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Jacob Sampson English 1101

Band Mini-Ethnography The setting: Band takes place in a space about two stories tall, 50 feet deep and 60 feet across. On every wall, sound boards cover the flat surface, absorbing the sound that would otherwise reflect and cause an echo in the room. This large space and incredible silence (and sometimes wonderful) can cause the band room to seem eerie before or after class when no one uses the space or makes noise. In the back of the room percussion instruments (drums and mallet instruments (these make tonal or pitched noise)) take up the most space when class does not meet. The percussion players move these around for each piece of music that the band plays, granting the players more access to the instruments. As the percussionists set up their gear, so must the wind players. These players play clarinet or flute or trumpet to name a few, and set up chairs to sit in as sitting makes playing the instruments easier (but not necessarily more fun says the marching band kid (Me)). The wind players arrange their chairs in such a way that the conductor stands or sits in the center of the arc where all the students can see him/her. Many reasons exist for this arrangement, such as allowing all the students to follow the director with ease or encouraging the students to pay attention to the director alone. This allows the director to decide when the band plays, how it plays. Also, this set up discourages students form having long conversations during band; however, it encourages communication of another form. Each type of instrument player sits next to another player of the same instrument allowing them to communicate through a musical device called intonation and help one another out during to play the music as they usually share similar parts. This device called intonation does not take physical form but comes from the ability of two or more players to sound like one person playing. In order to achieve this, the players must communicate without words as they play the music and remain in tune, playing the piece to its fullest. For a player to make the instruments notes in tune

Jacob Sampson English 1101

they must have a good knowledge of their instrument and the environment they play in as humidly and temperature have an effect on the instruments tone. Tone is the sound an instrument makes when played. One partakes in band for many reasons. Some do so to improve their musical ability and skill at performing, while others have no reason to do this activity other than the enjoyment. These motives make up the majority of band kids but there are other smaller reasons as well. On reason to participate is to socialize and develop friendships and a community of people who enjoy the same activity. Often, before or after class, the band kids will talk and joke about many things in their lives, just as any other friend group. The band also entertains the public as part of its purpose. This allows the band to communicate the pleasure of making music to the community in the form of music and display their skill as musicians.