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Middleton Marching Band.docx

Middleton Marching Band.docx

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Published by Jennifer Smith
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Published by: Jennifer Smith on Oct 31, 2013
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10/31/2013

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David Middleton Geli, Elizabeth. Life in the Pit.

Muse Media, LLC: Los Angeles, California The front ensemble, or “the pit,” is a section of the marching band that is not actually on the playing field. Rather, this group forms a percussion section that performs from the sidelines with the rest of the band. While not every marching band has a front ensemble, the pit enhances the marching band in various ways. For one, they are closer in proximity to judges and audience members, increasing the volume and adding a unique musical depth to the ensemble. Second, they provide new opportunities to students looking to perform different or non-traditional instruments. For example, after hearing a student play tabla, the director at Cy-Fair High School in Houston, Texas added a tabla part to their marching show in the front ensemble, wowing judges and audiences. Besides adding musical depth and opportunities to students, the front ensemble also enhances the “show” aspect, giving new potential to show designs, such as being the police station in a show involving a bank robbery at Jupiter High School in Florida. While they add a great deal to the ensemble, the pit also creates unique challenges to be overcome. For one, due to their distance from the band, phasing and keeping time can be an issue. To remedy this, having the pit members listen in to the section leader helps as well as bobbing up and down to keep time. Also, moving the bulky equipment presents a challenge. This can either be handled by parents or by students themselves. Finally, making the pit members feel as much a part of the band family as the other members is essential as they often practice apart from the band. There are different

First of all. North Dakota hosts an annual celebration of music known as Band Night which features a parade of high school marching bands from across several states. often of 150 students or less. the article sums up the challenges introduced fairly well. bought matching t-shirts. and exotic percussion instruments. and helping the front ensemble members feel included in the band family. The pit offers them a perfect position to play or try something new while letting them be stationary. several band directors gathered their groups together. However. the pit often contains nontraditional marching band instruments. keyboards. I came from a high school that did not have a front ensemble as it was not part of the traditional “marching band” ensemble. Corp. but also introduces new concepts to the students and audience. NV. SBO report: The Southwest Marching Band Timeless Communications. Bismarck. such as adding different activities off the field and doing stretches and exercises as a full band.David Middleton ways to solve this. the positives to having a front ensemble are numerous. Second. I wholeheartedly agree with this article and its support for front ensembles in marching bands. many Southwest North Dakota high schools have low student enrollment. This not only adds flavor to the band. I believe these challenges can be overcome by creative directors and students. such as synths. did a quick . While I feel the front ensemble adds a great deal to marching bands. equipment moves. there may be players that do not want to or are unable to march in the band but still want to be apart of the marching band. To overcome this lack of numbers. However. However. Las Vegas. such as timing.

Not only has it positively affected the students. this provides musical pros as well. While they only perform at the one parade every year. this could be a headache and would take a great amount of dedication from all directors involved. growing support for music education in general from parents who want to see their children succeed. it is often the highlight of the year for students who participate in bands of only 20 members. Students in small districts can achieve many of the same concepts as larger schools if their director is good. where students must learn to meld their sound within a larger group. but in the end. . eight more schools joined and the band grew to over 300 kids. and drove 120 miles to march in the show. but there is a level of excitement that comes from being a large marching band that a child doesn’t get anywhere else. I think this is a great example of what teachers can achieve when they get creative and collaborate. if only for a day. Many students can become discouraged in small band programs as they simply do not have the same sound output as a large ensemble. but communities have benefitted as well. these teachers have provided students with an exciting reason to stay in band. the Southwest Marching band was born. such as instrumentation and producing a good sound from a group that is together for only one day. By gathering schools together and giving students the chance to experience the power of a large ensemble. but the positives outweigh the negatives when getting smaller schools together. it is about the positive dynamic produced from the camaraderie and excitement that the students gain from the event. Also. Several years later. Logistically.David Middleton rehearsal before the parade. Thus. There are challenges.

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