Taken off the Band Facebook group just in case a minority of you aren't in the facebook group:
Dear band, as much as the teachers say the results are not that important, unfortunately for me it is, and to a certain extent, the teachers. Thus the only way forward is not one where you have to work harder, but to work smarter. It begins the next time we meet on Fri for Canberran's Day rehearsal.
It begins first with DISCIPLINE. Reporting to band room as soon as you have cleared your classes, getting changed and instruments set up (some of you take your own sweet time to head to the toilet to wash your mouthpieces!). Warming up on your instrument - there are so many things you can do to help you warm up, and this DOES NOT include banging on the drum set. Warming up must be treated as a revision of skills learnt e.g. scales, common rhythms, etc.
FUNDAMENTALS of music - have I not stressed this enough already. Breathing, tone, technique - expect to see a lot of these issues raised by the judges in their comments to you in the next few weeks or so. The next few months will be spent on playing EVERY SINGLE NOTE AND PAGE in the "I RECOMMEND" book. You must learn to read and understand and execute all the exercises in this book, before you even begin to learn any piece of music. Music is still a foreign language to most of you, and you must try your best to learn it just like you learn English in school. Percussionists will learn their "I RECOMMEND" on mallets.
Seems that the Harmony Director is not enough to train your LISTENING SKILLS. I will need everyone to make an investment, for your own benefit (only Sec 1s, 2s and 3s). All Woodwind and Brass players will need to purchase YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL TUNER with microphone - the cheapest and quite reliable KORG CA-1 (the one that I use) will cost something like $30 to $35, but we may get a discount if we are able to purchase a big number at a time. It will be of a great help anytime you play your instrument, whether in full band practice or at home, as you can check to see if you are in tune or not. It will help in your listening skills. As for Percussionists, you willl need to own a pair of DRUMSTICKS (maybe $15-$20) and a practice pad (see if I can find the $10 one, they usually cost much more). Please see me or the teachers if you have problems coming out with the money and we'll see how best to help you at that. I will like everyone to have these items just before we break for the mid-year exams, so that we can immediately start using them. I'm sure you'll take very good care of them, because you own them.
SECTIONALS - I need not say any more. That's the time where you spend learning new pieces or practicing your assigned pieces until you get every single note right, be it yourself or as a section, or even between sections (e.g. flute and clarinet). BE FOCUSED. BE SERIOUS. BE PRODUCTIVE. If you get bored or get stuck, go back to "I RECOMMEND", do a few exercises, and head back to practicing your piece. If you are smart enough, you will want to find exercises in "I RECOMMEND" that closely resembles whichever part of the music you are practicing. If all these are in place, we do not need much time for full band (meaning, not even Saturday morning rehearsals).
Lastly, COMMITMENT. Face it, BAND is an activity requiring a rather heavy commitment - till now I am proud to say about myself that I have never unnecessarily skipped any band practice (am talking about my outside bands) just because I didn't feel like going - it's only because I have another rehearsal or engagement. That is because I value every single band practice, because that's the only time I have these days to learn my pieces. You know, for that West Winds concert in March that you guys attended, we only had ONE.... ONE official sectional, and that was because full band had to be cancelled as the conductor was sick - yet we made sure we learnt our parts individually to the required performing standard. This is commitment for you - commitment to attend the required rehearsals, and commitment to learn whatever piece that was decided for us to play. You only have to show me commitment, and at the end of the day should you still fail for some reason, commitment is what we value more, not the result.
Please make sure everyone in the band reads this, so that we have the same understanding of what needs to be done ASAP to improve ourselves.
I sincerely thank everyone of you, band members and teachers, for all your hard work towards this SYF - as a conductor is but nothing without his musicians.- Mr Rasull.