Update for October 3

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rehearsals resume this week

After a week off, we are back for rehearsal on Saturday, October 3.  Conting this rehearsal, we only have six more rehearsals until our concert on November 22.  Things continue to go very well!  Thanks to all of our parents and band members for making such a great effort to attend these important Saturday rehearsals.

This week is also the Martin Luther Soccer Tournament in Neenah.  Thanks to the parents who let me know via email of their child missing this rehearsal.  I know it is impossible to be at two places at one time!  I do appreciate the fact that our kids are participating in all kinds of activities.  That makes for a well-rounded student!  Also thanks to some of our families who will be attending band rehearsal before heading to the tournament.  Every little bit helps!

SmartMusic - What is it?  And is it really that smart?

In a nutshell, SmartMusic is an incredibly powerful online interactive tool for practicing at home.  Mr. Kramer and I both have access to SmartMusic, and we have been using it in our lessons.  It has been fun for me and the students to use the program!  Hopefully your children have told you about it.  Not only is it fun to use - the benefits are extraordinary:

  • Choose to play along with thousands of pieces in the SmartMusic library
  • Learn how your part fits within the ensemble through accompaniment
  • SmartMusic listens as you play, giving you instant feedback on assessable files
  • Move at your own pace by controlling the tempo and clicktrack with subdivisions
  • Isolate difficult phrases of any length with the loop tool
  • Record and play back your practice sessions for self assessment
  • Send MP3 recordings to family members and friends
  • Solo repertoire accompaniment follows spontaneous tempo chnges

In addition to having the entire lesson series available in SmartMusic (the "Standard of Excellence" books we use for lessons), the program also has thousands of solos available for interactive practice and accompaniment.  Two of the songs for Concert Winds - African Spririt Dance and Fanfare - are also in the program.  During lessons, we have been using SmartMusic to work on these songs.  It gives us the ability to rehearse individual parts, with the added bonus of having the entire band playing along with us!  The assessment portion of the program is also very powerful, as it can immediately give the student feedback as to notes that were played correctly, and shows notes and rhythms that were incorrect.

Students in 7th and 8th grade will soon be getting their solos.  SmartMusic is a fantastic tool to assist in learning a solo.  Not only can the students set the accompaniment to play with them, but they can also listen to their part being played, as well as set the tempo slower or faster to accomadate their skill level.  SmartMusic can also be used the day of the solo festival to accompany their performance.

There is much more to the program than I can post in this space.  Go to the SmartMusic link to see for yourself.  On their website you will see a short demo video that shows the program in use by students, as well as other links to more information.

SmartMusic is also available to you!  Although it is not free, it is VERY inexpensive at just $40 for a one-year subscription.  It is also very simple to begin using SmartMusic.  Simply download the program to any computer, tablet, or laptop and you can start enjoying its benefits immediately.

If you would like more information about SmartMusic, please don't hesitate to contact me.

My guess is that if you purchase SmartMusic, your child will practice MUCH MORE than they currently do.  That is always a good thing!

Concert Dress for the November 22 concert

So that you have adequate time to prepare, here is a summary of what our students need to wear for our concert in November (Both Cadet Band and Concert Winds):

Ladies should wear black dress shoes, black socks or black hose, full length black pants (not faded), and a white button blouse with long sleeves. No tennis shoes, leggings, or capri style pants. Do not wear black skirts.

Gentlemen should wear black dress shoes, black socks, black belt, black pants (not faded), and a white dress shirt.

The Cadet Band members will wear a sweater vest for their performances. The vests will be handed out prior to and collected immediately following the concert.

Concert Winds members will receive a vest and bow tie before their performance.  Vests and bow ties will be handed out prior to and should be returned immediately after the concert.

Fall Fundraiser Reminder

Hopefully the sales are going well!  Many of the kids have commented at their lesson of their intention to win the 5 pound bag of gummie bears!  This is just a reminder that the order packets and money need to be turned in at the October 10th rehearsal.  If students will be missing that day for any reason, they are to bring their packets to their lesson this coming week and give them to either Mr. Kramer or Mr. Neujahr.  It is very important that we have all packets on time, so that the orders can be placed.

FVL Band and Choir concert on Sunday, October 11

The FVL Band and Choirs will present their Fall Concert on Sunday, October 11.  The concert will begin at 6:00 PM and will last approximately one and a half hours.  The concert will take place in the FVL Auditorium.  If you are wondering, the Packer game is at noon and will be completed in plenty of time to attend the concert!  It would be fantastic to see our FVL Schools Band members in the audience for this concert.  I know there are many older siblings that go to FVL and participate in band and choir, so those students may already plan to attend.  Seeing the "big band brothers and sisters" from FVL perform is a fantastic way to build excitement for our FVL Schools Band members.  In just a few short years, they will also be a part of a high school band program.  It is amazing to see the progression from Cadet Band to Concert Winds to the FVL Symphonic Band.  The FVL Symphonic Band has some exciting music programmed for this concert.  You will not be disappointed!

Upcoming FVL Schools Band rehearsal schedule

Rehearsals leading up to our November concert will be on the following Saturdays:

October 3, 10, 24
November 7, 14, 21
November 22 - Fall Concert

Our Fall Concert will begin at 6:00 PM. This concert will feature our two FVL Schools Bands - the Cadet Band (beginning students) and the Concert Winds (students with more than one year of experience).  The FVL Symphonic Band will also play a few selections at this concert.  It will be a wonderful opportunity to see the entire FVL band program, from beginners to high school!


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