Thursday, July 28, 2011

Camp Health

We are two weeks away from the start of preseason training camp!  Here are some reminders on how to maintain good health during those hot, long days:

Preseason Training Camp takes place during one of the hottest months of the year and requires high levels of physical, mental and emotional intensity. As such, it is important to follow these guidelines to lessen the chances of harm or illness. 

Camp and Rehearsal Apparel 
As we will be outside on the practice field for most rehearsals, it is required that all band members wear comfortable clothing (dependent on the weather) and TENNIS SHOES (NO DRESS SHOES, SANDALS, FLIP-FLOPS, CROCS, ETC.). A ball cap or wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are also strongly recommended. 

Proper hydration should begin the week prior to camp so each member should drink as much water as possible (males should drink 1 gallon of water per day; females should drink 3/4 gallon of water per day) at least 5 days before physical activity begins. Furthermore, sugary and alcoholic drinks should be avoided during the duration of camp. 
We will have water stations during Preseason Training Camp and on hot days but please bring your own Nalgene bottles, thermoses, etc. pre-filled to start off rehearsal. There will be NO cups available during camp so each member will be responsible for his/her own. Students are recommended to use hydration backpacks during camp. These can be purchased at various sports stores and websites.   Likewise, it is recommended to purchase and use cooling pads such as those made by Frogg Togg.

When outdoors, we will work in short segments with brief water breaks between each one. Make sure to hydrate at each break, even if you do not feel thirsty. 

Food and energy 
The type of activity that occurs during Preseason Training Camp requires much more energy than is expended during normal daily activity. As such, each member must eat more than they do on a normal basis. Preseason Training Camp is NOT a time to begin dieting or extreme changes in eating habits. 
All band members are to eat a solid meal during every meal break and in the morning before rehearsals begin. Members are also encouraged to bring good energy snacks to eat during their short breaks. 
Good foods are those high in carbohydrates (pasta, rice, granola bars, etc.) but low in fat and sugar. Eating fruit high in vitamins will give you much more lasting energy than you would get from a candy bar. 

Sunscreen & Insect Repellant 
The use of sun screen and insect repellant is strongly recommended. 

Sleep and Rest 
Students should get between 7-8 hours of sleep per night through the duration of camp. Furthermore, all meal breaks should be used as a time to eat, rest and recharge for the next rehearsal session. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Similar goals from a school to the south

I happened upon this article about the USC Gamecock band.  Looks like they are in a very similar boat as we are.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Music for Serenity

I just finished orchestrating a setting of the second movement of Antonin Dvořák's ninth symphony to use as a warmup chorale with the Marching Pirates this fall.  This is one of my favorite largo movements in all of symphonydom.  I love that it always brings a sense of tranquility when I listen to it.  This thought prompted me to create a list of other works and songs that always seem to have a quiet calming effect each time I listen to them.  In addition to the previously mentioned, they include the following:

 1) Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings
 2) Jeff Buckley's rendition of "Hallelujah"
 3) The Adagio cantabile from Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata
 4) "The Flower Duet (Lakmé)" by Léo Delibes
 5) Vide Cor Meum by Patrick Cassidy
 6) "Lascia ch'io panga" by Handel
 7) "Colonial Song" by Percy Grainger
 8) The Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G Maj (BWV 1007)
 9) "Flamenco Sketches" by Miles Davis
10) "For Always" from the soundtrack for A.I. written by John Williams

What about you?  What are some of your chill time favorites? 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Role of Student Leadership

This past weekend was our 2nd annual ECUMP Leadership Retreat.  We discussed the plans for the season and had some great seminars about leadership.  In reflecting during the days after, I spent some time thinking about the role of student leadership in college marching bands.  I've determined that it boils down to one thing really: to do whatever is necessary to allow the director of the band to focus solely on the rehearsing, teaching, and administration of the band.  What then is left for the student leadership?  Many things...establishing standards and expectations concerning discipline and dedication, preparation and professionalism, and even maintaining morale.  When the director of the band has to spend precious rehearsal and teaching time doing these jobs, it represents a breakdown in leadership.

I'm excited about the 2011 UGS.  There is so much potential for tremendous leadership with this group.  I challenge each of them to spend some time the next month reflecting on how they can make the Marching Pirates run like a well-oiled machine.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fresh Faces

One of the best parts about the months leading up to each new marching band season is the opportunity to interact with incoming freshmen and their families during orientation.  We are able to do a short information session about what being a Marching Pirate is all about as well as how to become a member.  As I give out important information, answer the bevy of questions, and practice my attempts at witty banter,  it's always exciting to see the eyes of students and parents alike light up when they hear about this wonderful organization.  In the end, it's the experiences that they are about to share with us that are what creates such excitement and anticipation for old and new member alike.  In a way, it's like welcoming new members into the Marching Pirate family.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Marching Band Athletes?

Have you ever wondered how physically demanding a marching band performance is?  Check out this segment from a 1995 ESPN broadcast of the DCI finals:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From a brilliant mind...

I recently read a quote from the novelist/philosopher Toni Morrison which encapsulates what is essentially my life's philosophy in a more eloquent way than I will ever come close to speaking or writing:

"I have often wished that Jefferson had not used that phrase 'the pursuit of happiness' as the third right ... I would rather he had written, 'life, liberty and the pursuit of meaningfulness' or 'integrity' or 'truth.' I know that happiness has been the real, if covert, goal of your labors here. I know that it informs your choice of companions, the profession you will enter. But I urge you, please do not settle for happiness. It's not good enough. Personal success devoid of meaningfulness, free of a steady commitment to social justice -- that's more than a barren life; it's a trivial one. It's looking good instead of doing good.'' (Rutgers University commencement address, Spring 2011)