demonstrated some amazing soft playing.   We worked on playing long tones soft, and then eventually doing them so we start soft and end loud.   The Grade 7's demonstrated some wonderful sounds as they did this.   As we discovered this is hard to do.     We will continue to work at it.

We have been nagging the grade 7's about rehearsal discipline.   One of these things being that we always have a pencil so that we can mark our music with reminders.    This is starting to pay off as both Grade 7 rehearsals had huge improvements from last week.   Students have circled the practice areas for next week.  We are now working on watching the baton so that we can speed up and slow down our music together.   This is much harder than it sounds!

Grade 7's have begun testing on their Concert Bb and their Concert Eb scales.   Students who did not play these scales this week will need to play it this coming up week.  

In Grade 8 Band

The Grade 8's have done some impressive work with the Circle of Fourths.    They are now playing the Circle of Fourths in harmony.   (This is easier said than done!)     They have added "Amen" as one of their pieces to be working on.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Making Practice Routine

Things to Remember this week

  • T-shirt Forms are due Fri. Oct. 25

(if you need a copy of the form you can find it in the sidebar)

  • Instrument Rental Forms are due

In Grade 6 Band This Week

We now as a group know five notes!      With five notes it is amazing how many melodies we can come up with.    Students are encouraged to experiment a little with their five notes and see if they can come up with a melody that they know.    Most of the students spent a little time figuring out the notes for Waving Flag.   Some students have gone ahead in their books and have been experimenting with some familiar melodies.  

Most students were assigned to practice on Page 9, lines 1.24-1.26.   Again, we circled in books what to practice.    Soon we will be finished with this first chapter and will be moving on to the next chapter.   Since this was a short week, we did not see the students for full band.   Next week in full band we will be playing a blues progression.   Students are reminded to keep practice regular and keep their goals in mind.    Students are reminded that we are working on developing embouchures or grip, using lots of air, posture, and focus.   All of these will in the end work towards developing good sound.

In Grade 7 Band This Week

Grade 7's are strongly reminded to keep practice regular.   This week we worked at controlling our air at a soft level.   We are trying to make sure we increase the dynamic range of all the grade 7's and so have begun practicing our long tones at various volumes.   This week we were soft.    It was pretty amazing to hear the huge range of dynamics the Grade 7's are capable of playing at.   Now we are attempting to make this habit.

Grade 7's also this week began working on our chromatic scale.   This is so that they are comfortable with all accidentals.    We began by using our fingering charts to guide us.   This scale is also written out on Page 51 of our Blue book.

Grade 7's will be needing the Orange Measures of Success Book 2.    I have called St. John's and Cobb Swanson have some in stock and will be getting more in stock.   Before you go down to pick one up, please call and make sure it is there.   We do not want you to make a trip down there needlessly.

In Grade 8 Band This Week

After the long weekend we had a jam packed short week with the Grade 8's.  Our clinic with Professor Ghiglione at the U of R went really well.  The band worked very hard and was pushed to sound their best at all times.  The difference in sound was phenomenal.  Our students responded well and were very polite.  They showed what a mature young group they were.

Most of the Grade 8's have completed their first playing test.  These tests help us to hear each student individually and to help them with their individual problems.  Students who are finished should now begin to look at our two other pieces, Amen and African Marching Song.  Another playing test will be assigned this coming week.

Monday, 14 October 2013


Things to Remember this Week
-Grade 8's going to the University on Wed. Oct. 16
-T-shirt forms need to be returned

In Grade 6 Band 

The grade 6's are progressing quite nicely, however, this week we needed to have a few reminders as to make sure that practice is staying regular.   We have again circled in everyone's book exactly what to practice.   Most students are practicing around lines 1.21 -1.24.   In these lines two new notes are introduced.   We are doing our best to make sure the first three notes are good, before we move on.  To check this we have been seeing, playing, and writing these notes in various ways.  Some students have moved ahead as they have found some interesting songs and they were determined to figure them out.

We have continued to work at long tones, rudiments, posture, and using lots of air.    These are the fundamentals to getting a good solid tone.  In order to do this we have figured out a few "fun" songs.   These songs have students extending the range of their instruments.   Students have been writing notes down for these songs in their composition books.  

This week we have also explored slurs.   Slurs are when two notes are connected as close as possible.  Wind players do not tongue, except for trombones.  Trombone players discovered that if they try to slur they get a really cool sound effect and so they always must tongue!

We are looking forward to next week moving on and learning two more new notes.

In Grade 7 Band

This week in Grade 7 band we have learned the order of sharps and flats and how this relates to our scales.   We will beginning working on the Circle of Fourths and the Circle of Fifths.  We will be also moving towards working on our chromatic scale.   In our books, students have been assigned lines 1.13 and 1.14 to practice.

In full band we have been working on creating an inner pulse.    We have a habit of playing everything at the same tempo and are working hard to change this.   One of the things we have worked on is subdividing.   This is where students have been "hissing" eighth notes to make sure everything stays in time.    This week was pretty exciting as we played through all of our pieces beginning to end.  We are not performance ready, but it was a major accomplishment.   Congratulations Grade 7's!

In Grade 8 Band

Grade 8's are getting ready for their trip to the university this week.   They will be working with Brent Ghiglione.   Please see the side bar for the Grade 8 University trip information.  We look forward to a wonderful day on Oct. 16.  

Friday, 4 October 2013

Fall Breezes......

Things to Remember This Week
Fall is breezing by us and we wanted to remind you of couple of things that need handing in:

-Grade 8's permission forms are now late!!   Please get them in this week.
-All Grade 6,7, and 8 band students will be receiving t-shirt forms, please return them by  Oct. 15
-Instrument Rental Forms have been distributed, please return this week

In Grade 6 Band

The Grade 6's this week have continued to focus on the basics.   It is at this time of the year, that some grade 6's will begin to feel a few frustrations.   We are doing our best to reassure them, and to keep assignments simple.   All grade 6's in their first year focus on developing their embouchure (or grip for percussionists), correct hand position, posture, and using lots of air.   We discovered this week that many grade 6's were confused by the difference between "blasting" and using "lots of air."    Many of the grade 6's were pleasantly surprised as to how easy some of the "hard" notes were when they used air.   We will continue to work on this in upcoming weeks.    The percussionists were also surprised at how much easier it is to play in time when they too breath with everyone else.

You may notice that we have been doing a few more things in our composition books.    We have been using these books to reinforce note names by having students write their own compositions.   This week we limited our compositions to whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes on two (and in some cases three) pitches.   This allowed us to write a composition for our full band.   We had the premier performance of the Grant Road and Perry Grade 6's Piece and the premier performance of the Massey, McVeety and RCS composition.    It was quite exciting.   After performing as a large group, many students tried playing their part of our composition with a friend.   This created several duets happening in the band room.  

You may also notice that several grade 6's are using their composition book to write the note names for songs THEY know.   Grade 6's have been asked to try to figure out a melody that they would like to learn so that we can figure it out.   Many times the notes involved are not notes we have named yet, but notes that reinforce proper playing position and are just plain fun to play.  

Once again, we have asked students to circle in their books what to practice.   We have also started marking in our composition books the days for the following week to make sure our instruments are at school.   With no school on Fri. Oct. 4, some students needed reminding that Monday Oct. 7 will be Day 4.   This will be a Grant Road Grade 6 sectional day.

In Grade 7 Band 

There are many full and big sounds happening in Grade 7 band.   We continue to work at controlling our air and making sure we play in "balance" and that we "blend."    This week our "snowman of sound"   got dissected a little bit.   We have learned previously that each instrument has a very important role to play in the pyramid of sound.   Students have learned where their instrument sits in the pyramid.    Now, we have added more divisions within the pyramid.   In grade 7 band we have more divided parts.   This means each part will have a different section within their section of the pyramid and it could change in the course of a piece.   This is a skill we will continue to work at.

Grade 7's are preparing to learn about the Circle of Fourths and the Circle of Fifths.   In order to get to this point we are learning about the consistent order of flats and sharps in key signatures.   We experimented a little by figuring out the key signatures for someone who does not play the same instrument as us.

Grade 7's reviewed 3/4 time this week, reviewed their Concert E note, and reviewed the differences between ties and slurs.   (Ties connect two note names that are the same, slurs connect two different notes.)    They also experimented with Concert Db.  Grade 7's were asked to practice on Page 28 of their book lines 4.13 and 4.14 as well as practice the first 20 measures of Incantation and Ritual.  

In Grade 8 Band

Grade 8's are STRONGLY reminded to bring back their permission forms.  We cannot take you to the University on Oct. 16 without a form.

Grade 8's are continuing to warm-up with the Circle of Fourths.  Playing tests are beginning this week so students should be practicing their Circle of Fourths as well as measures12-16 and 33-41 in Chant and Tribal Dance.  The pieces that we have been working on are Spania and Chant and Tribal Dance.  We will be starting to work on Chesapeake Serenade this week as well.

Our Grade 8 band will also have the pleasure of working with Dr. Dale Lonis, whom they had the opportunity to work with last year, on November 14 from 9:30-11:00.  This is a wonderful chance for our kids to work with one of the most respected band directors around.

In Jazz Band

Another great week of jazz.   Students are beginning with learning about the blues scale, and a little about improv.   Tuesday Jazz students have Louie Louie almost down, and Wednesday Jazz students figured out   C Jam Blues by ear.    Anyone who missed, you are welcome to join us!

In Junior Winds

Junior Winds had an excellent rehearsal.   They began most appropriately with  a piece called Morning Mist.    Junior Winds expressed an interest in getting information about playing in the Grey Cup Parade.   Ms. Anderson will bring some information next week.   Students are not required to participate in the parade, however, if they would like to are more than welcome.    Anyone who has missed Junior Winds but would still like to participate, please let us know.

Invitation to Participate in the Grey Cup Parade!

If you are interested in participating in the Grey Cup Parade, the Saskatchewan Roughrider Pep Band and Prairie Winds Concert Band is organizing a group.   You are welcome to join! Information is below:

Saskatchewan Grey Cup Marching Band
Wants YOU to be a part of the 2013 Grey Cup Parade
Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 at 9:30 am
Are you a musician?
Being able to march is not a pre-requiste!
Come and join the fun
Music: On Roughriders
Uniform: Rider “GREEN”
Registration deadline is November 1st
Registration fee is $25.00
Includes: Grey Cup Toque, transportation (to/from parade), snacks & refreshments
For more information
Facebook: 2013GreyCupMarchingBand
Phone: 306-789-7318
Proudly hosted by the 620 CKRM Saskatchewan Roughrider Pep Band and Prairie Winds Concert Band