I really need to keep things more simple. I think I do but then I figure out that my expectations are always slightly higher than their ability to perform. I need to clarify some words/concepts before we begin next time.
Perform. I am sure many people think of the word PERFORM or PERFORMANCE and think lights, stage, audience, etc. Those are not wrong things to think but they are quite limited. As an experienced performer if you wait to PERFORM only when there is an audience, you’re dead. Get a shovel, dig a hole, jump in, you’re dead. I understand young, relatively inexperienced performers have a lot to wrap their heads around and that is one idea they have to, must internalize. Do EVERYTHING like it is the last time, and everyone there is part of the audience, and to visualize the judges box and where they should be projecting their performance.
That is another obvious, not so obvious thing I need to specifically speak to. I put them in lines facing each other for a reason. I notice the ends of the lines in particular are not always focused on whatever the activity is, whatever the instruction is that is being given. Why they would think something that is happening only 25 yards away from them is not directly related to what they are going to have to do is beyond me.
I throw a lot of markings down on the field and I am dead serious that they had better nail 2 step intervals when they get them in the show. THEY ARE ALL OVER THE FIELD FOR A REASON. For rehearsal #2 I want to do a modified version of an activity I tried at rehearsal #1 with limited success, more on that later. For rehearsal #3 I am going to have an activity with 3 step intervals, snareline will have deal with it 😀
So I thought this was simple enough since I painted and gaked all the lines and dots IN BLUE. I wanted them to start in an 8 man front, rotate counter-clockwise that front down field 90 degrees so it is now a file, rotate counter-clockwise again 90 degrees back to a front, rotate counter-clockwise that front down field 90 degrees so it is now a file again, and rotate counter-clockwise again 90 degrees back to a front. Simple enough right? All the lines and dots were painted IN BLUE. Apparently step size and line of path issues made it more difficult than necessary. What killed me is that the section I thought that had the most performance experience, the snareline, convinced me I needed to modify the activity ASAP. Going from the first file to the second front the CENTER SNARE missed his dot by 2 steps! REALLY!!! I had painted all the lines and dots IN BLUE; underneath that was a field in white lines and a 4 step by 4 step grid in green. All the other snares hit their blue dots on the blue line but he hit the white line and green dot?! REALLY
So I switched it up for everyone to just move 20 counts, front to file. That proved a challenge too. I instructed them to alternate side by side in sections, leaving every 20 counts. I think it was the tubas that went first, and again my “best” section turned out, not so much, was next. 20 counts the tubas move then, WHAT! CUT! SNARES?! Their response was, oh we were supposed to go? WTH. I guess I need to repeat instructions and make sure they are absolutely clear. I know as an educator modeling is an effective instructional strategy. I will make sure to incorporate more of that in future lessons.
It does cause me to question to a degree their focus. That, as an instructor is a troubling observation. So I have a double concern at this point. Mental Focus and Physical Stamina.
The next activity hopefully impressed upon them that they need to get physically stronger. When we go from an easy 100 bpm tempo to 180 bpm tempo there is a dramatic in a BAD WAY difference in how they move their bodies, posture, straight legs, “and” counts, side to side awareness, EVERYTHING AND ALL OF THE ABOVE. That cannot be. I am expecting dramatic improvement when I see them this coming Sunday.
I do not think may expectations are too high. I do think they are all capable of doing all that I ask, and to the level of achievement I expect. I want them to feel challenged and I want them to know they can, will, and must meet those challenges.
I will get better too. I will figure it out, and we will not suck 😀
Be Strong Hornline! BE STRONG!!!