Friday Sid Pang, Ross Matlin and Mr. Falzarano visited Carmel High School, one of the most successful competitive marching band programs in the country. For about 2 hours they visited the facilities, Marching Band director and some of their student leaders. Some numbers jump out immediately …
1. Carmel's Marching band has about 280 students (none are required to participate).
2. The total band program has about 550 students. – 6 concert bands, 4 full jazz bands
3. 4 full time directors – over 20 support staff (The directors combined have spent over 45 years at the school.)
4. The school is 9-12 and about 5,500 students.
5. They rehearse about 300 hours a season. 15-20 hours a week during school. (We usually have about 100 hours a season.)
When asked 3 words that sum up their band, the Carmel Band leaders came up with family, motivation, and commitment. First they referenced their biological families that work together to support the program through various fundraisers and events. They then discussed the band family that is created due to the extensive time spent together. Specifically they mentioned relationships being closer within sections compared to outside sections. This contrasts our efforts to more evenly balance section bonding with total band closeness. Through their eyes motivation and commitment are similar, both dealing with the willingness to invest time, energy and money into the activity. Their marching band attracts a certain type of student that is motivated and committed to their specific set of experiences. The most interesting concept discussed was that while the activity is highly competitive, they NEVER mention wanting to beat a certain school or get a particular score (extrinsic motivation). Their complete focus from the top down is continual development of the best performance possible at that given time (intrinsic motivation). Individuals work to improve their individual and collective shows over the season. Sid and Ross found the discussion valuable to hear first hand from students in the program.
When it was our turn to describe our program in 3 words, we shared the values of family, spirit and individual / context. Our band finds value in the ohana developed from the time spent together. While we do not spend anywhere close to the number of hours in rehearsal, our students live geographically across the island and our experience encourages social and emotional development. Throughout the academy, it is the largest activity where freshmen to senior students can develop lifelong friendships. Developing spirit in the school and especially at football games is a huge part of our experience. Working with the cheerleaders in response to the football team, the band works to create the sound track for the entire stadium making the time spent at games more fun for all involved. This aspect of the Punahou experience is mostly absent from the Carmel football game experience. Their band plays the school song for touchdowns, but not much else in the stands. Their focus is on the halftime show. Our third concept is the importance of the individual experience and understanding how they fit into larger contexts. Students work to understand fitting into the larger band, school experience and how our marching band fits into Oahu's larger marching band culture. Our students are involved in a greater number and variety of activities then Carmel. The numerous individual conflicts create a varied experience that becomes layered among various activities. It also encourages students to develop focused rehearsals through self-improvement.
It seems to Mr. Falzarano that while highly competitive marching bands are a very small minority of the total number, they greatly influence the larger marching band narrative. He wonders how different band experiences can be shared and valued. Maybe success should be measured differently? How does Punahou measure success? How should we measure success?
· Rehearsal efficiency?
· Total student satisfaction surveys or band enrollment?
· Frequency of large parades?
· School spirit?
While measuring these might not be easy, could student satisfaction and value increase with their consideration?
It was a great first day. Saturday we started the Student Leadership weekend experience followed by a week of the Drum Major, Drum Line and director tracks for Sid, Ross and Mr. Falzarano.
· Drum line and color guard have optional rehearsals on June 27.
· Next music rehearsal is June 30
· Next uniform fitting is July 11 – please fill out the link if you have not yet done so. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1T5N5RvQFFu8B5VM1ku4YYCGaj4m-s7hig8gPeSgriyI/viewform?usp=send_form
The picture below was where Carmel stores most of the concert percussion and mallet instruments. They have about 10 marimbas at the school. Amazing!
The other picture was of about 400 students at the leadership weekend opening session.