Monday, August 7, 2017

9 Band Teacher-isms

If you don't know me (first of all, welcome!) I'm a band geek. I still play in a community band over the summer even though I'm not in school any more. Below are eight phrases/words of wisdom I learned from my band teachers throughout the years. Some of them are applicable to everybody, and some will only apply to those in music arts. Regardless, I hope you enjoy them!

  1. Don't be stupid
    This one is pretty self explanatory. It's an important piece of advice for junior high and high school students. :)
  2. Don't miss the bus
    This is a music specific one. If you were trying to catch a moving bus or train, you'd start to jog along side it before you leapt for the door. Similarly, if you're coming into a musical phrase after a rest, you better mentally be at the same tempo as the rest of the band.
  3. Don't drop the baby
    Another music specific one. Often in a piece of music a phrase is passed from one instrument or section to another. And just like a baby passed from one relative to another, you want to make sure that nothing is dropped!
  4. Long notes and repeated phrases...
    "Go somewhere!" Our band teacher would say the beginning part of the phrase, we would say the rest. For anyone in music, this is HUGE. If you want to take a song from robotic to musical, take long notes and repeated phrases somewhere with their dynamics.
  5. Who loves band?
    "I love band!" This is another call and response. It was often used to boost our energy after a long marching practice or to get us pumped right before a big competition. And this phrase really resonated with me... after all, I'm still in band!
  6. Don't say sorry, fix it!
    This one sounds harsh, but it emphasized that action means more than words.
  7. Don't go riding any llamas
    This stemmed from what was either an actual story or maybe just an urban legend among the band. Apparently on the day before a big competition, one of the soloists decided it would be a great idea to ride a llama - and subsequently broke his arm. Needless to say, it's pretty difficult to play an instrument with a broken arm. So this cautionary phrase was given to us before any big band trip.
  8. Crescendo means...Start softer. Which is a lot harder than it sounds, apparently. :P
  9. Potential is like fertilizer...
    It's capable of growing beautiful plants and flowers, but until you do something with it, it just sits there and stinks.
So what do you think? Did your band teacher (or orchestra teacher, or anyone really) have any sayings?


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