Band Camp Update

We hope you’ve had an enjoyable and safe summer! The past few months have been very difficult – trying to plan for all the band camp possibilities has been like building a sandcastle… as soon as one plan is completed, waves of change cause us to start all over. It seems that policies and updates are continually changing. The increasing number of unknowns – will we have school, how will school work, will we have football, how can we stay safe – has made planning the path forward extremely difficult.

The Riverdale Band is an extremely important part of our school and community and acting in the best interest of our students and extended band family is always at the forefront of our mind.

We have been in near constant contact with area band directors and school administrators. Everyone knows that this school year will look different. And like we tell our students, change isn’t necessarily bad, it’s how we react to change that matters. Countless hours have been spent trying to plan a camp that is safe, effective, and enjoyable. We’re ready to see our students and help them achieve their musical goals. Unfortunately, the large number of unknown variables leaves us to believe that canceling band camp is in the best interest of band students, staff, and extended band family. At the moment, we believe there are too many unknowns to safely and effectively conduct band camp. Several area band programs have already announced their intent to not compete this fall. We anticipate that most area band contests will be canceled (if they haven’t already done so), there are travel restrictions, and safety concerns have all impacted this decision.

We do not make this decision lightly and still intend to offer a marching experience for our students. We will do our best to transition camp experiences and learning into our school and rehearsal settings. We believe that adequate rehearsals exist for us to prepare for performance at home football games. We look forward to this opportunity to create new and unique opportunities and continue the tradition of great Riverdale Bands! As always, we continue to look at ways we can grow the band experience at Riverdale. When one door closes, another opens. Our program is not defined by this situation, our legacy goes far beyond one camp or one season. You are a vital part of a 50-year-old tradition which we intend to continue with your dedication and support.

As the fall band experience continues to evolve, we’ll continue to communicate information through email and at

Musically yours,

Mike Aymett & Matt Crossley

Riverdale Band Directors

Instrument Pick-up / Check-out

Tuesday, May 19

For students wanting to pick-up personal instruments/equipment or check out a school instrument/equipment for summer use, there are times available for Tuesday, May 19, 3-5pm.

There is a School instrument / equipment maintenance fee;

Wind and Percussion instruments – $50 for year, including summer.

Guard equipment – $25 per semester (fall includes summer uses).

For personal instrument pick-up, follow the instructions on the signs by the gym parking lot entrance.

To pay your equipment maintenance fee, bring either cash or check in an envelope labeled with your name, grade, and equipment fee. Checks should be made to “Riverdale Band Boosters.”

Complete the following form and we’ll see you Tuesday!

Week of May 11, Lesson Resources for 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, & Jazz

ACTIVITY 1 – Practice your fundamentals; scales, drop spins, etc. Winds, go back and use the practice routine you created in March. Guard, spin a basic warm-up using a broom/mop/any available item.

ACTIVITY 2 – Check out this performance from the U.S. Army Band. Part of this video is a traditional concert, the other part is virtually recorded.

ACTIVITY 3 – Check out this performance by the Vandegrift HS Marching Band, 2019 Bands of America Grand National Champions.

Week of May 11, Percussion Lesson Resources

Activity 1- Play the following rudiments with the Vic Firth recordings. Push yourself and try at least silver. 

  • 6 – Double Stroke (Open) Roll
  • 7 – Five Stroke Roll
  • 19 – Paradiddle-diddle
  • 27 – Patafla-fla
Education – 40 Essential Rudiments – Vic Firth40 Essential Rudiments. Learn the rudiments in a systematic way. Webrhythms. A series of short articles designed to teach rhythmic reading. Percussion 101. Develop essential skills necessary for today’s all-around percussionist. Drum Set Play-Along

Activity 2- Watch the videos and do the worksheet for timpani. (Worksheet attached)

Activity 3- Watch this video of “Collide” by Jacob Remington performed at PASIC by the TCU Percussion Ensemble.

Collide by Jacob RemingtonThe TCU Percussion Orchestra performs “Collide” by Jacob Remington at PASIC 2015. The piece was commissioned, premiered, and recorded by the TCU Percussion Orchestra. Posted with permission of the composer and

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 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

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

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 13th

Field Commander Training 2020

Field Commander Training 2020

Watch each of these brief videos. Make notes, practice, and rewatch as often as needed. If the info becomes too much for you to follow, that’s okay; work at the level you are comfortable. As always, email any questions you may have. There’ll be more detailed exercises, music, and info coming in the near future. At the moment, we’re aiming for an early May audition… stay tuned for any changes.


Overall Basics and Leadership Intro

Basic Info

Beginning Fundamentals

Intermediate Conducting

Advanced Conducting

Working with a Field Commander Team

Learning a score