2023 Leadership Training

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Field Commander Auditions

Audition Excerpt

*Audition Areas

1. Tempo Recognition  & Control

You’ll be given these tempos to conduct the different patterns. We’ll randomly mute/unmute the metronome to observe how well you control tempo. On the day of the audition, video record yourself conducting these excerpts using Flipgrid.

  • 4/4 – tempo 140
  • 3/4 – tempo 110
  • 2/4 – tempo 90
Time Signature 4/4 at tempo 140 bpm
Time Signature 3/4 at tempo 110 bpm
Time Signature 2/4 at tempo 90 bpm

2. Prepared Piece

            – Selections from DCI 1997 The Cavaliers, “The Firebird.” 

            Listen to the selection, after the beginning applause, there’s approximately 10 seconds of silence and pit sounds for you to determine meter and tempo. The first big hit is approx. 1:17 into the recording. On the day of the audition, submit a Flipgrid video recording of you conducting this excerpt.

3. Interview

We’ll do these in TEAMS separately from the conducting portion of the audition, asking approximately 5-6 questions. Here’s a list of sample questions to think about;

  1. Why do you want to be a drum major?
  2. What are 3 characteristics of a good leader (in your opinion) and why?
  3. Name one aspect of the Riverdale Band program you’d like to see improved, and how would you facilitate that improvement?
  4. What are your strengths/weaknesses? Explain.
  5. Scenario: The band is having a tough rehearsal and morale seems to be low. What do you do to help motivate the group?
  6. Choose a moment where you felt like you acted as a leader and explain.
  7. Have any of your personal experiences helped you become a better leader? How?
  8. Scenario: 2 students are arguing over whether to be on their dot or guide to the form. The one student on their dot is sticking out of the form, but continues to claim they are in the correct spot, causing a distraction during rehearsal. How do you handle this scenario?
  9. Briefly describe your decision-making process.
  10. How have you encouraged your peers in the past, both during band and outside of band?
  11. If I were to ask your friends/family, how would they describe you in a few words?
  12. How do you describe your personal leadership style?
  13. Who is your favorite leader/role-model? Why?
  14. What is your passion?
  15. What strengths would you personally bring to the Riverdale drum major position and overall program?
  16. What changes would you seek to make in the future if you are offered the drum major position?
  17. Describe a scenario where you’ve had to give negative feedback to a peer and how you handled that situation.
  18. How can a leader fail? Give an example.
  19. What is the difference between a leader and a manager/boss?
  20. How do you set examples for your fellow band peers?
  21. What do you find most difficult about the possibility of being drum major?
  22. Who do you think is the most important person/section on the field and why?

*Conducting Advice from former MTSU Drum Major Jessica Graves….

  • Things to remember:
  • Hug the tree and flip the wrists
  • Crisp and defined beats/focal points
  • Tabletop (where is your conducting plane – too high or too low?)
  • No unnecessary hitches/subdivision in hands
  • Patterns (4/4, 3/4, 2/4) – fast and slow patterns
  • Stay within your conducting box (tabletop, side to side, not too high/eyebrows)
  • Stance (should width apart, stable base)
  • Uniformity with your fellow drum major candidates
  • Again, NO TENSION! If you’re tense, you’re doing it wrong.

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence”

-Sheryl Sandberg

“Leadership is the art of giving people a platform and spreading ideas that work”

-Seth Godin

“Leadership is an action, NOT a position”

Week of May 4th, 1st, 2nd, 4th, & 5th Period Classes

Week of May 4th, For 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th period band classes.

Activity 1

Select music that you’d be interested in rehearsing/performing. Go to https://www.jwpepper.com and look at some of the concert/marching band arrangements. Many of the selections have an audio clip or pdf a portion of the conductor’s music score. You might love it, hate, or be meh… and that’s okay….there’s a lot of music out there.

Activity 2

Find some music you like? Let us know…we might program it for a future performance. Go to https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=j8uWO0wXZUuC61zDi54GbK__kbROGdBIqiSJ9m7WOUxUNUZaRkNaWkU4WTk0MEZXRVhOMVI5RjJJRS4u

Activity 3

Share info about your selection. What’s the title? Is it for marching band? Concert band? Who wrote or arranged it? Why would this selection be good for our band? What’s the difficulty level? Does it feature any sections or instruments?

Week of May 4th – Percussion

Activity 1- Play the following rudiments with the Vic Firth recordings. Just do the bronze for each rudiment. If you feel comfortable with bronze try silver and beyond.

  • 16 – Paradiddle
  • 17 – Double Paradiddle
  • 21 – Flam Accent
  • 22 – Flam Tap
  • https://vicfirth.zildjian.com/education/40-essential-rudiments.html

Activity 2- Watch the videos and do the worksheet for snare drum.

Activity 3- Watch this video of a piece called “As One” by Gene Koshinski performed by Quey Percussion Duo.

Week of April 27

Activities / Resources

Activities for 1st, 2nd, 4th, and Jazz students – Ms. Singletary has put together some woodwind resources which are beneficial for all instrumentalists – check them out!

Here are the links to the youtube videos for warm ups and scales.

Week of April 27th – Percussion Only

Activity 1- Find a percussion ensemble piece that you think your ensemble can handle and that you would like to try in the future. To find one, I suggest using Tapspace or Rowloff (links below)https://www.tapspace.com/percussion-ensemble/

Percussion Ensemble Sheet Music – TapspaceThis arrangement of Ravel’s masterpiece recreates the colorful and vibrant work for percussion ensemble. This piece will challenge performers and engage audiences with its accessible Spanish flair.www.tapspace.com


Row-Loff Productions Percussion Literature – Concert Classical EnsemblesA Collection of 4 Grade I Ensembles based on popular Classical themes Surprise Symphony by Joseph Haydn (1:28) Eine kleine Nachtmusik by W. A. Mozart(1:10)www.rowloff.com

Activity 2- Watch the videos and do the worksheet on wood blocks, temple blocks and gong/tamtam (worksheet attached)
Activity 3- Watch this video of the MTSU Snare Ensemble play in the 2014 PASIC Small Ensemble Competition. This ensemble won 1st place. (link below)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFv8J0ozApM

MTSU Snare Ensemble || Night In The BorrowCheck out the Middle Tennessee State University Snare Ensemble entitled “Night In The Borrow”! ================================================== For more vi…www.youtube.com

Week of April 20th

Lesson Resources/Activities for the Week of April 20th

Activity 1 – Choose one of the following songs and submit a Flipgrid of you performing along with a band recording. Audio can be found at jwpepper.com or youtube.

-Symphonic Band (1st, 2nd, 6th), Look at; Into the Storm, The Rites of Tamburo

-Wind Ensemble (4th & 7th), Look at Novo Lenio, Impact.

-Guard / Jazz Class (5th & 6th) 24K Magic, My Songs Know What You Did

To access the sheet music… Go to https://www.jwpepper.com/sheet-music/sharemusic/ and enter the following access code at the bottom of the page KnceOVFHYNc=

Activity 2 – Discuss the music / your performance during our Tues/Thurs. TEAMS masterclass at 1pm. These are brief, 15-30 min max.

Activity 3 – Find some concert or marching band music at jwpepper.com and be prepared to share during the masterclass. We’re interested in the music selections that interest you.

Week of April 13th

Week of April 6th Lesson

GETTING IN SHAPE! Developing a Personal Practice Routine. 

We all know that practice is the key to developing a musical skill set but unfocused practice can be frustrating. Horn-on-face is a good start to establish a practice routine but without goals, gets old quickly.  

Unfocused practice is like getting in a car to go somewhere but without knowing exactly you’re going, how long it will take, or if you even have enough fuel or money to get there…in other words, you’re not going to get very far and you’re wasting time. 

“So, how do I start a practice routine?” “What is a practice routine?” “Is it the same for everyone?” “How long should it take?” 

There are some common parts to a practice routine, like, consistency of time, material, location… but these also can vary for different people. Your routine might be shorter or focus more on technique than that of a professional musician… some might spend more time on upcoming music, while others may focus more on scales and finger technique… practicing is like fashion, there are different fits for different people. 

The Lesson 

Watch the following youtube video and read/review the 3 articles on practicing. These articles are written for beginner, high school, and college level musicians. There’s also a live webinar with Patrick Sheridan (internationally famous tubist) on April 9, 1pm central time (link below). 

After reading and watching this info, go to https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=j8uWO0wXZUuC61zDi54GbK__kbROGdBIqiSJ9m7WOUxUMElKS1hFNkxaTThMMlQ1Ukw1RFFTOExWMy4u 

and answer these questions using complete sentences (in other words, fully explain your thoughts); 

  1. After reviewing all these sources, what are the common parts of a practice routine? These may be called different things by different people. Identify the areas and describe their importance or role in the practice routine. 
  1. Are there differences in the practice routines presented here? If so, what are they? Are the differences in the order of items practiced? Music or materials practiced? Time commitment for practice? Describe these differences and explain. 
  1. What skills or techniques did you learn to incorporate into your practice routine? How do these help? 
  1. Create a practice routine that fits you and is level appropriate for your current quarantine skill set. Label each area of your plan and include the amount of time for each section, the material to be practiced, and an overall amount of time for daily (or almost daily) practice…Your plan should be something you can easily commit to with the goal of maintaining and building your skill set for a May return to full band playing. 
  • Have a question or want us to review your practice plan? Email us. 

Websites / Videos 

– https://youtu.be/mdTldMNVOfU  

– Patrick Sheridan Live Webinar from Jupiter/Mapex Virtual Education Series 

Thurs. April 9, 1pm CT, https://event.webinarjam.com/register/7/8v49wfw 

– https://www.schoolmusiconline.com/central-music-highlights/2017/12/1/6-steps-to-creating-your-practice-routine 

– https://www.creativelive.com/blog/make-band-practice-more-productive/ 

– https://www.utc.edu/faculty/donald-zimmer/daily-practice-routine.php