Marching Band Show Planning Part 2 With Wayne Markworth

Which comes first – the music or theme/concept?

  • Either approach works as long as the result is a show with great music.
    • Choose music that has quality and will be enjoyable to perform by the students, to rehearse by the staff and to listen to by the audience.
    • Great music can lead to many themes/concepts to give the show unity and perhaps a message.
    • Great themes/concepts will not lead to a successful show without great music.
  • Some Key Concepts in Music Selection
    • The music is the most important element of the show. Nothing will make up for poor music choices. (It is a very long season if the music “does not work.”)
    • The effectiveness of the music is the primary concern.
    • Be cautious of obscure songs and the song that “no one has ever done before.” (There is usually a reason for that!)
    • Look for variety of tempos, styles and voicings/orchestration.
    • Look for development and arrival (Impact) points.
    • Look for music that highlights your band’s strengths.
    • Design a show that the “popcorn eaters’’ in the audience will get and enjoy (and then the judges will get it too!)
    • Most problems in music selection occur because the music is too difficult for the level of the band.
    • The second biggest problem is music that is too easy.
    • Choose music that the majority of the players will be able to handle by mid-season.
    • The third problem area is picking tempos that are too slow or too fast to work on the field. Recordings are deceptive – use a metronome when you are choosing.
  • Choose great music that you and your students will love and you will be on the road to an enjoyable and successful season.

For a complete look at Show Planning, see Chapter 7: Show Planning in The Dynamic Marching Band.

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