It is band contest season (UIL for those of you in Texas). Here are 3 tips that can be helpful in getting all that hard work transferred from the band hall to the concert stage:
1. BE CONFIDENT. You can’t control the results, so don’t focus on them. Set the example for your band by focusing on what you do control – namely your preparation and effort. (Check out my article on this and more John Wooden ideas here.)
2. PROJECT THE SOUND. If you haven’t been already pounding this, START! Sound projection can (and should) be an integral part of all music preparation. See my article on sound projection at http://apps.texasbandmasters.org/archives/pdfs/bmr/2009-09-dean.pdf
3. PUSH DYNAMICS. At those final rehearsals: Dynamics, Dynamics, and more Dynamics!! You can even overdo it a little on this. Legendary clarinetist Daniel Bonade pointed out that there is a tendency to play “coldly” in actual performance. Overdoing it a little with dynamics and phrasing in rehearsals will help it turn out about right in the actual concert.
Remember, judges are like everybody else, they want to hear MUSIC, not just right notes. Confidently projecting beautiful dynamics will certainly make the music better.
NOTE: Photo above is Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. The photo is in public domain and can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carnegie-hall-isaac-stern.jpg.