Now that you have evaluated your program and created goals for the year ahead it is time to put you plan into action. Most of us spend the summer months training our teams and doing lots of technique before we start learning our marching band show for the new season.
If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves getting into a rut by repeating the same exercises and methods without ever evolving. Instead of doing what you know has worked in the past or doing what you were taught by YOUR instructors, I urge you to ask yourself some questions.
- What are the strengths of my team?
- What are the weaknesses of my team?
- What are some of the things we struggled with when learning the show last year?
- What are the strengths of our main competitors?
- YES, I think it is super smart to evaluate your competitors too!
Technique Time! We all know that technique can be a subject that gets very mixed reviews by both performers and staff. You usually love it or hate it.
Two negative things that people usually say about technique:
- Technique is boring (both students and staff can say this)
- There is not enough time in the day to do technique once we start learning the show
I LOVE technique time; I think it’s where we lay the foundation for the entire year ahead. If our technique program is strong, I know that we are going to have a great year ahead.
I like to hype my students on the fact that technique is like a gorgeous house you want to live in. Most people want a cute house with all the cool features, furnishings, and decorations. But unless that house has a strong foundation underneath it, it will all come crumbling down to the ground at some point.
Much like teams who skip steps and don’t develop their technique program but try to do all the tricks, difficult choreography, and advanced show design. Without great technique, none of that will come through to its full potential.
BUILD YOUR FOUNDATION METICULOUSLY!
It’s important that you have a plan and a progression in how your technique program develops through the course of an entire year. Make sure you are challenging both your brand-new members and your top performers. Be strategic.
Top 5 Ways to make your technique program count:
- Create exercises to fix your weaknesses. Make sure your exercises are solution based.
- Don’t just copy exercises you were taught, or you see others do, make sure there is a reason for each exercise that you do with your team.
- Kill two birds with one stone--- USE YOUR BODY! There is usually not enough time in the day to get everything done at rehearsal. If you train hands and body simultaneously your students will learn how to meld the two together as well as helping you save time.
- Use music as much as possible. It will layer on more responsibilities to your performers: moving to music, counting music, understanding tempo, etc… and it can be way more fun than moving to clapping hands or a metronome.
- Challenge every member!! If your seniors are stuck learning drop spins for the first month of training time, they will get bored. Have them work on more advanced skills (like spinning and adding lower body coordination) at the same time the younger members are learning the basics. This is where planning and strategy come together.
Rosie Queen is a color guard lifer and creative writer who currently resides in Huntington Beach, CA. Rosie has been blessed to be deeply involved in the marching arts since 1983. Rosie is obsessed with her dogs, color guard/marching band, national parks, and traveling.