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Meiers Minutes: The evolution of a concert band tune at Stanley High School

By, Evan Meiers

Stanley – The Stanley Band is versatile. Extremely adaptable to almost every situation. Right now they have switched gears from football/volleyball pep-band games to intricate concert band music. The groans of the students when the first concert band tune is put up on the board can fill the hallways at Stanley High.

The process of finding music for our band is very difficult. I find myself scouring the internet, asking colleagues, and spending many hours in a car or tractor listening to either really good music…or terrible garbage music. The questions I find myself asking are…

  1. Will the students be engaged in learning while playing this piece
  2. What will our students learn from these tunes
  3. Do they sound like poo to me? (Seriously, I have to listen to these pieces around 250 times throughout the process)

My first two years teaching at Stanley I found something out. I found out that these students secretly want to work toward a goal, but they won’t tell you. Many times I hear “kids just don’t want to work anymore”! And while sometimes I fell that’s true…there is another side to that. I feel we (I) don’t work to find what students needs. Students of today need INSTANT daily attainable goals. I feel that technology and the instant gratification of phones, tablets, laptops, has aided in this problem. So this makes the learning process much more difficult.

I have found with a little work I can find a concert band tune that the students absolutely hate, but take daily chunks, and turn them into INSTANT attainable goals. After time, the tune starts to build and the students engage more and more! I have been through this process enough to tell if a tune is going to be marketable to the band by the 2nd time we read the piece.

The most amazing thing happens, at the dress rehearsal the day of the concert. If I could have every single parent and audience member at that rehearsal, they would hear something amazing! The students take the culmination of what they have learned and put it out there. For just a moment, the students put their “I/ME” technology filled agendas and turn it into “We/Us”. As soon as we are done playing the students sit in silence (without my prompt) and in that very brief moment, you can feel the students understand what complete resolve feels like. They understand it has taken us a month to get where we need to be and realize the work and dedication we all have for the program. It is an intense feeling that is so hard to describe, but it is felt by everybody and is what I strive for as a teacher!

We hope to see everyone at our concert on November 22nd, as we are doing some things that have not been done before by the Stanley High School Band. The Jr. High is playing at an unusually high level while the High School Band is just now finding their identity with loosing 15 seniors last year. It will be an exciting concert! The choir will kick the concert off directed by Mr. Beckman and will close with the band.

We want to thank everyone for their positive words and dedication to our program! We are growing, learning, and having a blast doing so.

-Mr. Meiers

*Uniform Update* We will be meeting with the school board in November seeking approval of new uniforms. Stay tuned!!

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Make sure to check out the latest article: Sorenson goes above and beyond for Blue Jay students

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