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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000081.txt from 1998/03

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re: Marching Band (was alto mpcs)
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 18:13:15 -0500

On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, JohnnyWalt wrote:

> Roger says - "Yes it does. It is unfortunate that the band director chooses a
> marching competition as the vehicle by which to motivate his musicians. It
> says
> something about his ability to motivate them musically. The musicians are
> better off knowing why the march ......for the that they
> may receive the attention necessary to achieve musical learning on the
> concert stage. One without the other is not music is a
> cycle that cannot stop."

> I am in total disagreement with this statement. Roger, do you know what
> it is like to be in a great marching band? As a member of one of the nation's
> highly commended marching bands, I feel that marching band does not serve as
> publicity for the concert season, but rather stands alone as a truly
> respectable art form. Yes, I said an ART FORM. I am disheartened to find
> that you think marching band competitions serve no purpose except for public
> promotion. This is simply untrue at my school. We maintain some of the
> highest standards of excellence in not only marching band but also concert
> band, as do many other schools across the nation.

No one would argue that you should do it well (by the way, which
nationally, higly commended marching band are you a member of? Is it
college or public school? Makes a difference!). I agree, it is a new ART
FORM.......but it is not music education, nor should we label it that. Is
that what you are suggesting? That it is an art form that should stand as
the measure of what children learn in music in the public schools? Are
you aware that the majority of public school band directors place the
marching band emphasis ahead of the concert band? Is this your position
as well? Do you believe they should be equal.....both in terms of
emphasis and in terms of their valuable qualities as an art form?

> Furthermore, I feel that marching band is not about athletics but the
> true coordination of music and movement. Surely, you cannot say that all
> marching bands do not have a high musical standard!?! Granted, the musical
> accomplishments of a marching band do not par with those of a concert band,
> but is this reason to completely dismiss marching bands as poor musicians?

Who said that all marching bands do not have a high musical standard?
Better recheck my postings. Whoever completely dismissed marching bands
as poor musicians? My postings not only support a well-run marching
program, they show that I both played in them and have taught them. Not
sure where you are coming from with the above statement.

> In addition, to play in a truly great marching band is a remarkable
> experience. The harmony of music and drill provide a truly stimulating
> performance for the audience and participants. The band directors don't spend
> tireless hours rehearsing to promote their bands, rather, they see the true
> value in such an incredible medium. Performing in a great marching band can
> be just as moving if not more so than a concert band.

Can be a terrific experience....and we agree about the coordination of the
musical arrangement with movement. However, I have seen enough band
directors spend tireless hours rehearsing in order TO promote their bands
rather than see the true value in such a medium........sadly, it is often
because they do not understand the musical nature of the band program, and
they resort to marching in order to be viewed by the less than educated,
non-musical administration as successful. Of course, this is a
generalization.....but it is true in many cases.

> To conclude, what I am trying to say here is "don't knock marching bands
> if you don't have experience with them." If you do, please respond and tell
> me of your experiences. Marching band members are in band because they want
> to achieve success and greatness, and I don't think you have the right to tell
> them that they are doing it for the wrong reasons. Just my humble opinion...

I have already told the list about my experiences, but, I will be happy to
list them:

1. Two school districts (public school teaching) teaching marching band.
Separate shows at every competitions on the field (I
personally do not believe they would have helped my band programs)

a. support of the DCI program in the summers - not only
sending students to the bands for the summer but attending rehearsals and

2. College: four years University of Michigan Marching Band, three
in leadership positions, including rank leader status, and principal
clarinetist).....Three Rose Bowls, a Gator Bowl, a Blue Bonnet Bowl, and a
Super Bowl.......all with accompanying parades. The band in my final year
won the fist Sudler Trophy awarded to outstanding marching bands at the
collegiate level.

For someone who had a career interest in clarinet playing, I would say
that is more than ample time spent on a field.

Roger Garrett

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