#BandGeeks Monthly Newsletter #1: Band Camp

23 min read

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FallenUmbrella's avatar
:icontransparentplz:What do you have in mind when we say "Band Camp"? Nervous, scared? Excited? Is this your first year? Second, third, last? (:noes:) Whether this is your first time going or your last time there, band camp is always going to be that one place that isn't so easy to get through.
:icontransparentplz:We know how you feel because we've been there many times, especially when your field commander, drum major, and band director yell at you for everything. It's a pain when you don't have enough water and sunblock to survive those hot days of summer. And don't get us started about memorizing music (that dreaded parade music from hell!) and getting down all your marching skills--all in one summer.
:icontransparentplz:Before you even consider quitting, we have some advice to give you about surviving one of the most toughest places that your marching band will ever take you. It won't be bad, we promise!

Morning Marching Mystery by FramedByNature trumpeters by shinsenfreak :thumb181664189:


How to Survive Band Camp: Drum Major Edition

:icontransparentplz:Every Drum Major or Field Commander plays a vital role in keeping both the members and the staff sane during the chaos of band camp, but there are some things that every leader needs to know in order to survive camp.
:icontransparentplz:Here are my top 5 tips that I will elaborate on:
  1. Practice, practice, practice!
  2. Give respect to get respect.
  3. Sunglasses...have them and use them.
  4. Be a peace keeper!
  5. Act like you're having fun...even if you'd rather throw yourself off your podium.

Let's start with #1: Practice, practice, practice!
:icontransparentplz:I know, you've heard it a thousand times but being a drum major or field commander adds and extra specialness to practicing. You not only need to practice for yourself, but also the band! They are (hopefully) going to be staring you down and counting on you during performances. Band camp is the PERFECT time to let the band see that you are working hard with them. Many band members (especially those pesky freshies) seem to think that all we do is stand on a podium and wave our arms. Make sure that they see you practice on the field, in the gym, during lunch, anytime, anywhere. If they see you are working hard they are more likely to do the same and respect you for it.

Now onto #2: Give respect to get respect.
:icontransparentplz:Band camp is the ideal time to earn your respect in the band if you are a first year drum major or field commander. There will always be those members who will test your patience and respect limits (usually freshies). Your director will also be looking for you to be respectful and courteous. Ask them if they need help with anything, offer to carry something for them, keep your distance but always be available to do any task. You are much more likely to have a laid back and fun season if you have gained respect from your members and directors. I can promise that :)

On a less serious note...#3: Sunglasses...have them and use them.
:icontransparentplz:Sunglasses are the band gods' gift to drum majors and field commanders for more than one reason. Not only do they protect your eyes from the sun glaring off of the scorching hot, metal podiums...they also allow you to enter stealth mode. If you are wearing shades, no one can see where you are looking and you, as a leader, can pick out problem areas or people that might need your attention later. I know, it sounds like you're just creeping...and essentially, you are! But it's extremely useful! You also NEVER want your band to see you upset. If you are having an off day and are ready for a mental breakdown...put on your sunglasses and DO NOT let them see you get upset. That's the worst mistake you can make! Of course, sunglasses are also good for glaring at the freshman without being noticed ;)

:thumb260200434: Bass Clarinet '08 - 002 by AmySue2giggly4u During Mini Band Camp by XxPantherNovaXx

When things get feisty, think of #4: Be a peace keeper!
:icontransparentplz:Every band has section rivalry, the one section leader NO ONE likes, the one color guard girl who is ALWAYS in the way, but as a drum major or field commander you need to KEEP THE PEACE! Your main job during band camp is to keep your directors from going crazy and the easiest way to accomplish this is to make sure everyone is getting along. If you notice a section leader on the brink of snapping a clarinet in half, pull them aside and see if you can help the issue. Believe it or not, your interference will help a lot. Especially if it involves a freshman. If you jump in and correct the problem, you're also gaining respect as a leader.

And finally #5: Act like you're having fun...even if you'd rather throw yourself off your podium.
:icontransparentplz:Yes, I know. By the end of band camp you're ready to toss yourself off the podium and hope you hit a rock, but trust me...the more fun you have the more fun everyone will have. They are all looking up to you after all (literally!). If they see you are having a good time but working hard, they will do the same and things will run smoother which I'm sure your director will appreciate. Smile a lot, laugh a lot, and make jokes! Stand tall and proud on your podium!

[Editor's note: For more tips on leadership skills, I recommend that you look at the "Extras" section for the link titled "Lead by Example"]

Band Camp 101: BandGeeks edition

This is what you need to know about band camp in a nutshell...the BandGeeks way.

1. Water helps you keep hydrated under the sun. We are made up of about 75% of water, after all! From my experience, band camp is very long and it is usually outdoors (and usually on school campus although I've heard that it can be in the woods). Bottled water is not enough, so bring a large water jug that you can purchase at a local store.

2. Never talk back to your section leader as well as any other marching band officer. Unless if their instrument is mayonnaise.

3. You're out in the sun for almost half of the day - use that valuable time to get a really cool tan line to show off to your non-band friends (if you have any.) Do you have several pairs of the exact same socks? How about a watch, or sunglasses? Everyone will be impressed!

4.) Winds and drumline, if you don't have a hat, get one! Once you get one, wear the brim to the height you would have the brim of your uniform hat. They are just as good as sunglasses for the most part, but they also help you get used to having to get into the habit of having your head up so you can see when you have your shako, aussie, or helmet on.

5.) If you have the music available, have it memorized as thoroughly as you can before band camp. It's not just for your own sake, but the whole band's. If half of the ensemble can't play their music when it's time to, progress on the more important things is postponed for a long time.
(Further, don't ever be a leech. Learn and play out your part so other people don't have to pull your weight.)

6.) It is very important that you wear sunscreen! Trust me, my tan lines have lasted even throughout winter!

7.) Whenever you can, switch instruments with your friends while rehearsing. No one knows as long as you know how to play your friend's instrument! Your band director will be impressed!

8.) If you play a brass instrument, put your water bottles in your bell! It really works when you don't have time to run to get your water bottle during your water break. Plus, it's a cheap and ingenious way to make a mute!

9.) Get a dotbook. Dotbooks tell you your exact coordinates of your spot on the field. So if you forget or you are not sure, you can refer to your little booklet and see if you are in the right spot. For those of you new to dotbooks, all you need is a small notepad (you can use binders to put your drill sheets in, but it's a pain when you have to flip through to find the right page) and write your coordinates on the field. Make sure that you do it in order from beginning of the song to the end. Then hook it on to a lanyard or shoelace and you're all set!

10.) Important! I think that every band will tell you this, but do not lock your knees! Doing this while standing at attention for a long time may cause you to faint. Bend your knees slightly while standing. And if your band allows it, don't be afraid to move your joints a bit to get the blood flowing (i.e. bend your legs more and  then stand straight up, moving your shoulders, moving your ankles). Also, if you don't feel so well during the middle of practice or a performance, please do not think that you have to endure it! Just walk out and tell your band director or any other staff members helping out that you do not feel good and need to rest for a bit. Drink lots of water if you can. :)

11.) Referring back to #1 and #10, make sure that you have water and not soda or coffee. Heck don't even bring salt water :lol:, if there's any chance that you water has salt in it. I believe that energy drinks are fine, but don't bring anything to band camp that contains caffeine (or salt!) because they will dehydrate you.

12.) Poptarts + Soda = The ultimate part of a complete breakfast!

BandGeeks Announcements

:bulletblack: Did you know that BandGeeks has a deviantART Band and practice rooms? Not literally rooms that you get to practice in, but blogs belonging to different sections! This is how we organize members. If you do not belong to a section yet, just go to our main page and scroll down until you see "Practice Rooms". Click on your main instrument's link and comment in the blog below/note the section leader mentioned in the blog to join the section! You can also join other sections as well if you play another instrument. If you do not see your name on the list even after you commented, please let your section leader know!

:bulletwhite: Who here is up to create an online band? You know, create the music, record the different parts, put it together? We've had the idea for a few months now.

Drum Corps International 1 by chrisdelta :thumb152502451: moving music by redwoodtwig

Affiliate Announcements

:bulletblack: ThePianists is starting a new contest and this time the theme is Black and White! Submit any kind of visual art (except for stamps and icons) containing only the colors black and white. Win at most 200 points! Click here

:bulletwhite: Leading-Artists is a drawing group where you can submit drawings. It is new group and needs more members! Please take a look at their page and help support them :la:

:bulletblack: Please take a look at Matthordika's new band Avenue! From their Youtube page, their music is "hard to explain, a bit of rock and pop influences mixed together with a bit of creativity we hope". Please support Avenue by following them on Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. And don't forget to listen to their recent cover of "Kids" by MGMT.
:bulletwhite: JDWasabi is the new founder of ImaginetheMusic and needs more exposure for her group! Join this group if you love songs and like to express them through art.

:bulletblack: MusicInspired is holding an upcoming contest in August in wants people who are willing to donate prizes (and participate of course :aww:)! MusicInspired.deviantart.com/j…

:bulletwhite: Check out this group, 365DaysofMusic, a group founded a few months ago.You can submit music-inspired works based on a song and participate in contests with great prizes. What makes this group very unique is that you can suggest songs that the admins will feature for the song of the day. You should really join this group and show your support!

:bulletblack: Please look at cell-mates' results for their Anthropomorphic "Blackstar" Contest and watch them for more future contests, activities, and fanart of Celldweller and FiXT! cell-mates.deviantart.com/jour…

:bulletwhite: If you are a fan of Silent Hill, here's your chance to take part in making a fan-made Silent Hill album! More details here:silenthillcommunitytribute.tum… Any musician and artist can participate.

:bulletblack: On a more serious note, please take some time to remember ScatteredAshe's dear friend, Shawn Titus, also known as WikkedOne. Please read this journal and spread the word. We will never leave a fellow deviant forgotten!

Band Jokes of the Month

:bulletblack: Q: How many tuba players does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Five, because in the end only one will show up.

:bulletwhite: Q: How can you always pick out a trombonist's son at the playground?

A: He's the one who can't swing and doesn't know how to use the slide.

:bulletblack: Q. How do you get 2 piccolos to play in tune?
A: Shoot one.

:bulletwhite: There is a group of 6th grade flute players, and they are in a competition to who can get the highest note.
"Look guys, I can play a high A!" (Screeeeeeech!)
"Well, I can get to high B" (Screeeech!, Any glass nearby busts)
"I can play piccolo!" (Panic ensues)
"Noo! DON'T DO IT!"

:bulletblack: Q: How many bassoonists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: Only one, but they'll insist on going through about 5 bulbs before they find one that suits this particular room and situation.

:bulletwhite: Q: What do you get when you cross a trombone with a bassoon?

A: A tromboon

:bulletblack: Q: Why don't sax players like playing soprano?
A: There's no place to hide their drugs.

Some of the jokes were taken from this website

You know that you're in band for too long when...

1. Your strongest muscles are somewhere on your face.
2. You discover the 8th position on trombone.
3. When you're nervous or bored, rather than twiddling your thumbs or fidgeting, you find yourself practicing fingerings like a madman or drumming cadences on your thighs.
4. An armed guard is a girl with a flag pole, not a guy with a gun.
5. When you hear the word "band-aid," you over your shoulder for the director's assistant who sorts all the music and charges the loudspeaker battery.



:bulletblack: Best Metronome.com-- A free online metronome. You can select the type of metronome you want and customize the tempos, rhythms, and beat sounds. In addition you can embed the metronome on your website and download it for your mobile device.
:bulletwhite: 30+1 Ways To Help You Memorize Music Flawlessly

:bulletblack: Field Band 101-- Overview of the football field, marching step sizes, drill sheets and putting a dot book together.

:bulletwhite: Lead by example: How to be a leader without the title-- I think that this might be helpful to even student leaders/officers in their marching band, but this article does show to you that you don't need to be a "band captain", "section leader", "seargeant", or "lieutenant" to set an example for other members.


How it's Made - Trombones (how an S.E. Shires bass trombone is made)

Youtube broadcasters Rhett & Link tell the world, in a short rap, why we band geeks do what we do.

So whether or not these tips for band camp will actually help you (possibly in the long run!), just remember that in the end...one way or another we will all survive band camp. So you've missed that first sectional. So you didn't have time to memorize music. So you didn't drink enough water. You'll live and you'll learn, as they say. And you will only have about 4 years of band. So stop worrying about getting everything right for band camp and just live in the moment. You will never live it again.

© 2012 - 2024 FallenUmbrella
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Bandling45's avatar
Thanks! Some of these I already know, because I'm a sophomore, but it reminded me what I could remind the freshmen to do!