By Jeff Young, Director of Camps, Music for All
How your students’ summer camp experience can have a positive impact throughout your band
Do you remember anything about diffusion from your high school biology or chemistry classes? (Shout out to all the great high school science teachers out there!) Diffusion is when something spreads out from an area of high concentration to an area of lower concentration – like what happens when you place a drop of food coloring in a glass of water.
The Music for All Summer Symposium presented by Yamaha is like diffusion in that when a student attends the Symposium there is a very high concentration of other students who value hard work, excellence, positivity, and are fired up to learn. When those students return home, those traits diffuse out into the rest of their own bands, color guards, and friend groups. This fall I had the opportunity to observe and help with some rehearsals of the Indianapolis Public Schools All-City Marching Band. When I walked up to one of their practices it was immediately obvious which students attended the Summer Symposium! They had the best posture, they marched the best, and most-importantly they were clearly being the leaders of their individual sections. Other students were clearly looking to them to determine what the ultimate standard should look and sound like.
At the DMI (Drum Major Institute), students learn so much more than how to conduct a piece of music. They learn how to better communicate with their peers and adults. They learn how to be better teachers, so they can help with sectionals at home. They learn how to lead by example and serve. These skills will permeate out to the students in their own bands, creating a richer experience for everyone.
In the Marching Band Division, students will learn fundamentals of marching and body movement from some of the best teachers in the country and they get to perform with the world-class drum corps, Carolina Crown. But what they learn that is most important is why they are taught various skills and how to sequence that teaching into system that works for any program. They will feel so much more confident helping their fellow students to improve visually. Additionally, marching band students learn instrument-specific fundamentals and music ensemble skills and why each is important. That knowledge of how and why will diffuse into their sections and ensembles at home.
Students who attend the Color Guard Division will noticeably improve individual skills in both body movement/dance and equipment skills, such as flag, rifle, and sabre. When they go back to their home programs they can share the positively life-changing experiences that they’ve had at camp, but they can also show off their new skills and improved fundamentals. This is bound to make the other guard members around them better and the ensemble as a whole. Skills learned at camp not only transfer to the fall color guard, but also to winter guard as well!
The marching percussion division at the Summer Symposium offers students of all ability levels an opportunity to increase their achievement level in playing the snare drum, tenor drum (quads), or bass drum. They learn sticking techniques, dynamics, and body movement/marching. Students prepare a performance piece that is seen and heard by the audience at the DCI show, too, but what is most important are the ensemble skills they learn. This is what can really diffuse from that single percussionist to the rest of his or her section at home.
Another exciting division of the Summer Symposium is the Music Production Bootcamp. This division features a state-of-the-art facility and cutting edge hardware and software. Many students who attend this division are not members of their high school bands, but rather are interested in video game sound design, music production, studio mixing and placement of microphones. Imagine how impactful it could be for that student to leave camp and teach his or her friends at school on the topics learned at camp.
DIRECTOR AND STAFF DIVISIONS
The Director Academy at the Summer Symposium is a great place for adults to get professional development during the summer. It is the only place where high school band directors, middle school band directors, guard instructors, percussion specialists, marching andmovement instructors, and college music majors can get together and learn collaboratively. Under the leadership of Nola Jones, the Director Academy will measurably impact entire school districts of music students through attendance by even a handful of district Music educators! Some school districts send entire staffs, others encourage directors and staff to all attend, but one each year. Either way, this should be something that all school administrators encourage and promote! The ripple effects are truly staggering!
If you are a parent, student, or director/staff member interested in starting a ripple of positivity and excellence in your band program please visit camp.musicforall.org!
Jeff Young is Director of Camps for Music for All.