By Hannah Uebele, MHS Student Reporter
Even with marching season over and a winter concert in the bag, the Milford High School band still has a lot to do in the new year of 2013. Mrs. Christine Smith, the band director, said that she remains happy about how the past band events went this year and looks forward to all that is coming up. With the second semester of the school year coming to an end, the students all know that it means “playing test time.” Every student is required to take a playing test individually which Mrs. Smith then listens to and grades.
The students must play specific scales on their instrument randomly selected by Mrs. Smith with each scale set in different keys. They must also play the chromatic scale, a 12-note scale which also includes all the half-notes of the octave in which they are playing.
Adding to the difficulty, students must perform these scales all by memory. Besides the scales, the students must play a piece of music selected by Mrs. Smith which she grades on accuracy of the notes played, tone, volume, as well as whether the student performed the correct musical articulation specified by the piece of music.
“I’m nervous but confident that I will do well because of practicing,” said MHS junior band student Taylor Hoey about taking the test.
Besides getting a grade for all of this, students also get assigned a specific “chair” after completing the test. For instance, getting “first chair” is like getting first place, and so on. Their musical proficiency will later determine the level of difficulty of music they may play in performances. Nevertheless, even though first chair music may be more challenging than others, Mrs. Smith said that she likes having the strong players on all difficulties of music to ensure an even blend of harmonies in all ranges.
“I make sure to review the music in the weeks beforehand,” said MHS senior band student Alex Huey.
Though she has known most of her veteran band students for several years, Mrs. Smith said she can get to hear each individual one-on-one, which allows her to hear any students she may have missed and make new judgments on whom will play what parts in upcoming performances. She and her students excitedly await the approaching Spring Concert which will be held at Milford High auditorium on the evening of May 21.