Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Days 33 - 39: Focused - and Making Strides

July 19, 2011

21 days - Blue Band Officer Week
28 days - Blue Band Marching Auditions/Band Camp Begins
46 days - Penn State vs. Indiana State
53 days - Penn State vs. Alabama
60 days - Penn State vs. Temple

I'm back from a great vacation in State College for Arts Fest.  Despite the ups and downs of the trip, it was great getting to see a handful of good friends, and get the opportunity to experience campus in the middle of summer... which in my opinion is when campus is at its best, despite all of the construction.  Brings back memories to when I toured campus for the first time on my 17th birthday (almost exactly four years ago).  Anyway, before I completely reminisce, it was great to give my body one last break from the rigors of workouts six days per week, and I feel absolutely refocused, refreshed, and starting to feel like I did this time last year, but this time around I know exactly what to expect.

My personal preparation has stepped up significantly.  My sprawling "to-do" list has whittled been down from over twenty check-boxes to only six.  Despite giving myself a "break" in the past week, I have completed charting the first of two songs for my former high school's marching band fall show.  After this paragraph I posted a video of the drill. More about that later.  I have my schedule for the fall entirely entered into Google calendar and synced to my iPhone, which is going to be a must given how busy I'm going to be.  I finally got scholarship thank-yous written that I haven't been able to get around to, wrote the "skeleton" of the new and improved "Blue Band Warmups 2.0" and I have started to crack down on my mace spinning techniques... something that I plan on giving a lot of attention to in the next few weeks.

I have the next three days off from work, which means that this is the prime opportunity to focus 100% on my marching season preparations.  I plan on having outdoor workouts because of the heat and humidity to start preparing myself to be performing at high levels in those elements.  Tomorrow I'll be charting drill on the beach in my community, doing some outdoor weight-bearing cardio, and getting some yardwork finished. I'll be doing flips on Thursday before another cardio workout, followed by a study session on Blue Band fundamentals, and Friday I'll decide that day what I'm going to work on based on what feels most urgent.  I plan on making a video about my outdoor workouts (e.g. what I do, why I do it, and the sequence of things) - look for it later this week on here.

I ran my first "personal session" yesterday, which involves, for a lack of better explanation, teaching myself to march as if I'm both the teacher and the student, making sure that I cover every possible detail and making sure that the process that I use to explain each maneuver is as clear and concise as possible.  That way, I can make sure that the prospective rookies learn the maneuvers well but I can also save time in the process.  I was wise and took notes immediately after a lot of last year's sessions, so I am able to remember what could have been done better last season and then do it better the first time around this year.  Little details are so important to being an excellent instructor, as opposed to an average one.  I'm dotting every "i" (no OSU reference implied), and crossing every "t" this year.

Another important detail about this season is the fact that I will be performing pregame for four straight weeks to start the season since the band is traveling to Temple for week #3.  I remember being absolutely wiped out after just the first week of the season, enough so that I went home during the Alabama weekend to unwind.  I don't have that luxury this year.  It's one straight month of being on top of things, in addition to the downtown cover band I'm joining, my academics, preparing to pass the rest of my piano proficiency in October, and still somehow keeping contact with my friends. 

I also wanted to pass on my congratulations to the Penn State majorettes and Feature Twirler Matt Freeman for capturing the national championship for collegiate halftime performance today at Notre Dame.  I believe this is the ninth time they have won, and they're in the finals for another national championship (dance twirl, I believe?) on Friday morning.  I got to see them in an exhibition Saturday at Arts Fest and they were unbelievable. So much talent.

Three weeks from this very moment I will be (aside from turning 21 years old) on a retreat in Port Matilda with this year's Penn State Blue Band officers, enjoying some needed bonding time and preparing to take on the 112th season.  I couldn't possibly be more excited - I hope you are as well.

That's all for now.
Thanks for reading.

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