By Jeff Young

How the Music for All Summer Symposium can help you and your students…
Have you given any thought to what you might do differently this next year regarding your band’s marching band season? I have to be honest, since I am the visual caption head at Carmel High School and not an actual band director, I get lots of time in the “off season” to think about marching band – while you all are doing concert band, jazz band, pep band, etc.

Last year Dynamic Marching put out a survey about what the biggest areas of frustration are among band directors. The results were not too surprising! One director said, “The greatest challenge is finding ways to teach the students what is beyond the notes on the page (phrasing, dynamics, balance, articulation, etc.). In addition, when it comes to marching, we are in need of a fresh start regarding the technique of marching.” Another director answered, “I have a very small staff and I really need to count on my section leaders. I feel like I spend too much time pushing and pulling my section leaders to get their help and not enough time actually getting better.” Wow! If you asked 1,000 band directors if they have similar frustrations – you would likely get universal agreement.

We all want our students to be more musical, to have great fundamentals, and to be great leaders.

Good news! We can help you with all of that. While I am probably not the guy to fix your woodwind intonation, I am the guy who can help you and your students to establish a top-notch visual fundamentals program. I can still help your woodwinds though… AND your brass. How? I have assembled a staff that is the “best of the best” that your students will not only learn from but LOVE.

Our music staff at the MFA Summer Symposium is led by Matt Harloff, Richard Saucedo, and Scott Atchison – our music team represents great teachers from some of the very best bands and drum corps in the country (Carolina Crown, Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps, University of Kentucky, Avon H.S., Broken Arrow H.S., Carmel H.S., Center Grove H.S., LD Bell H.S., Lassiter H.S., and more) ! Our visual staff: Features instruction from me, Chris Kaflik, and Jordan Lalama (Carmel H.S., Broken Arrow H.S., Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps).

Through small group secitonals with nationally recognized teachers, students who attend the Music for All Summer Symposium marching band track will return to your group with a better understanding of:

  • Breathing
  • Sound Production
  • Intonation
  • Ensemble Balance & Listening
  • Articulation 
  • Dynamics
  • Emotion
  • Visual Artistry
    Utilizing full-group and small-group fundamentals exercises, students who come to the marching band track learn various fundamentals of marching & movement such as:
  • Posture 
  • Instrument Carriage
  • The Weight Shift / Stops & Starts
  • Upper Bodies & Slides
  • Prep Steps and Transitions
  • Timing & Articulation
  • Introduction to Dance Fundamentals

We are really working diligently to integrate the training and curriculum from the Drum Major division at camp with the marching band track. We are well aware that the students you send to the marching track this year may be the section leaders and drum majors in the next couple of years and working with Bobby Lambert to develop leadership skills in these students is a priority for us. They will learn skills such as:
Identifying the audience

  • Knowing the intent of the communication
  • Communicating the message
  • Applying the details of music and visual fundamentals to the actual style choices of the home band
  • Teamwork

For years now, I have been wondering why band directors automatically send their drum majors to summer camp, but they do not do the same for the student leaders and section leaders. I feel that this is a critical step that will help you to have a more successful season. Send us one or two students from each section of your band and we will return them to you more knowledgeable and more qualified to help you and their section-mates. And – just to sweeten the deal – your students will get to perform part of the actual Carolina Crown show for a gigantic DCI audience at the end of the week!!! Win…. Win.