Since tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2012 TMEA (Texas Music Educator’s Association) Convention, and we’ll be reuniting with our band director friends from around the state, I thought I’d dust off this ol’ blog…enjoy!!  🙂

I’ve attended just about every Texas State Marching Band Competition since Clay and I’ve been together (so, let me tell you, after 13 years, I’ve become a pretty accurate judge – haha!)

Here are some “Jenni Rules” for having a super-impressive marching band.

Note–these rules won’t assure you a First Division, but they will sure make your show my favorite… And that, in itself, is quite a feat. 😉

A  State Marching Band Should:
Play songs I can hum.

March really fast for about 30 seconds, follow-the-leader style, around in a block…the faster the better.

Incorporate a company front (you’ll get a lot of “Jenni points” for that one)

Have the drum major reach behind his head and pull his baton out from the collar of his coat (like magic!)

Have a *short* but impressive “do-chaca-do-chaca” drum feature –oooh–with a rack of cymbals pulled out for the occasion.

Pick one of the following choreography for the show (ONLY ONE): bend, kneel, reach, hold out your arm, draw your knee up (flamingo style), snap, lean, cock your head on the last beat.

If all of the sudden, I look up, and your band is wearing different colored pants than they had on before (perhaps after marching through a tunnel), you’ll get tons of “Jenni Points” and AMAZE EVERYONE.

Have fast passthroughs — just like #1–the faster the better.

Have your soloist stand up front – not march in the middle like the worker bees.

Once during the show (*i’d suggest the ballad*), have a big swell, where you raise the bells to the Press Box.

Be creative. I saw a band once who had half of their members wear the white pants (i assume they were the best marchers or the least messy) and half the band wear the black pants…and they incorporated it into the show and it was awesome.

Be original…that way, whenever someone takes your show idea, people will say (mark my words) “well, it wasn’t as good as when blahblah band did it back in blahblah year” If you don’t believe me, listen to the snobby band directors (or the tenured band boosters) next time you see a Phantom of the Opera show.

A State Marching Band Should NOT:
Just stand there. It’s ok for a little while, but don’t think i don’t know what you’re doing. If the music is too hard to march to, pick another show.

Sing.  Bands should not hum or whistle, and they should not sing.

Have a piccolo solo – unless you march military style (elevator, elevator, typewriter, typewriter)

Make the tuba players climb up onto a platform…or the drumline. it just makes me nervous.

Play Malaguena,  Copland, or Carmen.. There are plenty of other songs–Be aware that if you play these, you’ll hear spontaneous Madison Scouts and Santa Clara Vanguard references muttered jadedly from up in the stands.

Use big floppy props–that’s just a disaster waiting to happen, and it makes me nervous.

Have narration. UIL does not provide adequate PA systems, and I will not understand what you’re saying.  This frustrates me.

If you choose to pick a random, senseless theme (“The Brain,” for example), be mindful that I will mock you for years to come.

Have twirlers (apologies to my grandmother). Ok. Here are my thoughts on twirlers:  If the twirler is good, nobody watches the band. If the twirler is bad…., nobody watches the band

Do any of the “should’s” poorly. that’s an automatic “should not”

Hope my comments were helpful.   :))

Can’t wait to see you guys this weekend!!