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The Marching Sides - Master Post

Here’s a master post of all the characters and their background information!!

This AU takes place in High school!!! Their school is North Story High. Their band is 3A (This classification denotes what size their band is and determines who they compete against).

THE BOIS:


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Logan James


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Patton Holt

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Roman Kingston

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Virgil Allen

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Remy Colton

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Emile Picani

(Character design not finished!)

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Dante Moris (Deceit in this AU)

(Character design not finished!)

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Thomas Sanders

Your Part Is Important

Yesterday my director handed out show music for next marching season and I along with some others were saddened about getting 2nd, 3rd 4th part, the part was simple or isn’t the melody. Many of the underclassmen were disappointed and told me they felt their part was ‘unimportant’.
Your. Part. Is. Important.
Without 2nd/3rd trumpet all you would hear are 1st trumpets with the easy melody. Without you there wouldn’t be harmony/counter melody/cords etc. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
Without tuba and sousaphone there would be no bass part, no bottom of the music pyramid, no walking metronome for the rest of the band. You might think your long whole notes and boring quarter notes are unimportant but you are the anchor of the band. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
Without bass drums there would be no beat, no basis for the rest of the band. No bottom rhythm, no emphasis. Not to mention it wouldn’t feel like a ‘marching band’ without marching bass drums. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
Don’t ever think your part is 'unimportant’ and 'not needed’. All parts make music the beautiful music that it is. Never forget that.

How to Learn a Run

Part of being a mallet percussionist is learning how to play fast runs. Mallet players always want to play them, they compliment phrases nicely, and they’re flashy. However, when you hand someone a run, they struggle. Being that I just got back from a drum corps weekend where we broke down a lot of runs in the show (including a 4 measure long 16th note run at 155bpm, with inside independents), I’ll share some tips that help me out when learning runs!

1. Write in your notes
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This is typically something you should take 5-10 minutes doing anyways. Sight-reading music is great, but writing in notes helps you know exactly what notes you’re playing. It’s hard to tell from far away sometimes, especially with notes above and below the staff, if the note is on the ledger line or off, or if the accidental from the last measure carried over, or just little reminders that it’s a Bb, not a B natural. Now, you don’t have to write in every note, but you can. I found that writing starting notes, ending notes, turnarounds, and jumps in, and assuming everything else is linear works for me. If a part repeats, like measure 40 above, write in the pattern, and then it changes on beat 4, write in the change. 

2. Don’t play it
No but seriously. 

If you’re playing a run and can’t get it, literally put the mallets down and just visualize it. Figure out the shape, use all of those notes we wrote in, turnarounds, accidentals, jumps, figure out where your hands go. going through it with just your fingers or just airing through it can sometimes help you figure out muscle memory. Too often does an instructor say “Okay, go back to C, look through what we just played,” and people immediately just start hacking. Literally look through. Sometimes the mental aspect of it factors in a lot. Just knowing the shape of the run helps. 

3. Slow it down
Naturally, we see a fast run and immediately want to lay into it at show tempo. We tend to learn it wrong, make bad habits and wind up playing wrong notes…not to mention get chopped out quicker. Play it slow. Go through it way under tempo. Try to get through it continuously slowly. Once you get it at a reasonable tempo, throw in a few reps of the actual tempo, see how you’re doing. If you can move your hands in the shape of the run, sometimes it happens. Wrong notes here and there but you get close. 

4. Break it down
There are parts of runs sometimes where you nail a measure, nail a measure, but can’t nail both measures. Or you can’t hit a turnaround or skip in a measure. Break it into two chunks. 1e+a 2e+a 3, 3e+a 4e+a 1. Play them separately but with rests in between. After that gets comfortable, do them like you did, and then add the run together. 1e+a 2e+a 3, 3e+a 4e+a 1, 1e+a 2e+a 3e+a 4e+a 1, with about a beat of rest in between each phrase. It helps a lot. I actually have my front ensemble play a variation on Green/Krauss scales called Sprints, which is literally that. CDEFGFEDC rest CDEFGFEDC rest CDEFGABCD, and then when you do the final run at the end, CDEFG rest GABCD rest DCBAG rest GFEDC rest, and then the whole run fast up. So it kind of breaks that C-to-high-D run down into it’s own thing. Definitely a good technique. Also what can help is doing that, and then adding on the next sixteenth note partial everytime you get comfortable. 1e+a 2, 1e+a 2e, 1e+a 2e+, etc. Helps build continuity. 

5. Don’t abandon the approach
Too often, people will do all of this, do everything right, and then still when they’re learning it and they go too fast too quick, they freak out. They tense up and squeeze and lock their wrists and play from the elbow and get no organic rebound and are working for every note. No technique in the WORLD teaches anything completely arm based. Think about your technique, it’s there for a reason. Keep loose, keep the right grip in your hand, stroke from the wrist, use your arm as a shock absorber almost. When playing on a keyboard, there’s no rebound like a drum, we create our own rebound with our stroke. So in order to do that, you have to have that piston stroke and bring it back up and let your arm breathe and let the mallet bounce up. Also all too often, people think FAST RUNS = NO FINGERS, PUMP PUMP PUMP. Not entirely true. You should make sure you have your clear fulcrum on the mallet and your back fingers around the stick. There can be breathing room cause you’re not squeezing, but keep your fingers on the stick and let that shock absorbing bounce happen but control it. 

If you do all 5 of these things, I can almost guarantee you’ll be able to play any run. Note: most of the things I just said are mental. Obviously chops are a big part, but if you make chops the only variable in the equation and do all of the other work, you will be fine. 

Coming soon: How to Play Chords Easier Than You Think!

Me during band rehearsal:
  • Me: What
  • Me: What are we even doing. Where are we.
  • Me: YOU NEVER TOLD US THAT QUIT BLAMING US
  • Me: What the fuck was that.
  • Me: Dafuq are they doing.
  • Me: Dafuq are THEY doing??
  • Me: Wow that sounded like shit.
  • Me: Hey that was kinda clean that time.
  • Me: That was terrible, I hope no one heard me so I don't have to do push-ups.
  • Me: He's off.
  • Me: She's off.
  • Me: They're dragging.
  • Me: I don't even know what the fuck they're doing over there.
  • Me: Huh. Never heard that part before.
  • Me: Could that synth part be any damn louder? It's not like the amp is right next to my fucking ear or anything
  • Me: Well that was just a fucking terrible night. I hate you all and I hate myself.

I just wanna say that if you’re in the pit then you’re underrated because you’re amazing and nobody realizes how much skill and discipline and coordination and strength and intelligence and dedication it takes to be in the pit and I love you so much and I want all your autographs and keep chopping out because what you do is amazing, hitting like five hundred keys per second with two to four mallets in your hand and hitting the correct notes and everything and keeping the tempo when you’re the farthest away from the drum line and playing multiple instruments in one song sometimes and hauling around those two hundred pound instruments and wow 

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Section Leader Problem #248

When you’re pit section leader your sophomore year while your school is under major construction so you have to move all your instruments super far to get to the field and you get in trouble for being late

STORY TIME

Ok, so, the other day I was wheeling Xavier(my xylophone) across the stage and a spring just pops out of no where. So I went over to one of my section leaders and asked where it went so, we looked around on Xavier for a couple minutes, and we could find anything, so the section leader says “Yeah, I don’t know where it came from or where it goes”, AND SO OF COURSE WE START SINGING THE COTTEN EYED JOE SONG

THAT SPRING IS NOW NAMED COTTON EYED JOE, HAS A LITTLE BLIE CAPE, AND LIVES NEXT TO MY MALLET BAG. I will definitely be posting pictures of him, he’s my good luck charm😂