Staff came from all over for this one–Alabama, Tennesee, Georgia and Texas! There’s something about DMA @ UA/Tuscaloosa that is very special. The weather is typical for BAMA this time of year: hot, humid, and a change of an afternoon thunderstorm–nothing out of the ordinary for DMA. Over the last 25 years of having a workshop there I cannot recall a single year when we didn’t have a wild electrical storm to deal with—of course, the MOMENT there was a hint of anything if the group was outside it instantly went inside! And today we all have those incredible phones so a staff member is ALWAYS checking doppler radar—what an amazing resource!
“All beats are downbeats; all beats strike the same focal point; all beats rebound; the size of the pattern corresponds directly to the tempo of the music.” Conducting session #1 last night, all according to the philosophy of Dr. Elizabeth A. H. Green (University of Michigan; “The Modern Conductor,” author), Dr. John Paynter (Northwestern University) and Dr. Jacques Voois (West Chester University). The conducting philosophy the Drum Major Academy follows is not something contrived but is exactly what is prescribed by the most prolific conductors and educators of our time. The concept and approach is actually quite simple and is based upon “motion through time and space.” Getting one to PHYSICALLY move in a clear manner while maintaining accurate time is something that takes practice–and it all starts the first night at DMA!
And of course there’s so much more that was experienced the first night in Alabama, not just conducting but also the start of learning to work together in smaller groups outside of the full class setting. But let us not forget the first march off of BAMA 2010: