Thread: Lazy Scores
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Old 06-21-2002, 06:56 AM   #11
Pete Walen
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: MIA
Posts: 1,223
Default Re: Lazy Scores

Ah - here's a contradiction, eh? Craig has a point - If the "skill level is not there" that can indeed limit what the corps can play. If the limit is in the lead, or who ever is writing scores for the corps, that is a slightly different question.

The answer, however, lies in pushing yourself and your corps beyond where you think you can play NOW. In grade 4 (and 5) scores that can have the daylights played out of them, without being terribly difficult, will give the sound that is expected AND will set up expectations for the future.

I know of at least one band in my broad area that is playing the same score for tunes for the last 15 years at the least. That is not the way to advance your corps.

Push the limits - get some instruction from a higher grade player. It needn't be J. Reid Maxwell or Buzz Brown - it could be the lead from the grade 3 or grade 2 band that is a few hours away.

Another thing to remember is that being a great drummer does not by definition make them a good teacher. Try and find someone who has taught with success recently.

Now then, to a couple of points made earlier.

Mike's comment on diluting the published Duthart scores - my view is, to learn to play them, you must understand what is implied in them. There are subtle nuances which may, or may not, be expressed on the printed page. If you do not understand these, then you never will make these scores "musical" - a common complaint I've heard from some people. My response is to find a teacher who DOES inderstand them - preferably one who studied under Alex who can give you the insight you need. It is one thing to swap a flam for a drag - it is another to "almost" play an accented tizz-diddle phrase that you really don't understand.

For Mike's other points -

For corps that want to advance, I see a few possibilities:
• have an experienced composer write scores for your corps
• bring him/her in to teach the corps how to play and express the scores...videos and recordings are a decent lower cost stand-by.
• have your LD take lessons from an experienced player in the fine art of writing a score
• encourage your local association to sponsor a composition workshop.
• have a mentor help you during your learning process

Spot on, Mike. Well said. (So I lifted them and copied them here!)

To Duncan's point of stagnation across the grades - I tend to agree. There are many bands in grade 3 and 2 where the corps has a set number of moves/riffs/whatever under their mitts where they can just nail them in any configuration. Many times these are the moves that the LD really likes - and so uses, naturally enough. After a while, though these moves need some freshening, no? A little extra added to them to keep them from becoming stale.

I'd suggest listening to your competition - not listening for mistakes, but listening for ideas they are trying to execute. (Nothing like stomping on your rivals by playing their own "cool move" better than they do...) Lower grade guys listen in particular to the upper grade bands. Study what they are doing. Talk to people - most of them won't bite, at least not too hard!

OK - Rant bit set off.

Good luck at Barrie, Oberlin and wherever else you might be competing this weekend.

Cheers -
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