Thoughts from Mr. Duguid
Welcome to our brand new web site!
This site will continue to grow as I develop and organize new resources. My hope is that this space will be useful to parents, current band students and future band students. If there is anything you would like to see added, please let me know!
This last year has been challenging for everyone, and that includes our Parkview Band Program. The last time students were able to play their instruments in our school was Friday, March 13, 2020. Our band camp that was planned for the end of March was cancelled. Band life fell apart.
There is some hope that we will be able to resume playing in a safe manner this fall. That will be a great day!
So what does band class look like at Parkview School?
In September, I have all beginning band students experience each of the instruments that we have to offer. This includes: Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium/Baritone, and Tuba. Percussion instruments, like drums, usually have to wait until after our Winter Concert before I introduce them. Initially we will watch some good demonstrative and instructional videos on all of the instruments, and then (in a normal year) the students will have the opportunity to try them all out. Students will give me their top 3 preferences, and I will assign instruments based on what we have available at the school, taking into consideration an appropriate balance of different instrument types. Usually students get one of their top two picks. If a student enters our program and already plays an instrument, or has one at home they would like to use, instead of renting from the school, then accommodations are usually made.
Once everyone has their instrument then the primary focus in most classes is playing together as a band. This continues right through to the end of grade nine. Music theory is typically taught as needed, along the way. A few times throughout the year I ask for student input on what music we should be preparing to perform. I provide time for students to listen, individually, to concert band music and then they can submit song requests based on what they've heard. While this practice usually results in an extensive list of pop music, I also find other well written pieces of music to add to our list and use that to expand the musical tastes of our band students. Along with preparing music, I put a significant focus on proper warmup processes that include major and minor scales and various musical patterns in each key.
Band Camp is a very popular event that I like to offer to our band students each year. This is an overnight experience where we typically go to Camp Nakamun. I hire professional clinicians to work with the students in small groups and we play a lot! They work very hard, but when you throw in swimming, basketball, foosball, table tennis, a movie night and getting to spend an extended period of time with your Band Family, the students love it. More musical growth happens in the 2 or 3 days that we are at camp compared to any other time in the year. Camp is something students don't want to miss!
While we do have two major concert events each year, I try to add a few other performance opportunities to our calendar as well. There are a variety of Band Festivals across Alberta (in a typical year) and there may be opportunities to play at a festival at some point. Pep Rallies at Parkview are another great opportunity to share our music with the school population.
It's not all about the Concert Band either. We offer a Jazz Band experience as well. This group usually meets once a week, after school, and is a mix of students from all grades. Occasionally we even have staff members join in the fun! This ensemble includes different instruments (including piano and bass guitar) and plays an entirely different style of music compared to our concert bands. The students that join our Jazz Band are usually dedicated, hard working students and it shows with the energy and excitement displayed at our concerts!
I foster a positive attitude with my band students. We all grow together as a team, as a family. Typically band class includes the same students for all three years of junior high. This truly does create a family type atmosphere where friendships are built that last a lifetime. We all are striving for a common goal, but each student has a different role to play in achieving that goal. We support each other and respect each other along the way. There is plenty of research showing that playing an instrument stimulates the brain in ways that can not be achieved by any other method, but for most students, having fun as an ensemble is their biggest reason for continuing in band.