Air National Guard Band of the Central States 571 st Air Force Band Solutions for Small Bands Band Clinic presented by Captain John Arata, Commander/Conductor Missouri Music Educators Association 72 nd Annual In-Service Conference/Clinic Rooms 74-77 January 29, 2010 8:15 A.M. Tan-Tar-A Resort Osage Beach, Missouri

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Air National Guard Band of the Central States

571st Air Force Band

Solutions for Small Bands Band Clinic

presented by

Captain John Arata, Commander/Conductor

Missouri Music Educators Association 72nd Annual In-Service Conference/Clinic

Rooms 74-77

January 29, 2010 8:15 A.M.

Tan-Tar-A Resort

Osage Beach, Missouri

Embouchure: Teaching Tone with One Teacher in the Room A characteristic ensemble sound is dependent upon each student using the right embouchure. With nine or more embouchures to teach, the sole director of a small band needs to be effective in getting a pedagogically sound message across in a concise way. The message is:

Embouchure + Air = Tone

We teach that tone should have the following characteristics: resonant (also “full” or “rich”), clear, dark, and steady. The opposite of these is thin or weak, fuzzy, bright, and wavering. This concept, emphasized regularly, is easy for students to understand. Certainly, good equipment such as mouthpieces, reeds, accessories, and the instrument itself plays a part in the tone. We downplay this fact saying that a great player with a student grade instrument will still get a great tone. Furthermore, a teacher that focuses on upgrading family-provided equipment may alienate a percentage of parents. This won’t help to keep kids in the program. Therefore, the formula “Embouchure + Air + Equipment = Tone,” while true, is not the message to young people. The teacher should present the embouchure with a memorable formula. Each embouchure should have no more than five basic tenets. This fits basic adolescent cognitive ability. Once this knowledge is in place, the director can use a quick reminder when he hears a tone that is less refined to correct the embouchure and keep the rehearsal moving forward. The pitch check is the note that should be produced by the mouthpiece of a clarinet or saxophone when the embouchure is correct.

Flute Pout Firm, down-turned corners Focus the air with the upper lip Cold, focused air Quick reminders: Pout Lower lip cushions, upper lip focuses. The basic flute tone has vibrato. Oboe Say “home” Curve in both lips Support all the way around Flatten it as you go up Quick reminder Let the reed speak. Clarinet Flat chin Firm corners Teeth on top of the mouthpiece

“Shiny” lip Cold, focused air Pitch check mouthpiece + barrel = F#2 Quick reminder No skin touching the reed. Saxophone Teeth on top Tuck the upper lip Corners in Curve in the lower lip Warm, “Darth Vader” air Pitch check Alto – A2 Tenor – G2 Baritone – C#2 Quick reminders Use warm air. Curve in. Don’t pinch so much.

Trumpet Down-turned corners Half and half mouthpiece placement Align and open the teeth Relax the throat Focused, centered air stream Quick reminders Keep your teeth open. Don’t press. Horn Down-turned corners Two-thirds/one-third mouthpiece placement Align and open the teeth Relax the throat Focused, centered air stream Quick reminders Keep your teeth open. Don’t clench your throat.

Trombone/Euphonium Down-turned corners One-third/two-thirds mouthpiece placement Align and open the teeth Relax the throat Focused, centered air stream Quick reminders Keep your teeth open. Don’t clench your throat. Tuba Frown Flat chin Half and half mouthpiece placement Align and open the teeth Relax the throat Big, cold air Quick reminders Keep your teeth open. Don’t clench your throat.

Tone While Tuning The director of a small band can check the tone of each section on a regular basis while monitoring the tuning process. After taking a tuning note, the director should have each section play a few simple notes to check tuning, and this inherently promotes good tone quality in each section. It is not necessary or even feasible to hear each section every day, but periodically, this should suffice. Hear each section play the notes indicated:

flute adv. flute clarinet int. clarinet

adv. clarinet saxes concert pitch trumpet

horn w/ thumb bassoon low brass

Rhythm Counting: Say What You Play Rhythm counting is the most difficult part of music reading for a young person. The twin concepts of symbols representing time values and steady pulse are abstract to students. Teach rhythm counting out loud to all grade levels on a regular basis as an isolated lesson. A method book with a variety of rhythm examples and time signatures should be used for every ensemble. By using a method book in rehearsal, the director of a small band can engage students as a group using the “say what you play” procedure. “Say what you play” means that the student will say one word for each note, and no words for rests. Therefore, a whole note in 4/4 time will be, “O-o-o-one.” This provides the class with a system that is peer correcting. When a student says something other than the correct rhythm with one word for one note, everyone else around him is saying something different. The students are not self-conscious since they can speak at any socially appropriate volume, nor are they particularly aware of how well the other students are doing. It is also a procedure that requires very little disruption of the rehearsal. Rhythm Samples

Avoiding Cumbersome Rhythm Tasks Clapping requires large instruments to be set down first. A worksheet makes students highly accountable, but only offers delayed teacher feedback. Written work is a significant diversion from playing music, and is recommended for periodic assessment, but not on a daily basis. Some Sample Texts The Eureka High School Symphonic Band uses Exercises for Ensemble Drill by Raymond Fussell. Section 9 of this book is devoted to rhythm counting, and Section 10 offers over 50 unison sight reading excerpts. The Concert Band uses Essential Technique 2000 which features several “Rhythm Rap” lines. The Freshman Band uses 3-D Band Book. Section III of this text is for “Rhythm Preparation.” In this section, each page offers a new time signature, unison counting examples, and two excerpts that can be played as a duet for added variety and independence. The LaSalle Springs Middle School Concert Band uses 14 Weeks to a Better Band. New rhythm combinations are presented on each page followed by an example, and an etude that combines the new concept with older ones.

Tap Your Foot The foot tap is an indicator of the student’s internal sense of the pulse. When students are not taught to tap their foot, a minority of students will learn their instrumental skill without a sense of pulse, and the director will not know until a bad habit is irrevocably ingrained. When they are older, they may say, “I can’t tap my foot and play,” as an indicator of the lack of this basic concept. Kinesthetic learning is essential to ensure understanding pulse. Other kinesthetic processes such as patting the knee are cognitively just as effective. Foot tapping is the best for the small band because, like speaking instead of clapping, it doesn’t require interruption of the lesson. Teacher misunderstandings about rhythm ability Perhaps no other musical element is so skillfully hidden by students than a weak rhythm reading ability. Some occurrences in rehearsal are indicators that isolated rhythm study is necessary. A student may ask, “How does this go?” A director who finds himself using instructions such as, “Measure 27 is played ‘1 e and a 2 and 3 a 4,’” is teaching by rote. This method only marginally contributes to the student’s reading ability. Sometimes students interpret a combination of eighth notes and quarter notes as if they held the same value. This means that rhythm counting with a pulse (such as foot tapping) has not been sufficiently reinforced. Students will often not ask how to count a rhythm, even when they are encouraged to do so. Some teachers try to justify poor rhythm reading when they defiantly say, “I told them to ask me if they didn’t know!” This doesn’t demonstrate a good awareness of adolescent psychology. The music director that plans on teaching rhythms as they arise in literature is inherently planning on a spotty approach to music literacy. The director should use a method book to provide similar examples in preparation for new rhythms in the literature. “Say What You Play” in the State Band Festival Sight Reading Room After many lessons using the method book for a variety of meters and tempos, distribute sheet music for sight reading. Use the first minute of preparation time to look over the music silently. Then, with instruments in playing position, have the whole band say their rhythms out loud while you conduct the piece from beginning to end. Give instructions out loud as you go. Have the students do their fingerings and tap their foot. Percussionists may turn sticks backwards and hit their forearms to the rhythm, clap hands for cymbals, etc. The students will get a practice run through, and learn what they are about to see from the podium. They will also hear what rhythms the other sections have, and be prepared to interact on the first try. There are a few deeper benefits to this procedure. First, the rhythm counting run through allows the conductor to focus on the musicians a little more during the real thing. Second, the weaker readers benefit from the synergy created by the whole ensemble. Third, it is a system that keeps the entire group engaged throughout: a clear benefit for the single teacher of a small band.

Cross-Cuing: Getting Every Note Played The key to a full ensemble tone quality in a small band is getting every note played using the players that an ensemble has available. Music literature purists may be opposed to this concept, but they have never taught a small band. This will require an effort on the band director’s part to determine which parts are covered and which are not. Parts that are marginally covered can be reinforced by instruments that have a surplus or that have rests. This chart of basic instrument ranges in their concert pitches can be useful to find substitutes to play the required parts.

Instrument Ranges

Software An investment in professional music notation software will go a long way toward getting parts played effectively. It will limit the number of arranging errors when the director can hear the playback, and it also allows for easy corrections. It allows the director to simply input the printed part, and then use a transposition tool to put the part in the correct key. Furthermore, when students see high quality print material, they are more likely to play the part well. Therefore, the director must familiarize himself with the program. The investment of time is significant, but reaps tremendous benefits. Of course, writing out parts by hand is still an option. In the long run, the software is a huge time saver, as is most technology. Instrumentation: the elephant in the room. Teaching a band with an unbalanced instrumentation is an inherent challenge. Directors justify unbalanced instrumentation for a variety of reasons: student interest, emphasis of pep band, marching band, or jazz band in their community, or other reasons. These are not justifiable reasons. Band directors should strive for balance of all instruments in all ensembles at all levels. Instrumentation is more difficult in a small band. Some solutions include encouraging clarinet players to play bass clarinet, alto saxophonists to play tenor or baritone, high brass players to play low brass, or more creative switches. Instrumentation Solutions

Does a small band need a piccolo? Consider eliminating the piccolo in a small band. One piccolo can be overly dominating in tutti sections of small bands. Only use a piccolo when that particular tone color is required

as in “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Gustav Holst “Second Suite in F for Military Band,” Norman dello Joio “Variants on a Medieval Tune,” or Robert Jager “Esprit de Corps.” This is not to suggest that directors shouldn’t cultivate piccolo ability in their flute players. To provide more opportunities, let flute players play piccolo in marching band or pep band.

No oboe

A common substitute for a missing oboe is a muted trumpet. However, other substitutes can include soprano saxophone or clarinet. For critical oboe parts that should come out of the texture, an easy solution is a piccolo who will read the oboe part. It sounds an octave higher than written, but comes through distinctively.

No bassoon

Euphonium, bass clarinet, trombone, or tenor saxophone can all substitute for bassoon. Bassoon solos or duets can be substituted by alto or tenor saxophone an octave up. In Morton Gould “American Salute,” an effective substitute for the famous bassoon trio is two altos and tenor an octave up.

Not enough clarinets

The clarinet has a wide range that allows a wide variety of instruments to fill in missing parts. Notice that alto sax is completely within the range of the clarinet and can usually cover third clarinet parts if a band has too many altos and not enough clarinets. Tenor sax, trombone, or euphonium can fill in for low clarinet parts.

No bass clarinet

A trumpet player playing treble clef euphonium is an easy substitute for bass clarinet. He will play straight from the written bass clarinet part. Tenor or baritone saxophone is a possible substitute. Trombone is also in a similar range.

Not enough trumpets

An alto saxophone within a small trumpet section adds to the fullness of the section’s tone. Not enough or no horns

The most obvious substitute for horn is the alto or tenor saxophone. However, other substitutes include or high trombone, euphonium, or low trumpet. Clarinet can also be a substitute with good blending results.

Not enough trombones

Euphonium can be easily substituted for trombone, but if it is played by a trumpet player, the part will need to be rewritten for treble clef. Like the trumpets, a tenor saxophone hidden in a small trombone section can fill out that section.

No euphonium

Tenor saxophone can play most of the notes found in treble clef euphonium parts. Bass clarinet could be another possibility. A baritone saxophone can play low euphonium notes. Euphonium solos can be re-written for horn.

No tuba Baritone saxophone is almost essential if a band has no tuba. Bassoon and bass clarinet are in the same range, but not as good substituting for tuba. If the school has an orchestra program, a bass player can meet this need, and many pieces have the part included. The ensemble sound is not complete without the bass voice, so as a last resort, a keyboard bass or bass guitar could be used. When using amplified instruments, make sure that the volume and tone match the rest of the band. Consider aiming the amp more at the band instead of the audience so that intonation benefits and the sound dissipates and blends.

Programming: Accentuate the Positive Choose medium level literature. A band director in a small school may be in a completely new environment. Being the director of a small band requires a different type of ability than being a successful college student. The young teacher may unwisely choose literature that requires the students to do things without first isolating the concepts in the form of a lesson. Choose music that is scored for the full band most of the time. Sparse scoring is dangerous for the small band. Build the band program with music that rarely has less than half of the band playing. Pieces with solos should also have a solid background behind those solos. Choose tuneful literature. Some music doesn’t have great melodic content. The “hook” of this music may be percussion, power, syncopation, accents, or effects. Instead, choose music that has melodies that guide the student clearly from note to note. Look for melodies that have clear shapes and endpoints so you can teach students to breathe together and to shape phrases. Play marches, Americana, and patriotic music. The American march is a distinctive compositional form. Marches promote technique, articulation, style, precision, rhythm and subdivision. They typically contain memorable melodies. Marches are an introduction to the study of musical form that is easy for students to understand. Moreover, marches are almost always well received by the audience. Americana can refer to a wide variety of literature. Claude T. Smith “Declaration Overture,” David Holsinger “Prairie Dances,” and Clare Grundman “Kentucky 1800” are a few quality grade 3 examples that are valuable for teaching and enjoyable for students and audiences alike. Another winner is to play a medley of the armed forces’ songs. Invite members of the audience to stand when their service song is played, and announce, “Army! Navy! Marines! Air Force! Coast Guard!” when each begins. Beware when choosing an arrangement. Some only include two or three of the branches of the service. You will not be easily forgiven for overlooking a branch of service when recognizing others.

The patriotic finale is sure to receive a standing ovation, which reinforces your program to students and parents alike. A number of arrangements of “America, the Beautiful” are available. When it is played as a background to a patriotic poem recited by a student, there will be many hearty handshakes for that band director following the concert.

131st Bomb Wing/ANG Band of the Central States Col Robert Leeker Commander, 131st Bomb Wing Col Greg Champagne Vice Commander Capt Catherine Germain Executive Officer Capt John Arata Commander, 571st Air Force Band SMSgt Jeff Strahlem Superintendent MSgt Scott Walker First Sergeant MSgt Jeff Cluster Unit Deployment Manager/Mission Support NCO MSgt Karen Faris Operations NCO MSgt Brian House Communications NCO MSgt Ray Knittig Administration NCO MSgt Kathy Nix Concert/Ceremonial Band NCOIC Col Patrick Jones Chief, Air National Guard Bands CMSgt Roger Mason Enlisted Program Manager

This clinic is sponsored today by: Colonel Robert Leeker, Commander

131st Bomb Wing 10800 Lambert International Blvd.

St. Louis, Missouri 63044 (314) 527-6200

www.bandofthecentralstates.ang.af.mil www.131bw.ang.af.mil

Missouri Air National Guard Members of the Missouri Air National Guard serve the Air Force one weekend each month and two weeks each year. The Air National Guard offers part-time and full-time positions in numerous career fields as well as training, benefits, and college tuition programs. The Missouri Air National Guard has facilities in St. Louis, St. Joseph, Jefferson City, Whiteman Air Force Base, and Laclede County. Our primary missions include the C-130 “Hercules,” the B-2 “Spirit,” the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center, and the Cannon Range for air-to-ground weapons training. The Missouri Air National Guard also has several units with other specialties including the Air National Guard Band of the Central States.

Air National Guard Band Program The Air National Guard Band program consists of eleven bands in the United States. Each band has a multi-state area of geographic responsibility in which we represent America's Airmen to a global audience.

To audition for membership contact: To sponsor a performance, call: TSgt Paul Holzen, Auditions Director MSgt Karen Faris, Operations Director [email protected] or (314) 302-6331 [email protected] or (314) 527-6324 www.bands.af.mil/careers www.bands.af.mil/requests The Air National Guard Band of the Central States is wholeheartedly committed to reflecting the diversity of our great nation. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to learn about their Air National Guard and to seek positions in the band program.

Air National Guard Band of the Central States The Air National Guard Band of the Central States is headquartered at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. Our mission is to support the global Air Force mission in war and peace by fostering troop morale, building community relations, recruiting for the Air National Guard, and fostering our nation’s musical heritage. As members of the Air National Guard, the band serves the Air Force one weekend a month and two weeks each year. Our duties are always musical in nature, but the venues are widely varied. The band is comprised of several different ensembles including a Concert Band, Ceremonial/Marching Band, The Sounds of Freedom Jazz Ensemble, Strike Eagle Brass Quintet, Sidewinder Rock Band, and Jazz Combo. We support military and community events. The band has performed for the President and the Secretary of Defense, as well as for notable destinations such as Ecuador, Chile, the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, the Pentagon, two Fourth of July appearances at Mount Rushmore, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and a tour of military installations and communities in Kuwait, Qatar, Djibouti, and Iraq.

About the Clinician

Captain John Arata entered military service in 1999 and the Air National Guard in 2002. He is a distinguished graduate of the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee, and the United States Army Training Center at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. His military decorations include the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Missouri Military Funeral Honors Ribbon with four oak leaf clusters, and the Army Sharpshooter Badge. Captain Arata earned the Bachelor of Science in Education from Missouri State University and is pursuing the Master of Music in wind conducting from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. His conducting studies include courses or master classes with John R. Bell, Colonel Arnald

Gabriel, Colonel Patrick Jones, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Grimo, Frederick Fennell, Anthony Maiello, Allan McMurray, Michael Casey, and Robert Quebbemann. In his civilian career, Captain Arata teaches at Eureka High School and LaSalle Springs Middle School. He directs the Wildcat Pride Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Freshman Band, Jazz Lab, Big Band, and he assists the LSMS 7th grade band. The EHS Symphonic Band was featured at the 2009 MMEA convention and on “Classic 99” KFUO-FM’s High School Classics program. EHS Bands routinely earn superior ratings in state and national festivals and places in regional marching band competitions. His previous positions were in the Rolla Public Schools and in the Houston (MO) R-I School District. Special thanks to Paul Holzen and Cassie Renner for proofreading this packet and offering their technical and contextual advice.