- Local Guide
ST. MARYS — The St. Marys Middle School seventh and eighth-grade bands will give their first performance at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 during the fall band/choir in the PAC.
Band Director Craig French is excited for the performance, and lauds the students’ work ethic. Each band will play two pieces of concert band music, and will finally have the opportunity to show friends and family what they have been learning and where their hard work has been going.
“At that age it’s very developmental, so I’m very concerned with them improving steadily,” French said. “There’s an appropriate performance level for that age group, and I just want to make sure we’re meeting that level.”
One of the most important things for middle school music students to master is characteristic tone, French said, which means learning to play their instrument so that it sounds the way it is meant to sound.
This is a difficult and subjective subject matter, but when a band masters the skill, it starts to sound better, he said.
French said he is also focusing on their ability to play stylistically, and with emotion and fluidity.
This may seem like a lot for 13 and 14-year-olds, but French said his students are meeting all his expectations and that he is extremely proud of their rehearsal etiquette. The students listen to his instruction attentively and work hard to execute what he asks of them.
“I just want them to execute music at a high level,” French said.
“I want them to enjoy the way that they sound and be proud of what they’ve done when they’ve finished.”
They will have practiced around 25 hours in school, and students are expected to practice the concert material for 15 minutes every weekday. French emphasized they are usually pretty good about doing so.
“There’s been instances several times in the last three weeks where we couldn’t play something on Monday and on Wednesday we come in and we can all of a sudden play, and that doesn’t just happen,” French said. “That happens because kids work at it.”