The Correlation Between taking UIL/Concert season seriously and having a blowing band

okay so im in contemplative mode today and I was just I the only one who sees a correlation between the two? I mean I know that its discouraging to make 3s and 4s every year so some BD's are just like F it.....but I am a firm believer that any band director who takes UIL and concert season seriously and not treat it like its just something the state of Texas makes them do can and will have a successful program. What are your thoughts??

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The correlation between the two, I feel is VITAL if you are a MUSICIAN  and you are trying to BREED YOUNG MUSICIANS as far as Concert Band goes. Im not to caught up in UIL/ Marching Competetion side of things. Personally speaking, if your Concert Band, Symphonic Band, or Wind Ensemble (whatever you want to call it) is OUTSTANDING or on the road to being OUTSTANDING, then everything as far as sound will transfer over to the field. This is whether you decide to go with SHOWBAND or CORPS -STYLE.


What we are missing deeply in the Houston Area Directors that have been exposed to an OUTSTANDING wind ensemble setting and knows the importance of everything that is derived from those settings (FUNDAMENTAL MUSICIANSHIP). The Concert Band setting is where we learn DYNAMICS, PHRASING, HOW TO STYLE THE MUSIC, IT CHALLENGES USE RHYTHMICALLY,AND ETC. So if we are not practicing these things, how do we expect to sound good? Many Directors are not taking the time to teach these fundamentals and are ready to get to the finish product which I feel is VERY BAD!!! Granted, we want our student to perform and get exposure and perform but if band are sounding they way they do in this area that means WE are not focusing enough TIME and ENERGY in the RIGHT AREAS. NOTE I SAID RIGHT AREAS. WE MAY BE SPENDING COUNTLESS HOURS, BUT NOT IN THE RIGHT AREAS.


Also, I fell that Directors in this area are not EXPOSING students to different types of music other than SHOWBAND MUSIC....that might spark their internets OR THE LITTLE MUSICIAN ISIDE OF THEM and might get them to come to concert band practice or jazz practice, cause we all know (for those of use in the urban settings) when that 2nd semester rolls around that band hall starts getting a little thin. WE HAVE TO FIND A WAYS TO ENGAE OUR STUDENTS AND GET THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE CONCERT BAND SETTING IS ESSENTIAL TO HAVING A BETTER SOUNDING BAND. MAYBE, IF WE COULD GET THEM TO SEE SOME OF THEIR FAVORITE SWAC BANDS DOING THIS IT MIGHT SEEM COOL...I don't know but something needs to happen.


Know I now, their is a FEEDER ISSUE going on in Houston but that means WE JUST HAVE TO WORK HARDER UNTIL THINGS GET BETTER. What many PWC schools and District do that would help our feeder patterns a lot would be to build relations with your feeder schools or surrounding middle schools. Now I know of one school personally (WALTRIP) who doesn't have a direct feeder at all and still manages to compete at UIL CONCERT and come home with 1's. WHAT THEY DO OVER THERE IS WORK HARD AND TRY TO MAKE UP FOR WHAT THE STUDENTS DID NOT GET IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. They have beginner classes where they teach students who play on instrument in the band to play another just because they might need more instrumentation on the specific horn. THEY HAVE ESTABLISHED A CULTURE OVER THERE THAT STRIVES FOR EXCELLENCE. NOW THIS ABOVE ALL , ALONG WHICH THE OTHER FACTORS ARE WHAT'S LACKING IN OUR PROGRAMS. WE DONT HAVE THAT FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION MIND-FRAME WHICH MACK THEY STUDENTS FEEL LACKADAISICAL AND NOT WANTED TO PUT FORTH THAT EFFORT THAT IS NEEDED. WE MUST FIND A GOAL THAT WE WANT TO OBTAIN, SET FORTH A CULTURE THAT WE WANT (THOUGH IT MAKE TIME) AND GO FOR IT.


I am a product of HISD starting off my career in music at WESTBURY HIGHSCHOOL in Southwest, Tx (2001-2005) under the direction Of Darrel William Lister. I lived on back in tha gap and participated in ever all-star band starting with the frost one at Yates in the T-buoldings. Know at Westbury we were on our ShowBand tip, but we also tried corps-style field shows occasionally and Mr. Williams stressed the importance of scales, concert band, solo & ensemble, circle of 5ths and etc. But like many programs know we weren't hearing him. I myself, heard him a little but not like I should have. I never missed practice, even concert band though it might have been 5 people. I went on to PV and did what I had to do to get by maybe a lil bit more than other but nothing extraordinary. It wasn't until I did my student teach at Hightower High School in FortBend that my eyes where opened to this things that I am referring too in the above paragraphs referring to fundamentals. I was able to witness first hand the process of fundamentally sound concert setting with a goal to get Straight 1's at UIL which they accomplished. And from that point I realized how important the little stuff mattered even as far as hold a whole note over to the top of beat 1 in the next measure. I even started liking FAMU style of playing (scary lol...since I was so ANTI-MEAC and very PRO-SWAC) cause I was all bat the SWAC and BLOWING. But being there, my ear got fined tuned to what good music sounds like. NOT SAYING AT ALL THAT BLOWING MUSIC ISNT GOOD MUSIC, CAUSE I JUST GOT THROUGH JAMMING SOME HEAT FROM SOUTHERN AND OTHER BANDS. IM AM TOTALLY FOR BLOWIN' ALLL THE WAY 100% BUT NOT WHEN IT SOUNDS BAD. If i ever get a highschool band we gonna be BLOWIN' BUT WE ARE GONNA SOUND GOOD DOING IT. Hell I'll i would even try to get my middle school to push some sound out at a football game or something but sound good doing it.


In closing we the concert band setting again is vital and should not be over looked WE as directors must continue t acquire the knowledge need to educated, engage, and change the culture or mind frame of what these students think band is. Lastly, I just got back from a workshop held at Sam Houston State University which was great and very enlightening by the way. I was the only minority their too not that that matters but, I was baffled about the way these other directors do thing in Klien, cypress, and Spring. The detail that they use to create such good programs is astonishing and the whole time I was there, I was like why cant we do the same in other less fortune districts. And i have witnessed it at my school, not by any means to the extent of what they do but me and the head director try in every which way to make the students mussel career worthwhile and meaning full while also creating a great program.











couldn't have said it better Bolaji! As the head band director at a Title I predominantly Latino middle school I never use the excuse that "they" referring to UIL judges, look down on "us" HBCU grads or traditional style bands. I am proud to say I have experience in both corp and traditional (drum major at Lamar HS -HISD and PV Alumni). For us to be able to compete against schools such as (Lanier, West Briar, Pershing, Johnston all HISD) I don't handicap our program by saying "they have more resources, better instruments, private lessons etc" I take things into action and create resources. I find friends who will clinic the band, ask the community to donate instruments, fundraise etc. All it means is inner city schools have to work harder to get to the level that other more affluent schools may be at. I think if you align all the elements needed to do well at UIL, your program will run smoothly. Teach intonation, teach pitch, dynamics, sight reading. (don't teach by rote!!!) all these elements will transfer into any ensemble, jazz, latin, R&B, concert, marching etc. If you can clap and count a rhythm on your own, you are giving the student an individual leadership role and forcing them to take learning music into their own hands. (higher level thinking as opposed to someone singing or clapping the rhythm to them) If band directors just devoted more time to these elements within our region, we would not have any reason for show band directors to say "they" don't get us. I know i personally would hate to be labeled as an incompetent band director solely because of the higher institution i chose or what band i come from.
We didn't do any marching band festivals at my high school, but we did go to LMEA Concert Band Festival every year, and straight 1's at district and state festival were expected. Playing the literature that we played made playing the marching band arrangements much easier. For you to make the concert band, you had to audition on scales, a prepared piece, and some sight-reading. If you didn't make above the cutline score, you were placed in the developmental band class. I just remember our marching band never really having to talk about certain things because it we carried everything that we worked on in concert band to our marching band. You can definitely do both, because we won just about all of our BOTBs, and always made 1's at concert band festival. You just have to place emphasis on the right things, and find a way to get the students to buy into those things(which is the hard part).
Some bands get 5's
I think the hardest thing is to get the kids to buy into those key areas that you are teaching. If you can get them to buy into learning those things, then you are on track for success. We all know kids at that middle school level sometimes don't want to hear about intonation, sight-reading, critical listening skills, etc., and I am always constantly trying to find ways to get them honed in on those things.

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