This week I observed the New Horizons band. It was very interesting to see how much differently this ensemble is run than the one’s I have participated in. For example, the player’s are able to help decide the repertoire they play for each concert. I know that we are just given pieces each semester and expected to learn them. This ensemble only meets once a week for about 2 hours, so there isn’t a lot of time to get the whole band to learn everything. However, I think the director uses the time he does have efficiently. His warm-up lead into the first piece they rehearsed. He was also able to address tuning and ensemble blend while having the group play a Bb chromatic scale, or an Eb scale.
One tool the director used throughout the rehearsal was singing. He sang rhythms, or pitches that the players were having trouble with. This provided players with a different way of hearing what they were trying to play. In some instances he had the members do air patterns along with him. I think this was smart because it was efficient than having them use instruments and have to worry about playing the right notes.
I think one thing that was frustrating during the rehearsal was when the group was going over what a whole tone scale was. There was no white board or anything to help them visually so it made it more challenging to the member’s who couldn’t understand what to play. I think it can be frustrating when one person is having understand what we are doing, but in this instance the director was patient and made sure that everyone understood what a whole tone scale was before he moved on.
Overall I enjoyed observing this group. The director was patient with all of the player’s and their questions/confusions. Lastly, instead of just focusing on playing the right notes, he was able to incorporate stylistic and rhythmic concepts in addition to just teaching rhythms.