March 17, 2006

Conducting


Well, the picture is small (click it, it gets bigger), but yes, it's true, I conducted a band. . . all by my self! Chalk this down as a happy moment for the Snively. Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Every year my school hosts a band concert for all of the elementary and middles schools that feed into it. That includes the (this year massive) 5th grade beginning band, a band from each middle school that feeds into my school (three), and two bands from my school. 6 bands, one gym, a lot of chairs. This isn't about the chairs though, so we'll skip that part. Remember, there are multiple bands from the schools, so there aren't enough directors to cover them all, so this year our director said that if anybody would like to try out that they could conduct a band in the combined closer. Combined closer=everybody in the gym (400ish) playing the same song at the same time. Well, I haven't mentioned this in my blog yet, but I wanted to be Drum Major SOOOOOOO bad last year that it wasn't even funny. This next year I'm absolutely determined to make it. Any opportunity to conduct and show leadership is one more apple in my basket, so I jumped at the opportunity. About 15 people auditioned for three spots. Most of the people auditioning had no conducting experience and went in fairly unprepared. I, however, attended a Drum Major leadership camp last summer and spent 4 hours a day conducting to such classics as Bohemian Rhapsody and the soundtrack to Crimson Tide. I was fairly confident. My audition went very well, I conducted to a recording of the combined number and our assistant director (who rocks) adjuticated me. His only comments were not to bob to the beat, reach my arms out farther, and turn my hands in a bit. I didn't make any conducting mistakes, I hit all the cues, I changed styles for the snare solos and the slow part, and I nailed the cut-off. Nothing I could have done better really. This was 2 days ago. Today they posted the results and sure enough, I made it! Our two Drum Majors and three of us would be conducting tonight. This may just be me being happy, but the list wasn't in alphabetical order, nor was it in "order of audition" order, and I was at the top. I'll just tell myself that that means I did the best, true or not, it's an ego boost. At the concert our director introduced all of us and we got to stand and bow, and then we went to our respective bands. The other folks went to various middle school bands, but I got picked to conduct the Wind Ensemble, the top group at our school. Yay! So, we conducted the song (see picture, I'm the one in the tux waving his arms around). It went really well and the bands only pulled away from the tempo once, but they caught on to the slower tempo we were giving, so it turned out ok. We finished, stood up, bowed, and everybody clapped.

I have decided that I really enjoy conducting. It's something that's still musical, but so much more rewarding and just plain neat. Leading 50 people and creating live music however you want. . . .haven't you ever been listening to the radio and just wanted the song to speed up just a bit, or slow down and take more time, get louder or softer? Conducting is like the ultimate live and adjustable radio! I hope to conduct more, but I'm not sure when. Our assistant director said he'd tutor me and help me prepare for drum major tryouts so that I stand a better shot. I'll update you on how that goes. That's all for now, ciao!

8 comments:

Alleia DaNae said...

haha well first of all... I got you into saying CIAO because i am just plain awesome like that. Thats so cool that you got to conduct. Good luck for the drum major stuff. From what ive seen, anything you put your mind to, you will achieve it. TTYL!

CIAO

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is a really late comment.. but I thought you did a good job at the concert... do you think you have a good shot at drum major? How many are you guys going to have next year?

Michael said...

Hello anonymous. Seeing as how you are anonymous, I can't really e-mail you a reply so my only other option is to just post a comment in reply. In answer to your first question, yes, I do think I have a good shot at drum major next year. We want our band to be over a hundred with about 25 gaurd and we have been recruiting accordingly. Because of the larger numbers, I'm assuming that we'll stay at 2, I can't imagine us going down to 1 again and having 3 would most likely pull a good marcher off the field, so my guess would be 2. I hope you see this! If not, everybody else (by everybody else I mean pretty much nobody) can read this comment!

Anonymous said...

but arent both this years drum majors juniors? is one of them quitting or what?

Michael said...

Yes, we have two junior drum majors. That does mean that if auditions were based heavily on continuity then I would not be drum major next year. However, the fact that auditions are even occurring means that, unless the auditions are simply a formality, other people have the chance to become Drum Major. This last year I tried really hard to demonstrate my leadership abilities as section leader and I attended leadership camp last summer as well. The way I see it, I have just as good a shot as anybody, and if as you suggest one of our current DMs decides not to do it next year, I'm just much more prepared. However, even if both intend to do it next year, I still believe that I pose a certain amount of competition because I would bring a different leadership style to the podium that more people may appreciate.

Anonymous said...

what kind of leadership would your bring? from what i've read from your blog, you seem to have a lot of experience with leadership, so what do drum majors do really? what kind of leadership do you use?

Michael said...

First off, I'd like to say that it's becoming kind of fun trying to figure out who you are, because I need to phrase my answers in such a way that I don't sound like an a$$ and insult anybody, but still answer the questions. That being said, my leadership style is much more vocal and I'd be much more involved in changing things or fixing things according to what I think should be done. I wouldn't necessarily run to staff every time I thought something needed to be changed or fixed, I'd just take care of it, show some initiative. I believe that things would get accomplished much quicker that way. Of course, anything I say would have to be pretty accurate and right, otherwise I'd be doing more harm than good, but I'm fairly confident that most of the decisions I'd make would be ok. I tried to do some of that kind of leadership this last year as section leader and it seemed to work pretty well. As for what Drum Majors do. . .conduct. That would be the standard definition, but generally the drum major is the person that represents the student aspect of the band, in a way that the adult staff can't. They work with the students at their level and take suggestions and generally just try to be helpful and get things done. . .and conduct.

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