Spring band season is in full swing, and the amount of opportunities for your students to perform and compete is incredible. There are so many opportunities, in fact, that deciding how to commit your band’s time and resources is quite a feat.
We talked to Brightspark Tour Consultant and retired band director Rick Eckler about everything spring has to offer. With over 32 years of experience working with Ohio-based bands and a Master of Science in Instrumental Music from the American Band College, Rick knows a thing or two about making the most of your spring band season. Here are his tips:
1. Plan Ahead
You probably already have a pretty good idea of what your band program is doing this spring, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next season. Observe your band’s current performances to get an idea of its strong points – let this influence the activities you choose for next year.
2. Know What’s Going On
Back in the ‘70s, school concerts were one of the biggest performance opportunities of spring. Now programs are being pulled in all sorts of directions. Should you participate in district and state competitions? Should you set up a jazz band? What about indoor drumline and colorguard? Don’t forget solo and ensemble.
3. Keep in Mind: Your Band’s at Peak Skill Level
Come spring, your band’s been practicing together for almost an entire year. This is their time to shine. Do you choose a lighter spring concert? Or do you choose a repertoire that will challenge them to get to the next level? You also have to keep in mind how state testing and AP testing will affect your decision.
4. Think About Cross Over
Do your kids have an opportunity to audition for a different kind of instruments? Do you let students change instruments during marching band?
One of the best things about spring and early summer activities is that it gives them the chance to try something new. For example, if you have a student who would like to switch over to percussion, this is the time for them to do it.
5. Never Get Lazy
According to Rick, there’s only one “wrong” thing that a band director can do: giving up and playing cards after your spring concert. “Never let students get rusty,” he says, “start preparing for marching band season!”
6. Be Thankful
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, keep in mind that you’re working with excellent students who put an incredible amount of effort into the program. Remember that you’re making a difference in their lives. “Delight the kids and be thankful,” says Rick.