Band Members!! Can you answer some questions.

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by allaheadfull, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. allaheadfull

    allaheadfull Member

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    Hello all,

    I have a couple of questions.

    I am coming on a visit to the academy in two weeks (Mon, 15 April, 2013). I am so excited! I emailed the laison/coordinator asking if I could request a band member for the cadet-led tour portion of the visit (I am a die-hard band nerd and would love to get some first-hand knowledge). The response was that I can only request a cadet by name. So... this leads to my question...

    :biggrin:

    Would any 4th C (I think it can only be freshmen) like to bless me with a tour and valuable knowledge?
    Or, could you ask a buddy if he/she would be interested?

    If this helps, my main Instrument is the Bassoon (If one of you plays bassoon and would like to that would make my life). In Marching Band I play trumpet. I am also in the Musical Pit Orchestra at my school. I tried Oboe, but ran out of time to prepare so I'm just going to play bassoon.


    Thank you all for your help
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  2. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    FYI the "band" outside of Drum and Bugle core is the cadet orchestra and is just an awesome club activity (I played soprano saxophone, covering oboe and clarinet parts). They meet every Sunday evening at 5 I believe, and we did have a bassoon player who should still be there, but I am sorry I don't have her contact info.

    My point of posting was actually to say, any class cadet can be your escort, 4 digs just have a very different point of view that is sometimes more beneficial.
     
  3. haleym

    haleym Member

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    Another question from a fellow nerd.. do they let trombones in D&B? After all, they are such better instruments than those baritones... :rolleyes:
     
  4. Ambition

    Ambition USAFA Class of 2017

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    I also had some questions about the D&B corps. How much work is it to do that on top of regular work? And can you walk on with no experience?
     
  5. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Ambition, from what was sent in the instructions to appointees envelope, it appears that they do take people with no experience but that it is highly preferable that they at least know how to read music.
     
  6. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB

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    Let me caveat this with, I was never in D&B and most of my friends who did join regretted it and quit...primarily because of the time commitment and the director I believe, but I heard a rumor he was leaving. They loved the opportunity to play and travel some though, it just wasn't worth it in the end.

    I believe there are no trombones, sorry. As for how much work, it's a lot. It is an LOS club that I think practices every day and plays for both weekly cadet parades and football games, and yes, you can walk on with no experience, you don't even have to know how to play an instrument...they will teach you.
     
  7. ParkMom

    ParkMom Member

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    Message sent to DS

    Hi 'bandnerds'

    I sent a message to my C4C this morning about this thread. He was very active in the music program at his HS, and continued with D&B at the AFA. He also played trombone HaleyM!

    Anyway, he said he'd love to respond and answer questions, so you can look for him to respond when he gets time in the next couple of days. So, if you have more questions, go ahead and post 'em, but don't overwhelm him; he does have school work after all :smile:
     
  8. ParkMom

    ParkMom Member

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  9. ParkMom

    ParkMom Member

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    Linky no worky-sorry!

    Its on Facebook "United States Air Force Academy Drum & Bugle Corps"
     
  10. shiner

    shiner Member

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    In general, walk-on's are ok. The drum major when I was there started as a walk-on. If you are in a serious HS program and consider your program a top competitor in your state or in the nation, this program will not meet your expectations -- but it can still be a fun experience.

    Name a college music program outside of a service academy - do they accept walk-on's with no prior music experience? Would your current band director? Would your band director tell every woodwind player to grab a horn and march (and play) something you had never seen before?

    Take it for what it is, a fun program that will allow you to travel and stay in a music program. This IS NOT DCI, and it is not what many come from in top HS programs.

    The mission is to provide musical support at cadet activities. The demands on your schedule are quite tough from the quantity of practices and performances. The activity will provide LOS or Limited On-Season Status which means you go daily and do not participate in intermural sports. This would presumably not be any different than your current band practice. Expect to play every football game - home, away, and bowl. Expect to play every home basketball game, Wing Open, Pep Rally, a few parades, etc... Cheer and Band have more time commitments than just about any other club/sport at USAFA because they support multiple teams. If you just played on one of the sports teams you would have your games and practice. In D&B you get practice and Football, Mens BBall, and Women's BBall, and other wing functions.

    Why do I mention the negatives here? I wish I was told prior to going - just as a way of setting an expectation. I would have still participated, but having a realistic expectation of what I was walking into would have changed my attitude.
     
  11. ParkMom

    ParkMom Member

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    DS Here

    Hey everyone, ParkMom's DS here. As she already said, I am currently a C4C at USAFA. I do both D&B and Orchestra here and would be happy to answer any of your questions.

    I will respond to each person individually, but you may find all of this pertinent.

    @allaheadfull:

    I would love to give you a tour here. However, I have never done this so far and don't know if there is any special training required. I do know some other D&B members that have escorted people on tours, and I'm sure one of them would be more than happy to show you around and talk to you about D&B. I will get back to you when I talk to them. If you need their name, I can send that to you in a private message.

    @haleym:

    USAFA10s is right, D&B does not have trombones, but this should not discourage you from joining if you are interested. I was a trombonist in high school. Having never picked up a valved instrument before I got here, I found the transition to baritone fairly easy. In fact, most of our section is former trombone players. If you still want to continue trombone though, you can do this with the cadet orchestra. This is what I do and I really enjoy it.

    @Ambition:

    The time commitment is pretty heavy, especially in the fall. Practices begin soon after school starts. We have weekday practices from 1645 to 1830 every day and occasionally practice on the weekends before football games start. Once these begin, we play at all the games and travel with the team.
    After football season ends, the schedule will wind down a bit. We only practice 2-3 times per week, and these aren't as long as in the fall. As for trips, we take a couple trips to ski resorts at the beginning of second semester and that's about it. We also play at some basketball games, but these aren't a serious time commitment.

    I know this sounds like a lot and at times it can get a little stressful, especially when you see your friends outside of D&B having a little more free time. However, there are a lot of good things about this. If you really like band, you can use D&B as a release from some of the stress of being a freshman at USAFA. Additionally, you get to hang out and travel with a great group of people. While your friends will be stuck in their rooms on weekends, you will get to go to cool places and escape for a while. Of course it's your decision, but I know I really enjoyed the experience.

    As far as previous experience goes, you don't really need any. We will teach you how to play, but the more music experience you have, the better.

    Feel free to ask me any more questions you may have. I will be happy to answer them. :biggrin:
     
  12. Ready for the Challenge

    Ready for the Challenge Member

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    ParkMom's DS,

    Do you have to audition for the D&B and the orchestra?
    Is the orchestra student led?
    Is there a leadership hierarchy in the D&B with section leaders and drum majors and such?
    How soon can students try for Drum Major?
    If you already play an instrument, but want to learn another, will they teach you?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm just very curious!
     
  13. Dial the gate

    Dial the gate Member

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    ParkMom's DS,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer questions!

    I have read a few negative posts about perceptions of D&B (the whole "band nerd" thing), what is your perception of how you are treated and will you do it again next year?

    Thank you!
     
  14. ParkMom

    ParkMom Member

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    ParkMom DS back again

    Feel free to ask all the questions you want, I will do my best to respond to them.

    There is no audition for the orchestra. Just show up, play, and have fun. For D&B, there is an audition, but since we will almost always have room for everyone, everyone should make it (I don't know of any recent years where people were cut). The audition then becomes just a chance for you to try out all the different horns and for the Corps to try and make sure the sections are balanced.

    Pretty much, but with some guidance from the conductor. This is pretty much how most organizations work here.

    Yep, there is a chain of command within D&B. It works similarly to in high school. And Drum Majors are generally 2 Degrees.

    Yes, if you play trombone or a woodwind and want to learn the bugle, they will teach you. You can also play baritone if you played trumpet, vice versa, etc.

    Unfortunately, sometimes D&B members, especially freshman, get a negative perception from their peers back in their squad. However, this is not due to the whole "band nerd" thing (or at least not that I've noticed). This mostly comes as a result of being so active in D&B that members aren't in their squadrons as much. Freshman are gone on weekends and miss afternoon training sessions, and sometimes this can distance them from their classmates. They might be viewed as slackers or doing D&B just to avoid training. However, your own reputation is ultimately up to you. If you put in the effort to go to as much with your sqad as you can and try to be a good and likable cadet (mostly don't throw your classmates under the bus), you will still gain the respect of your friends and upperclassman.

    Sadly, this perception sometimes causes people to drop D&B after freshman year. Sometimes its just the time commitment and academic strain. As for me? If I don't return to the corps next year, it won't be for either of those reasons. Instead, it will be because I decided to do something else. Once you get here, you will discover that there are tons of cool activities to get involved in, but not enough time to do everything. I am doing soaring this summer and am interesting in going for an IP slot. If I get this, I will have to quit D&B, but it will be to fly gliders. But if I am not selected, I will definitely be back in D&B. It was a great experience and a lot of fun.

    Hope these answered your questions!
     

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