Give yourself a little distance from the end of the season to “cleanse the palette,” like a month or so, and then dig in and do an honest review.
1. Review the marching band season with an open mind. If you are lucky enough to have a staff working with you, get their input in a meeting or through written exchanges. What went well and be honest, what did not go so well? What would you like to see changed for next year? Take a look at each of these areas: sections (strengths & weaknesses), the marching program, rehearsal techniques (how efficient?), show planning (was this done early enough and was the written show successful?), drill design & color guard choreography (was it done in time for the students to achieve success?), student attitude and leadership program.
2. Student Survey – It is very important to give students the opportunity to evaluate and give input for their marching band at the end of each season. There are two important reasons for this:
a. To give each student a sense of ownership. This will improve attitude, hard work and overall performance if the students feel that their opinions and ideas are heard and valued. This is especially true in any ensemble where, in essence, it is their band. Without playing members there is NO group. (Band directors would be wise to always avoid the phrase “my band.” It is not yours.)
b. To give the director and staff honest feedback on what the students really think. Do not assume you know what the students are thinking and talking about amongst themselves. (You don’t know!)
See my Blog from May 30, 2012 “End of the Year Student Survey” for more details on student input.
Once you have a good review of the past season completed and have time to absorb it, start making plans for next season.