Marching season is over. Now what?

With the calendar changing to November, marching band season in most schools is over. So, now what do you do? Here are four things directors should do once the season is over.

It is November. High school football is over for most states, except for playoffs. Marching band state championships are completed, leaving Bands of America Grand Nationals and USBands National Championships this week. And with that, focus changes to concert band.

As with many transitions, there are several loose ends that need attention before truly closing the season. In order to full move forward to the next task and prepare for the next season, here are four tasks to CARE-fully consider.

C – Celebrate

Be sure to celebrate the season. No matter the numerical score given to your students or how they performed throughout the season, celebrate. They put in extra hours of work to create a show and perform for crowds at football games and contests. They spent weekends traveling on a school bus to schools across your state or even to other states to perform. Sure, a trophy or plaque is nice, but the amount of time, dedication, and effort of everyone involve deserves recognition. Find a way to gather together and celebrate the season.

But, do not just enjoy a celebration with the ensemble. Be sure to involve parents in a way that does not require them to work the entire time. And, if they could not assist during the season, at least they made sure their child attended rehearsals and events as necessary. Who knows? Maybe by involving the parents in the celebration, many more will participate in future events.

A – Assess

Nothing is worth doing if you cannot learn from it. Yet, how often do we sit back and assess our performance in marching band? I do not mean the ensemble’s performance, but that of staff. If we expect our students to improve, we must also focus on improvement. So, how can we assess our work?

  1. Video tape rehearsals with the camera focused on you. Do this several times during the season, and then watch them. Write down phrases that you say often (except “one more time”) or chart out timing of your comments. You may be surprised how much you talk during rehearsal.
  2. Create a survey for your students to fill-out. Using a nominal scale is encouraged as it will allow students to express feelings and thoughts on the season, but without providing space to write complaints. While their comments lead to improvement, it may also lead to distrust. If you do ask for opinions, guide it toward show choices or other show related aspects.
  3. Invite your staff over for dinner and watch a performance. Give them a form to guide then thoughts and reflection on the season. Discuss in an open forum. Be sure to leave time to talk about ways to make next season better.

R – Reset

Reset: to move something back to its original position

You need to reset. You need to set yourself back to your original position. In other words, you need to cleanse your mind and body of all things marching band. As a director or staff member, you worked countless hours in rehearsal, meetings, contests, and other events preparing for each performance. Take advantage of the end of the season by getting away from marching band. Go camping, or to the beach. Travel to a city close by and go to dinner. See a movie….with your spouse and kids if you have them. They may not remember who you are!

In many cases, directors start talking about next year’s show and start planning as soon as the current season is done. It is mentally draining. Take a break and reset your body and main.

E – Educate

You are never too old or experienced to learn. Take time to study by meeting with design professionals. They can provide insight on how to simply instruction or assess in a more concise way. If you can learn a new way to teach, your students can perform in a new way as well.

 

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