• Concert Etiquette Tips

    Posted by Thomas Bonomo on 11/21/2018 12:00:00 PM

    Introduction

    Winter Concert season is quickly approaching! It is an exciting time for students and their families. The students have been working very hard and are eager to show the community a quality performance. Winter Concerts also help the community get into the "holiday spirit." In order for Grice's upcoming Winter Band Concert to be a success, both the performers and the audience should follow concert etiquette. 

    What Is Concert Etiquette? 

    Concert Etiquette refers to a set of norms observed by performers and the audience when a concert is taking place. It should be noted that proper concert etiquette may change depending on the genre of music or atmosphere of a particular concert venue. For example, the audience is free to have refreshments, cheer, and sing along during rock concerts. However, this type of behavior is not ideal for a school concert.

    How Should Student Performers Behave In A School Concert?

    Students should arrive at the designated call time (5:30 for concert 1 and 7:00 for concert 2) and quietly warm-up their instruments until the tuning process begins. Warm-up time is not time to fool around. Performers should remain focused and pay close attention to all directions. 

    Once students leave the warm-up area, the performance has begun! It is time to wow the audience with musical talent. In order for the audience to be able to focus exclusively on the music, musicians should be professional on stage. It is up to the performers to model for the audience what kind of behavior is expected. If the audience sees band members talking in the middle of a piece, they may think it is okay to do so. Electronic devices, food, and drinks should be kept away from the stage. When listening to another group play, be courteous and supportive- do not talk or laugh during another performance. Nobody deserves to feel ashamed during a performance! If everybody on stage behaves professionally and focuses, the audience will have a great time listening to some awesome music!

    How Should Audience Members Behave In A School Concert? 

    The student performers have worked hard and deserve the audience's undivided attention during the performance. Here are some tips for audience members:

    1. Please refrain from talking during the concert, including whispering! Performing for an audience requires concentration and noise from the audience can be distracting. 

    2. Please do not sing along unless instructed to do so.

    3. Please do not eat or drink during the performance. 

    4. Please do not use electronic devices. Cell phones and tablets have become an incredibly important part of all of our lives, but they can distract audiences from paying attention to the performance. 

    5. Please have an open mind! Some of the music may be familiar and some may be unusual. The performers deserve respect and attention, regardless of the audience's opinion of a certain piece of music. 

    6. Please do not enter/exit the auditorium during a piece of music. It can be distracting and disheartening for student performers to see audience members walking around during the middle of a performance. 

    Closing

    Mr. Wilmot and I look forward to seeing students and families at the upcoming Winter Concert on Thursday, December 13th. If all performers and audience members follow these concert etiquette tips, it will definitely be a memorable evening. 

    Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

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  • The art of practicing

    Posted by Thomas Bonomo on 9/28/2018 11:20:00 AM

    Parents: It was wonderful to see many of you at our New Band Parent Meeting and at our Back to School Night. It is great to see that you are as excited about your students' music education as we are. Mr. Wilmot and I will do our part to ensure that your students develop into quality musicians. In order for your student musicians to stay on track with their musical development, we also encourage your students to take home their instruments and practice. 

    Students: Mr. Wilmot and I recommend that you set aside some time for daily practice. I realize that we are always so busy and that musical practice can easily take a back seat to homework, sports, activities, and other commitments. However, if you get in the habit of scheduling a small block of time at the same time every day, you will find it much easier to practice. Since playing an instrument requires fine motor skills, it is more productive to practice a little bit everyday than to practice longer times for fewer days. 

     

    Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your practice time:

    1. Pick a quiet, well lit practice area away from distractions. 

    2. Identify the time and key signatures of the selection you are practicing. Not following the key signature (seeing what notes remain sharp or flat throughout the piece) is the #1 mistake musicians make when reading a piece of music. 

    3. Identify notes (especially accidentals), phrasing (breathing), and expression marks (dynamics and articulation) in the music. 

    4. Practice counting and clapping rhythms out loud first before playing them. 

    5. Practice moving your fingers on the instrument in rhythm while saying the note names out loud. 

    6. Isolate difficult technical passages and practice those small sections first before taking on larger phrases or the whole song/exercise. Spend more time with the parts that you are struggling with than the parts you already can play well! If you are having difficulty with a technical passage (a lot of notes in a row), change around the rhythms so that your fingers get used to playing the particular note combination you are practicing. 

    7. Practice slowly first to be very accurate before increasing the speed. Practicing with a metronome (Metronome Online) is a great way to ensure rhythmic accuracy.

    Here is an example of a 15 minute practice routine: 

    (PLEASE NOTE: Setting up your instrument does not count towards practice time)

    • 0-5 minutes: Warm up with scale exercises, long tones, or a piece/exercise that you know very well (try to avoid anything too fast or too high to start with). 
    • 5-12 minutes: Select and isolate hard technical passages. Start by counting the rhythms out loud while fingering through the passages, practice fingering along while saying the note names out loud, and then play it all on your instrument. 
    • 12-15 minutes: Practice isolated passages/songs/exercises and try to perform them 3 times in a row perfectly. Practice makes permanent, so strive for successful repetitions!

    With a little time devoted on a daily basis, even the hardest technical passages can be mastered. I wish you the best of luck in your practicing journey-please let me know if you have any questions at all about efficient practice habits. Have fun practicing! 

     

     

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  • Welcome to a new school year!

    Posted by Thomas Bonomo on 8/24/2018

    Dear Band Students, 

    I hope that everybody has been enjoying their summer, and that it is has proven to be as relaxing and refreshing as you all hoped it would be. I am extremely excited to be starting my second year at Grice and eighth year of teaching music! Last year was the most enjoyable year of my teaching career so far, and I have no doubt that this year will be even better. 

    Mr. Wilmot and I look forward to welcoming you all back and creating some great music together. In addition to our Day 1, Day 2, and 8th Grade Band classes, we are excited about a new year of Jazz Ensemble and our second year of Wind Ensemble. We are also planning on starting an Improvisation Club. We hope that many of you will consider joining the Improvisation Club, and we know that it will help you grow as musicians. 

    I know how overwhelming the beginning of the school year can be, so please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you during this busy time. See you all on September 5th! 

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