After 10+ years spent teaching music in public schools, one thing I feel consistent in understanding is that there is no “one size fits all method" that can be applied to a music program. We all teach in very different programs around the country based on the countless factors that contribute to the ownership of a school’s music program. However, I have always found that it is worthwhile to learn as much as I can from others in my field and consider the benefits of their systems to help to continually update, assess relevance, and improve my own systems to provide opportunity for my students.
December/November is the time of the year I am able to find the time (and ease) to step back and clearly reassess the fall season that just finished. In 2010, I began to compile a checklist for myself for planning success in the next competitive fall band season. Please find below the checklist I have compiled for myself.
Part of my aim with this blog is to help provide resources that work for me to directors that may be looking for a another perspective. I hope that there is something here now or in the future that can work for you and your program.
I would like to take a moment before the holiday season to congratulate the amazing groups I worked closely with in the fall of 2017. First I would like to congratulate The Moon Area Band for a terrific showing this season. I appreciate the opportunity to work with directors Nick Barthen, Alan Fear, Abigail Iksic as well as Visual Designer Austin Greene. 2017 marks my 5th year writing the wind book for this organization and each year they show incredible growth and maturity. Congratulations on a terrific showing in BOA and PIMBA!
I also have to congratulate the "home team" Kiski Area Cavaliers on a terrific season in 2017. We took a leap of faith this season in a direction that felt right for the program and went back to our jazz inspired roots which propelled this program onto the national stage in the late 80's and early 90's. This band has always had one of the most authentic interpretations of this uniquely American music on the field. Personally, this was my first season back writing drill in a fall season in several years. With the help of Brady Sanders, Jim Schaefer, and Tommy Allen we were able to create a product that the students were able to achieve at a high level.
This year Kiski Area's arrangements were created by Shawn Pityk and Chad Heiny, two incredible professional colleagues I am lucky enough to spend each day teaching secondary instrumental music with. We intended to take the ensemble to the toughest competitive regional that we could (Dayton) and the students rose to the occasion despite terrible weather for marching band. Our students were proud to stand alongside the best in the activity that day.
Kiski Area had an incredibly strong showing at the end of the season with their show "Echoes in Time." Congratulation students, staff, and KAIB on a season that sets the trajectory for the culture of this program in the years to come.