Lessons Learned

February 11th, 2015, the school’s Symphonic Band recently studied with a well-respected music director. Mr. Marshall has traveled around the United States and Canada teaching other schools and judging many competitions. He appeared to be a funny and relaxed man, but he is also known for getting down to business when needed to fix a certain mistake. Although everyone in the band knew exactly how to behave Mr. Marshall does not take to funny business

The night of the clinic, the Symphonic Band settled into the band room between 5:30-5:40 p.m. and puts together the huge variety of instruments. The school’s band director, Mr. Marvin Vandyke heads up onto the podium and warms the band of 96 up, and Mr. Marshall pops in through the door. Everyone gets acquainted and introduced to the well-known Mr. Marshall and it begins. At first, Mr. Vandyke shows off the first song all the way through, Suite Francois and the lessons begin. He seemed quite surprised that a high school band was playing such a classic song and loved that the band was.

Mr. Marshall was there to be giving the band and the director his opinion and tips on how to make the sound better. The band really understood everything explained and slowly started to sound better with each phrase and measure. He definitely had a sense of humor as he called the flutes “annoying” (which can be true when the notes get higher) and told the third trombones to bring it on. He even told the band that the song Tempered Steel was pretty annoying and loud, as he called it “Tempered Tantrum” and “Tempered Regurgitation”, but he knew exactly how to make it better. Mr. Marshall even picked on the band’s director a little bit. The list of songs for band festival got better as they all learned how to improve individual playing and the balance between all.

The night ended around 8:00 pm and Mr. Marshall closed with a thank you and appreciation of the way the band was invested into the music. He explained, “We discussed topics and suggestions together that would make these all better, and you all didn’t just listen but actually did it in your playing and it sounded amazing.” Nobody had died of frustration and the night finished off nicely even with the difficulties in one of the songs. The Symphonic Band looks forward to having Mr. Marshall back again soon!