This week was insane. While I’m busy all the time, this week was a particularly crazy one. All week in Wind Symphony, the top concert band at my school, we made recordings of the two pieces we’ve been working on since the beginning of concert season.
Our first song is called A Longford Legend: A Collection of Irish Street Ballades by Robert Sheldon.
The second is called Shadow Rituals by Michael Markowski.
We’re recording in an effort to be selected to perform at the Iowa Bandmaster’s Association conference.
In case you’ve never had to record anything, I’ll let you know that it’s really stressful. In some ways it’s worse than a live performance. First of all, EVERY. SINGLE. MISTAKE. can be heard in a recording. There’s no hiding. In a live performance the listener can often overlook mistakes, caught up in all that’s going on. However a recording can be played over and over and over to find any mistakes.
You certainly can’t hide out in a song when you have a solo, or exposed parts, which I did. In both movement one and two of the Sheldon piece, I had exposed parts to play, and being at the top of my section I had four small solo pieces throughout the second movement. In the Markowski piece I play piccolo, which isn’t a very subtle instrument. Needless to say, I felt very exposed in that song as well. I love having the opportunity to gain experience as a soloist, but at the same time it puts me in a very stressful position. I hate feeling as though I could ruin it for the whole band by making one small mistake. At one point I decided to just put it all out there. I was playing much too timidly, and it was affecting my tone. I realized that I had to just go for it and play with confidence.
Recording is an extremely lengthy process, full of many hours of practice and rehearsal prior to the actual recording. In fact, this process begins even before we start to play the song, with the selection of the pieces. This is something our director does, and that without a doubt takes countless hours. There are several things to consider when picking a piece to record. The song must highlight all the best parts about a band, but should also be challenging.
I am extremely appreciative of my director and everything thing that he does for us. Even if we aren’t accepted to play at the IBA conference, I know that he is proud of how far we have come. We learned and grew a lot as an ensemble throughout the entire recording process.