Band students got to see their grades in class today. Grades are posted on the bulletin board by student ID so that it is anonymous. So far, the students have 3 grades in the gradebook: their daily grade, which is based on their supplies and participation in class; a playing test or a written test which varies depending on the class; and a locker check for taking their instrument home over the weekend. A very few students are losing daily grade points each day because they still need to turn in the contract that was due August 17.
7th graders got a bigger taste of tuning their instruments today by listening to different pitches and watching a metronome. They also started their first new unit out of the book which focuses on articulations such as staccato and tenuto.
The 8th grade band played through the music for their marching show. It is important to play the music each day so that they become very familiar with it. The next step is memorizing it, which tends to be easier if you’ve played the music a whole lot already. They also broke off into groups to analyze the musical form of each piece.
In 6th grade band, students received a new sheet of “Finger Exercises” today. The exercises are designed to wean students off of writing fingerings or note names in the music if they are accustomed to using those as a crutch when playing music. The percussionists are pretty good at the playing rhythms on the practice pad, but they need a lot of work on the bells. Most of the percussionists don’t like playing the bells — which is not hard to believe because no one enjoys doing something that they can’t do very well. Mr. Bley visited with the percussionists and used an analogy to explain to the percussionists that a quarterback with no arms is worthless to a football team. In the same way, a percussionist who cannot play the bells is not going to be able to help out the band very much. They seemed to understand that as percussionists, they need to learn all the percussion instruments. They will be focusing more on the bells in class so that they develop their ability to read notes on the staff and play them on a mallet instrument.