Marching Music

Music Technology: A Realist’s Approach
March 28, 2007, 5:18 pm
Filed under: assignments

I completely agree with Mr. Owen Bradley’s article on the use of music technology in the classroom.

It is often said that the use of technology will eventually make musicians obsolete.  Of course, we (music educators) do not want that to happen.  It would put us out of a job and, worse, take away our beloved hobby. 

What can we do about it?  We, as music teachers, can do quite a few things to help:
1.  Foster a love of music in our students.  As long as there are musicians, there will be music (instrumental, choral, orchestral, etc.)  Music is something that can stay with you for a lifetime, so the best thing for us to do with regards to keeping it around is to become music educators.
2.  As Mr. Bradley said, we should only use technology to enhance/aid in our teaching.  For example, in the piano lab at my school, we have pianos hooked up to computers and headphones.  They are not used to eliminate the students’ need for practicing, but rather to give them a place to do it without disturbing others.  By the same token, a piano student also needs to be able to perform confidently in public.  It does no good to be capable of playing a piece if you are too shy to perform it in public.
3.  Set goals for students (or yourself) before you start using the technology.  Everything that you accomplish using technology should be able to be accomplished without it when all is said and done. 

I’m sure that there are more.  Feel free to comment if you would like to add to the list!


(image from


Copyright, Video and Ensembles
March 19, 2007, 8:19 pm
Filed under: assignments


Are ensembles allowed to film themselves and freely distribute the video to those within the ensemble either “for cost” or at “no cost”?

That is a really good question!  Before researching this topic, it was my understanding that recording yourself or your group as you performed someone else’s work was perfectly legal as long as  (                         you made no profit from the performance. 

According to the MENC site’s “copyright FAQ” section,
A single copy of a videotaped performance of your ensemble can be made to keep on file for reference or review. If you want to make multiple copies and distribute them, either with or without charge, you will need permission of the copyright owners for each piece of music performed on the videotape. You will also need permission from parents to have their children videotaped.

That seems a little bit extreme to me.  I was video taped in performances/concerts as a child countless times without my parents permission.  I suppose that this particular addition to the response is to cover that 1 in a million chance that a parent would be upset about such a silly thing.  My response: if you don’t want your kid to be seen performing, then don’t allow him/her to be in a performance group in the first place.

I’ve gotten off of the real subject.  Sorry.

In short, no, you cannot film a concert of someone else’s music and distribute it without permission from the publisher. 

Is it ethical?  I say yes.  Is it legal?  No.  That’s a topic for another post altogether.

some helpful links:

What is the difference between marching band and drum corps?
March 19, 2007, 7:00 pm
Filed under: assignments

There are many differences between the modern drum corps and the modern marching band, the main one being available time these ensemble have to work with.  A drum and bugle corps may work up to 14 hours a day, every day on a show, whereas the average marching band is lucky to have 14 hours in an entire week to work on their show.  Consequently, a drum and bugle corps can accomplish much more difficult patterns of motion and musical repertoire. 


                                                 Photo from 

Of course, another major difference between the modern drum and bugle corps and
the modern marching band is the presence of woodwinds.  If you see woodwinds, then you are not watching a drum and bugle corps.  If you do not see woodwinds, then you may or may not be watching a drum and bugle corps.  It’s much like the insect vs. bug question.  You can have a marching band without woodwinds, but you can’t have a drum and bugle corps with woodwinds. 

The third main difference between a marching band and a drum and bugle corps is the age range.  While your average marching band may have members at the junior and/or senior high levels, the ages of DCI division I drum corps participants ranges from about 15-21.  Generally, those ensembles with a younger average age place lower than those with a higher average age.  (Don’t hurt me…it’s only a generalization.)  This makes sense because “older” corps include college music majors, who hone their skills in the off-season.