How To Clean An Ensemble

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aleye92 Offline
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How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:37 pm



What are some good ways to teach the entire ensemble how to play together? I know that sounds like a ridiculous question but I'm interested to hear the many approaches people out there take on teaching cleanliness and uniformity.


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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:00 am



IMO, its all about the people, you need a certain chemistry of people that go good together, and WANT to make music together. If you just have a Jumble of random people that are just there for the hell of it, and are unmotivated; well, there's just no magic.

And of course, there are instructors techniques like breaking measures down, and having one on one time, But if an individual doesn't practice by himself, there isn't much an instructor can do, No matter the skill set.
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schorsquatch Offline
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:30 pm



Use a warm water and soap solution. Soak for 5 minutes, then rinse with cool water and blot dry with a clean rag.

Seriously, chemistry matters a lot (like Percussion Chops said) because when the team is working well then the players are on each other to improve. The tick doesn't have to hear about it from the instructor, because he/she hears about it from the other players.

Beneath all of this, you are not necessarily trying to clean the line. You are REALLY trying to build better listening skills. As the listening improves, there will be less tolerance for poor musicianship, and the players will strive to become clean.

I think it important to use whatever tool is available to drive the listening point home. For me, I have to put a lot of emphasis on getting each section to listen to the others, because no matter how good a particular section is, their listening skills tend to be insulated. I have used audio/video review, issued full scores, switched players to different instruments (temporarily, just to change the listening situation) and had selected players play the parts individually to try to communicate the intent and importance of playing clean as a group. What worked yesterday might not work today, so its always a bit of trial and error.
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:20 pm



adding to the two posts above, the whole group has to have the same kind of physical hand technique. All of the motivation and listening in the world won't matter if people are holding and manipulating the sticks different. The quickest way to do this is to define your own technique, and then teach that to the group. There are many different "styles" of technique - especially if you ask different members of this board - and none of them are technically "wrong", but some are easier to teach than others. Some are variations on a theme etc. Some work better with a younger group.

I personally use a combination of 90's era wrist motivated front fulcrum technque seasoned with the flow of '04 SCV...was that Gussek or Renick? Don't remember. I have figured out the mechanics of how I move, and then taught them to all of my kids.

This then will allow the listening exercises to bring things together, and the line will sound better adding to the motivation...
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:14 pm



^^^That as well, Bravo! It was on the tip of my tongue, but couldn't put it into words... Couldn't have said it any better!
"If You're Not Having Fun, Then You're Doing it Wrong" -Scott Johnson

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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:00 pm



Yes, definitely the technique thing! Make sure everyone in the ensemble has the same technique. This is for battery and front ensemble.


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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:07 pm



In terms of ensemble cohesiveness, one of the most important things for each member is for them to know where to listen for time, and when. Sure, there's always the whole "listen back" thing, but different times of the show in different stagings are going to call for different listening responsibilities. If the bass drums are driving the tempo in a certain section, make sure the pit knows to listen for the bass drums at this section. If the quads play a lick on the side 2 25 yard line on the front hash, and the snares come in right after that on the side 1 35, back hash, first kill your drill writer, then make sure you communicate to the snares that they obviously can't take time from the quads. The more clear each member's responsibilities are, the easier it is for them to do their jobs successfully.


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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:38 am



We'll typically mark listening responsibilities in to the music as we get the drill. That way, the kids can get a visual reminder of where their ears need to be focused before they come in and as they are playing. This makes it especially helpful if their listening responsibility changes WHILE they are playing.

I also mark into their parts what specific wind part their part was based upon. Are the marimbas following the basic structure of the trumpets, etc. Helps them know a bit more about how their parts tie in to the show as a whole. And, since I'm notorious for bouncing that around the band quite a bit, it keeps my head square. :)
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:35 am



awakentosleep wrote:...If the quads play a lick on the side 2 25 yard line on the front hash, and the snares come in right after that on the side 1 35, back hash, first kill your drill writer, then make sure you communicate to the snares that they obviously can't take time from the quads....
once again, I spit pop al over the computer screen...no wonder this computer doesn't work right
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:19 pm



Some good things here. I like to use an exercise I got from my high school tech: eighth note add in.

The center snare or section leader starts playing eighths on the right hand, full extension, nice and relaxed, and the left hand is relaxed at the side. After a bit, you or the band director or whoever is in charge points to the next person and they start at three inches, playing unison with the first player, and build up in height until they too, reach fulle extension in unison. Then, you repeat this process with the other players, and they do the same thing. You can add all of the snares in first, then the tenors, then basses, or add players randomly in across the section, or start from the right and go to the left, or really anything you want to do. You can also try setting an order and having the kids come in when they think the time is right and everything is clean. It may take five minutes, or it may take thirty seconds for the next player to think everyone is together before coming in.

Also, try off the left. Try different formations, like different shapes or forms you make in the field show, or use your parade set up.

Do the same with all of your warm ups: rolls, double beat, accent tap, etc. This will do wonders. And always experiment with forms and how you set your line up in a rehearsal. Don't be afraid to change it. I think this will help out a lot, personally.
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:29 pm



NGPercussion wrote:Some good things here. I like to use an exercise I got from my high school tech: eighth note add in.

The center snare or section leader starts playing eighths on the right hand, full extension, nice and relaxed, and the left hand is relaxed at the side. After a bit, you or the band director or whoever is in charge points to the next person and they start at three inches, playing unison with the first player, and build up in height until they too, reach fulle extension in unison. Then, you repeat this process with the other players, and they do the same thing. You can add all of the snares in first, then the tenors, then basses, or add players randomly in across the section, or start from the right and go to the left, or really anything you want to do. You can also try setting an order and having the kids come in when they think the time is right and everything is clean. It may take five minutes, or it may take thirty seconds for the next player to think everyone is together before coming in.

Also, try off the left. Try different formations, like different shapes or forms you make in the field show, or use your parade set up.

Do the same with all of your warm ups: rolls, double beat, accent tap, etc. This will do wonders. And always experiment with forms and how you set your line up in a rehearsal. Don't be afraid to change it. I think this will help out a lot, personally.
we do the same thing, and also as the yget better, center will purposefuly push or pull the tempo, and alter dynamics to see if everyone os listening where they should.

Later on in the season, we will also do it on the field in any tricky drill forms, and then put show music to it
Iv'e got sXe!!!!
NAATD!!!!
Up the Antix!!!!

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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:06 pm



Yes, I forgot about typing the fluctuating tempi and dynamics part. It really is one of the most helpful tools I've used.
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:12 pm



I'm not sure exactly what the OP means when he says ensemble, but when I'm cleaning a battery we spend a lot of time in integrated arcs. If you separate guys from the rest of their instrumental sections, it forces them to evaluate what they are doing as an individual and really listen to the rest of the ensemble. All of a sudden they have a heightened awareness of how they fit in. It also gives me the added advantage of being able to pick out individuals more easily. If three tenors are all of a sudden separated by 20 feet of space, its easy to pick out a tenor that is out of balance on the right hand side of the ensemble. It can be unnerving for younger ensembles, because they are more individually exposed, but if you have a group that can handle it, its a really useful tool. I actually just spent about 3 hours working on fundamentals with the upper battery I work with in this setting just today. Vanguard in the early 2000s used to mix up the upper battery all the time, and it resulted in a really advanced ensemble sound.

Another tool that is a time honored tradition is tracking. Nothing like a little repetition and foot reinforcement to clean the notes.


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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:07 pm



joe356 wrote:I'm not sure exactly what the OP means when he says ensemble, but when I'm cleaning a battery we spend a lot of time in integrated arcs. If you separate guys from the rest of their instrumental sections, it forces them to evaluate what they are doing as an individual and really listen to the rest of the ensemble. All of a sudden they have a heightened awareness of how they fit in. It also gives me the added advantage of being able to pick out individuals more easily. If three tenors are all of a sudden separated by 20 feet of space, its easy to pick out a tenor that is out of balance on the right hand side of the ensemble. It can be unnerving for younger ensembles, because they are more individually exposed, but if you have a group that can handle it, its a really useful tool. I actually just spent about 3 hours working on fundamentals with the upper battery I work with in this setting just today. Vanguard in the early 2000s used to mix up the upper battery all the time, and it resulted in a really advanced ensemble sound.

Another tool that is a time honored tradition is tracking. Nothing like a little repetition and foot reinforcement to clean the notes.
ah yes...good ol tracking. I use this after hands are decent standing still...
Iv'e got sXe!!!!
NAATD!!!!
Up the Antix!!!!

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Its' All about the Parking Lot - Watterson Drumline
www.bishopwattersondrumline.webs.com
OSUMB Tenor tech
Pearl
Zildjian
Innovative Percussion
Remo/Evans


joe356 Offline
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:12 pm



sxetnrdrmr wrote:
joe356 wrote:I'm not sure exactly what the OP means when he says ensemble, but when I'm cleaning a battery we spend a lot of time in integrated arcs. If you separate guys from the rest of their instrumental sections, it forces them to evaluate what they are doing as an individual and really listen to the rest of the ensemble. All of a sudden they have a heightened awareness of how they fit in. It also gives me the added advantage of being able to pick out individuals more easily. If three tenors are all of a sudden separated by 20 feet of space, its easy to pick out a tenor that is out of balance on the right hand side of the ensemble. It can be unnerving for younger ensembles, because they are more individually exposed, but if you have a group that can handle it, its a really useful tool. I actually just spent about 3 hours working on fundamentals with the upper battery I work with in this setting just today. Vanguard in the early 2000s used to mix up the upper battery all the time, and it resulted in a really advanced ensemble sound.

Another tool that is a time honored tradition is tracking. Nothing like a little repetition and foot reinforcement to clean the notes.
ah yes...good ol tracking. I use this after hands are decent standing still...
Yeah. I find myself getting out of the stand still arc a lot more than I used to these days. We track just about everything so that they can get used to the constant motivation of the feet. The movement is repetitive enough that they can still focus on the hands.


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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:02 pm



joe356 wrote:
sxetnrdrmr wrote:
joe356 wrote:I'm not sure exactly what the OP means when he says ensemble, but when I'm cleaning a battery we spend a lot of time in integrated arcs. If you separate guys from the rest of their instrumental sections, it forces them to evaluate what they are doing as an individual and really listen to the rest of the ensemble. All of a sudden they have a heightened awareness of how they fit in. It also gives me the added advantage of being able to pick out individuals more easily. If three tenors are all of a sudden separated by 20 feet of space, its easy to pick out a tenor that is out of balance on the right hand side of the ensemble. It can be unnerving for younger ensembles, because they are more individually exposed, but if you have a group that can handle it, its a really useful tool. I actually just spent about 3 hours working on fundamentals with the upper battery I work with in this setting just today. Vanguard in the early 2000s used to mix up the upper battery all the time, and it resulted in a really advanced ensemble sound.

Another tool that is a time honored tradition is tracking. Nothing like a little repetition and foot reinforcement to clean the notes.
ah yes...good ol tracking. I use this after hands are decent standing still...
Yeah. I find myself getting out of the stand still arc a lot more than I used to these days. We track just about everything so that they can get used to the constant motivation of the feet. The movement is repetitive enough that they can still focus on the hands.

...AND, going off of what you also mentioned about breaking up the warm-up forms, once we know drill sets, I will sometimes rehearse in the drill form of parts of the show that give up problems. we tend to be in some bizzare curvilinear forms alot, with the basses in front of the snares, or the tenors and snares split by the basses (???). This creates many bizzare listening environments.

We will also track the form sometimes too
Iv'e got sXe!!!!
NAATD!!!!
Up the Antix!!!!

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Its' All about the Parking Lot - Watterson Drumline
www.bishopwattersondrumline.webs.com
OSUMB Tenor tech
Pearl
Zildjian
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Re: How To Clean An Ensemble

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:13 pm



Wonderful things in this thread.
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