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Posts posted by HornTeacher

  1. On ‎10‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 2:21 PM, Ghost said:

    Hopefully Horn Teacher will read this thread and add his thoughts since he's been teaching music coming on 25 years.  Even as a brass guy, he's taught and had percussion sections succeed and win awards.

    First, it's been 38 years.  But I appreciate the belief on your part that my youthful appearance belies, to a huge degree, my actual Neanderthalistic state of being.  Second, since I have never been involved in Drum and Bugle Corps other than for a couple of years in a street marching organization (the Dunkirk NY Patriots, who WERE a field unit back in the 1970's, I believe), I hardly think it's my place to comment upon staffing of contemporary FIELD D&BC.  ESPECIALLY at the highest levels as it now exists.  But I thank you for your trust in my viewpoint.  I am greatly appreciative of your confidence in me.  As to your assertion regarding the percussion successes...that has everything to do with the quality of kids I've had the honor and privilege to teach, and far less to do with any innate ability which I may have possessed.  In other words, they very well may have been successful in spite of me, rather than due to me (since they were a small-school street unit across several years, and had to endure a stupid trumpet player as their "teacher."  They were small lines...usually 4 snares, 4 basses, 2-3 Tri players, a couple of cymbal players, and at most 2 marching melodic.  As I said...small line.).

    Now, having said all that, if you desire my personal point of view on staffing, then I'll try to give you that much.  In general, we often think of "a staff" as a collective.  Many see it as being a situation where whoever has the greatest number of "all-star" staff members will yield the most successful of results.  But I don't agree with this point of view.  I've seen many an "all-star" staff which has ultimately crashed and burned because, among other things, the various staff members (maybe because of inflexibility or ego) haven't been able to function as a cohesive unit.  Alternatively, I have seen groups being led by staffs who were relative unknowns...yet have enjoyed tremendous success due to the fact that they functioned cohesively and uniformly supportive to a very high level.  Maybe a situation of "greater than the sum of its' parts."  What is important is that each staff member knows his and/or her place in the organization, and fully trusts that each of the other staff members trusts all the others to be and act in the same manner.  For the "collective good," I guess (how TERRIBLY COMMUNISTIC of me, I know!!).

    Sorry for the mini-lecture.  Just my take on things...

    • Like 3
  2. 6 hours ago, ouooga said:

    And now...drum roll...my point!

    That strategy has kept them profitable! Marvel Comics was at or near bankruptcy (I think, can someone fact check that?) at one point, and has since become one of the most profitable companies on the globe.

    For niche, if you change the medium, tweak the model, keep the important elements and put it all in a box that everyone can get behind, there's a good chance you'll get a few more people to spend money on your entertainment genre.


    • Like 1
  3. 1 hour ago, George Dixon said:

    Let’s not throw out the legacy value of Pioneer due to bad actors and poor decisions 

    if they create a new independent board Pioneer could have a wonderful second act


    As cynical as I find myself to be at this time...I do truly hope that your words somehow find a way to come to fruition.

    This is a tremendous activity.  One which, unfortunately, I never had the chance to experience in the applicable days of my youth.  If they can somehow find that "wonderful second act," and do so within the parameters of proper guidance, care, and educational/personal values, then it WILL be to the benefit of 125-150 more of our youth.  That is all for which any of us can hope.

  4. 4 hours ago, cixelsyd said:

    A detail I wanted to get back to...

    What should the threshold be for removal from the DCI Hall of Fame?  Felony?  Sex crime?  Misdemeanor?  Majority vote of some committee?  For crimes, do we wait for the convictions, or act on accusations only?

    Maybe it would be constructive to establish standards, rather than have a separate HOF dispute for every instance of accused or confirmed wrongdoing.

    I would think something like "Actions detrimental to the overall Organization" might be a reasonable place to start.  Think Pete Rose...

    If his (RB) various quotes are established as being said, then I would consider them actions.

    • Like 2
  5. 1 hour ago, BRASSO said:

     Has to be the Jets if its the 50 yard line. The end zone is unfamiliar terrain for them.:spitting:

    I'm sorry, Brasso.  Not up to the laughter and simplistic conviviality (on MY part) that has been of the "usual" for the previously-known HornTeacher.  I am now of the pessimistic and cynical portion of society.  I guess I'm just not up to it anymore.  And 'tis such a pity.  But all that in mind...

    Your comment did make me laugh.  I sincerely thank you for that.  Cheers, Good Sir.  To quote Professor Morrie Schwartz..."You're one of the good ones." :guinesssmilie:

    • Like 2
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  6. 1 hour ago, garfield said:

    I know I'm picking nits in a sensitive thread, and will be accused of being grammar police, but shouldn't it be "Broken-down Buses..."?

    Thank God it didn't involve "Broken-down" Busses...

    And to exhibit my own level of ornery, he should be forced to bear his Auschwitz comment on his DCI Hall-of-Fame inscription...

    • Like 4
  7. 2 hours ago, Ghost said:

    Great reply Horn Teacher.  Your comments on DCP have been sorely missed.

    Your words mean much to me, Ghost...as of which I find great assurance, along with the greatest of appreciation and fellow respect by now.  But remember, please...mine are only one man's opinion.  However...I thank you.  With equal sincerity and respect given and intended, Good Sir.

  8. On ‎8‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 11:42 AM, SWriverstone said:

    There's a well-known and studied psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect (also called the familiarity principle). It means people develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. Put more simply, if you listen to lousy music long enough, you'll start thinking it's good. (This isn't opinion—it's fact.) 

    SWriverstone -- This was your introductory statement in your initial posting.  If you will allow, I wish to bring forth an opinion.

    I feel that I must disagree with this, based upon the final 5 words of the statement -- "...you'll start thinking it's good."  As you initially postulated, "It means people develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them."  Fair enough...I have no problem with this -- in fact, I would tend to agree.  Simple enough.  However, there still remains a large difference between liking something due to familiarity, and thereby also thinking it's good.  One is quantitative in nature (preference through familiarity); the other is qualitative (thinking it's good).  Please allow me to go off-topic for a moment, for the purpose of illustration...

    As much as I hate to admit it, I am a smoker.  I smoke because of 1) the addictive nature of the nicotine; 2) the apparent relaxation it brings me in times of stress; 3) the simple effect of habit.  Such action on my part does not mean, however, that I am also convinced that it is "good."  It is not, and I know that.  It's unhealthy.  It's expensive.  It's unclean.  Despite all of that, I still smoke.  Maybe -- no, certainly -- all of this speaks more to my lack of will-power and sensibility than it does any inherent judgement on my part of its' detriments.

    What does this have to do with one's personal judgement of the "goodness" (qualitative judgement) of a work of art?  Everything.  I can like a particularly dirty, obscene, morally indecent joke based upon...or despite...its' relation and/or adherence to societal standards.  I can also fully acknowledge that it is something which is not "fit" for common consumption to a segment of society.  I, too, am a musician, going into my 38th year of teaching in the field of Music Education.  As I stated on a simple post earlier in this thread, "I like what I like because I like it."  When I reach that point, I am not necessarily stating either as a teacher of music or a mere observer outside the field of education.  I am stating no opinion as to the relative quality of a given piece of music in an artistic sense.  It is much akin to when any of us laugh when we might be exposed to a particularly bad joke or pun.  Sometimes we laugh (possibly even "like" it) based on the lack of quality of it.  How often do we laugh, then follow our chuckle with "that's SOOOO bad!!"??

    I know what I feel is "good" music...what I've been taught as being such.  And I know "bad" music...that is to say, what I've been taught to consider "bad" music as being.  But I also know that these qualitative judgements -- AND quantitative judgements -- are MINE, and designed as MINE alone.  And yes, sometimes I find myself listening to music because I like it...even music which I might not consider to be of "good" in quality.  There may simply be something about it which piques my attention -- even if the overall selection, taken as a whole, is something which I would place outside the "good" (qualitative) category.  Maybe it has a wonderful melody, but is dry harmonically.  I might find it lacking of value melodically and harmonically, yet I find a degree of intrigue in its' rhythmic underpinnings.  In terms of Drum Corps, maybe it might be Jim Brady solos in "Spanish Eyes" or "Pagliacci."  Maybe it's Barbara Maroney's concluding statement in "A Boy Like That."  Maybe it's Zengali's/Star of Indiana's "Cross-to-Cross."  Maybe it's the simple, brass-player's thrill to Madison's power and (excuse me) "balls forward" rendering of "Malaguena" in 1988.  And maybe it's nothing other than the Bluecoat soprano soloist's "wink" of a couple of years ago.  Those two seconds didn't get points.  They didn't get GE.  But as a brass player, I could both get and admire his internal affirmation of feeling "so THERE!!"...with an accompanying wry smile.  Whatever.  I can "like" it, yet also do so without any...ANY...consideration to anything other than a most simple...and most human..."WOW!!"

    Yet...in the end...I "like" it.  And to be honest...that's all of which I care.  At that point, it is not up to me to educate.  Instead, it is merely up to me, as an individual member of the human species...by-and-large, one individual member of a very individual and imperfect human species...to determine of and for myself to "like."  And to enjoy.  

    Quite honestly, Sir...that is something of which Julliard...or Eastman...or any Conservatory/School of Music cannot teach us, whether we have the great fortune to attend or not.  To ultimately determine what we "like."  In the end, as human beings both educated and musically-uneducated alike...we like what we like because we like it.

    • Like 1
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  9. On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 7:53 AM, TerriTroop said:

    First: I apologize in advance because I didn't have time to read 14 pages of replies. I literally have 15 minutes to try to reply coherently, and I feel compelled to do so now because this topic is of great interest to me, but my time the rest of this week is very limited. (inservice days and preparing my materials for day 1 next week!)

    second: I have a BM and MM in Music Theory with a minor in music history. I am a choir director, band director, and I teach general music as well, all in grades 3-12. I also teach an 11th grade human aesthetics block called "History Through Music." I'm starting year 20 this year.

    That said, I disagree with the original post on several fronts.


    1) Music's "quality": It is well known in music theory circles that many researchers attempt to codify music for "quality." Schenker, for example, was a  German theorist who attempted to prove the "quality" of music based on its underlying harmonic principles, and music of "German" styles were, by his measure, meant to be seen as better in "quality." I won't go into the details, but spending a year in grad school working on Schenker graphs taught me that this method of discerning "quality" was often arbitrary and sometimes highly contrived. MY POINT: Music's "quality" is not something that we can codify completely by any particular system.

    2) Musical "taste": I generally have a distaste for Mozart. Mozart's music is high in "quality" but low on my "taste" measure. I can hear the quality of it but I don't have to like it. Many people have difficulty recognizing or ascribing quality when music doesn't fit their taste. The more educated a person is about music (self educated can be just as good, IMO) the more they can accept this difference. I also don't like the Carpenters much, but I recognize the harmonic beauty in combination with creative melodies that sometimes suspend and resolve in unusual ways. So, the Blue Stars show wasn't as interesting to me from a musical standpoint (except for the more esoteric piece by Carpenter), but I recognize the value of the music. 

    3) Regularity of rhythm is NOT a measure of quality: I'm not sure if I missed a detail in the OP, so I may be off base here. Regularity and irregularity of rhythm have certain effects, and neither is a requirement for "quality." The intentionality of the rhythm is what is important. Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and hundreds of other modern composers will play with rhythm in jarring ways for effect. Entire pieces are written without a sense of beat - "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" by Penderecki, for one very important example. Webern and others of the serialist style intentionally avoided beat. (and I struggle with taste in regard to those pieces, but their historical significance can't be overstated - the emancipation of music from long-evolving rules of harmony and form was needed, and that purpose was served by the work of serialist composers)

    Now, to address SCV's show: I find most DCI shows to have the same problem of "chopped up" musical examples that flow somewhat poorly. SCV is no exception to that problem. It is very rare that I feel that a show flows so well as a whole that I am swept away into a musical landscape that feels whole. 2007 Crown (Triple Crown) is one example, along with 2009 SCV (beautifully rendered Appalachian Spring show with clear thought as to the original music and movement), and I forget the year but SCV's recent Les Mis show all fit those examples for me. FOR ME.

    And that brings me to my last point: it is good that people attempt to discern their measure of quality. We should all do that. But for hundreds of years music theorists have argued over musical "quality" and nobody has discovered a magic formula. Music's effect on the brain is simultaneously well documented and mysterious. But drum corps is about the whole package - visual intrigue, movement, showcases of individual groups, etc. I think it's clear to many of us who have followed the activity for decades that the days of "audio only" enjoyment are becoming rarer. Is that a musical "fail", or is that the nature of how shows must be designed to suit boxes evaluated by judges? I'm not sure I have an answer to that one.

    My 15 minutes are up. Hopefully I'll have time to catch up on this discussion late this evening.

    In my "uninformed" and "unasked for" opinion...BOOM!!  Well stated, and supported without the "ivory tower" limitations generally found in such discussions.  In the end, many who follow the activity simply base their final judgements of any individual corps' presentation on the basis of "I like it' or "It's not for me."  And there is nothing wrong with that.  Nothing whatsoever.  To me, it is there to be enjoyed and experienced as a product of what is in the mind of the creator of the work.  Otherwise, we might as all all assemble at the Louvre and argue over the Mona Lisa.  Well done, Terri.  I stand with you -- both philosophically, and as a fellow life-long TEACHER of music.

    And for those who wish to argue the "good music" or "bad music" approach, research the early reactions by the so-called "experts" to Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring."  If the public at-large would have heeded those reviews, I would venture that the piece wouldn't have lasted 6 months in the eyes of the public.  Sometimes, the scholarly approach is among the very LEAST of bases under which it is considered to be of eventual success or failure.  

    My sincerest apologies for the idiotic rant.

    • Like 2
  10. 1 hour ago, Jeff Ream said:

    drum corps is NEVER going to be mass marketable unless you return to Sousa marches. 


    to the world at large we are BAND. You know band that gets ignored at half time at football games world wide weekly. Band that gets candy thrown at it marching down the street in the Halloween parade. Band that launched a million jokes, a love story and other craziness in the American Pie movies. Plus, there's so much other entertainment competition out there, 80% of it requiring you to never leave your home.

    And therein, at least to me, lies a VERY key element.  I fully agree.  And applicable to far more areas than just Drum Corps.  Sad...so very sad.

  11. 1 hour ago, Fracker said:

    I'm watching the video right now (its still on periscope, but scrubbed from their twitter feed).  Convo starts around 6:50.

    There are 2 problems-- 1 the guy has some clearly sexist ideas about work ethic, and he did not back down at all during the course of that show.  2. Both commentators are winging it and not at all comfortable doing so.  This results in some very stupid comments.

    And if you're uncomfortable in saying it...then don't say it in the first place.  Seems simple to me...although I guess I'm a simpleton (shrug)….

    • Like 1
    • Haha 1
  12. 2 hours ago, BRASSO said:

     Sexual Abuse/ Sexual Harrassment is not kept out of Ivy League Universities ( or the Large Publics. Religious ) simply because they have built themselves very tall and very thick walls. With security cameras, 24-7 manned gate surveillance, etc found around almost every corner on their campus. These unsavory criminal activities of all stripes have been done by their employees, their professors, their administrators, etc from time to time on their campuses. So of course the " Univ. of Penn. " too.

    Even the Emperor needed a private place in which he could change into his "new clothes"...

    • Like 2