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What do the top bands do to be successful?


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#21 Dog885

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 04:00 PM

What makes Leander ISD so universally successful?

1. Strong administrative support.  This is a given.  Having all the instruments you need, the staff you need, the facilities you need....this comes in handy to streamlining instruction and increasing teaching effectiveness.

1. Strong elementary fine arts programs.  LISD involves their kids in music but also in theatre (which not a lot of elementary schools have) as well as after school children's choirs and other programs. And the kids aren't just singing songs...they're being taught music theory from a very young age.  By the time they go into band most kids can read a staff, subdivide rhythms and have a basic understanding of solfege.  This allows for beginner band classes to move faster which leads to...

2. Strong middle school band programs.  LISD has arguably the strongest middle school band in the country right now (Artie Henry MS), and 2 others have been Honor Band finalists in the last 5 years (Four Points and Stiles).  Most of the varsity groups at these schools are capable of reading Grade 4 literature (which is the minimum standard for a 6A top band).  When the majority of 9th graders at each High School are already playing at the minimum standard for bands made up of 11th and 12th graders, then there's no where else to go for the next 3 years but  above and beyond...and this capability is exponentially multiplied by having....

3. Visionary band directors...and lots of them.  Everyone wants to work in Leander because of how well supported their programs are, which means they're able to hire the best teachers.  And if everyone has the best teachers, someone ends up becoming the best band.

4. When the best band comes from a large district and every band has the desire to beat the best band, the best band inspires all the other bands to become even better.  As a result, everyone becomes insanely good.

I totally agree, I just feel as if one more thing needs to be added. Passion. If many members do not care, they drag the others down. Many people at my school are only in it for the social aspect, and around 80% or so of guard is Freshmen and about 80% of them quit after their first year because they use it as a stepping stone to drill team or cheer. My directors made a forum and asked what needs to be improved and I put down that we need to have a stronger middle school program when it comes to marching. I hear that some school teach their kids how to march which makes it easier for all when they get to high school to allow a more complex show. Ours does not, I felt I learned more in Freshman years than 6-8th grade combined.



#22 Bandmomx4

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 11:47 PM

I don’t want to make a new thread just for this- but wanted to share. I think this can be on topic with this thread- because the culture of the band makes a difference in having a successful band program.

The halftime magazine did an article about our band/director. I thought it was nicely done. There are those who don’t like her, but as I’ve gotten to know her and work with her and the band kids in the last few years I can see how much she cares about the kids learning life lessons and reaching their potential- for their growth and to be proud of themselves but also humble in accepting hard knocks in life.


http://www.halftimem...chool-band.html

#23 Alamo

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 01:04 AM

I don’t want to make a new thread just for this- but wanted to share. I think this can be on topic with this thread- because the culture of the band makes a difference in having a successful band program.

The halftime magazine did an article about our band/director. I thought it was nicely done. There are those who don’t like her, but as I’ve gotten to know her and work with her and the band kids in the last few years I can see how much she cares about the kids learning life lessons and reaching their potential- for their growth and to be proud of themselves but also humble in accepting hard knocks in life.


http://www.halftimem...chool-band.html



#24 Alamo

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 01:13 AM

What a great article on a very remarkable lady. And wow, I didn’t remember that The Woodlands was called last as a finalist in SA. I don’t recall not knowing there was a spot for them since I saw the show a few times - but not their prelims at SA. I think I missed the first 3-4 bands of prelims. That’s a lot of freshman that will get better and better. Great stuff to come! Thanks for sharing

#25 LeanderMomma

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 02:06 AM

I don’t want to make a new thread just for this- but wanted to share. I think this can be on topic with this thread- because the culture of the band makes a difference in having a successful band program.

The halftime magazine did an article about our band/director. I thought it was nicely done. There are those who don’t like her, but as I’ve gotten to know her and work with her and the band kids in the last few years I can see how much she cares about the kids learning life lessons and reaching their potential- for their growth and to be proud of themselves but also humble in accepting hard knocks in life.


http://www.halftimem...chool-band.html


Great article! Impressive lady.
Each day is a gift. That’s why it’s called “the present.”

#26 principalagent

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 02:53 AM

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I found the point about GPAs and class ranks to be really interesting. That pressure was definitely present when I was in high school, but I fought through it because I knew band was worth it for me. Now that I do alumni interviewing for my "Very Prestigious Private School"TM, the candidates that I find most interesting and have the most success in elite admissions are quite often in athletics or band or dance or other classes that prevent them from doing an AP course instead. And at the end of the day, dropping band my junior and senior year probably would have saved me just a rank or two when I graduated--not nearly big enough a difference compared to what people consider. And people really, really do respect the work to takes it be in band--especially if they know how competitive band is in Texas suburban schools. Additionally, those time management skills came in handy in undergrad and now in grad school.

 

Basically - STAY IN BAND.



#27 TWHSParent

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 08:38 AM

What a great article on a very remarkable lady. And wow, I didn’t remember that The Woodlands was called last as a finalist in SA. I don’t recall not knowing there was a spot for them since I saw the show a few times - but not their prelims at SA. I think I missed the first 3-4 bands of prelims. That’s a lot of freshman that will get better and better. Great stuff to come! Thanks for sharing

 

The band boosters posted a video of the announcement as the last finalist:

https://www.facebook...57120401090633/



#28 LeanderMomma

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 12:06 PM

The band boosters posted a video of the announcement as the last finalist:
https://www.facebook...57120401090633/


That stressed me out watching it just now and I knew how it ends! :D
Each day is a gift. That’s why it’s called “the present.”

#29 Visitor2020

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 05:58 PM

That stressed me out watching it just now and I knew how it ends! :D

Texas bands are hard core :)



#30 takigan

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 02:50 AM

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Something I was thinking about recently that I didn't feel quite deserved its own thread but couldn't find anywhere else to put it.  Everyone knows that while Texas has the best marching bands, you can still make a good case for states like Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, Ohio, California and especially Indiana.   But if we're talking concert band, Texas is pretty far and away the winner.  I think many people knew that too.  Texas has had roughly 40 HS bands invited to the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic since 2000.  This is almost 3 times as many as the second most invited state (Florida: 14).

But I wanted to point out one more thing.  Middle school.  Even though Texas has had the most HS bands invited to Midwest by a solid margin, more Texas middle schools have been invited to Midwest than the other 49 states COMBINED. There are plenty of HS varsity bands out there that tackle college/professional literature.  Some of them probably shouldn't. Very few bands outside of Texas can actually make it sound like a college/professional band is playing it.  But I would say only in Texas will you occasionally see middle school bands tackle the same level of literature and actually make it sound like a HS band. It's a unique enough phenomenon that some of the videos posted to Youtube by some of the top groups will occasionally get people claiming the video is fake because "there's no way middle school kids could do that".

I would say the success of TX HS marching groups (especially musically) has a lot to do with the time and energy we invest into middle school band. I think a lot of the HS bands outside of Texas have to rehearse more as a way to play catch-up and even the playing field.

And I think I've said before that it was the Texas bands that inspired the Midwest to step-up their music game, while it was the Midwest that inspired Texas bands to learn how to march.


Brandon Quam - TxB Staff Writer




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