With kind support from e2i Singapore, National Arts Council and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, the inaugural Singapore Band Clinic 2018 organized by Band Directors’ Association (Singapore) closed with the gala concert by the YST Wind Consort on Sunday (9 September).
Themed ‘The Joy of Band and Beyond!‘, the clinic was open to band educators, students and teachers from Singapore and the region, to explore new dimensions of wind band pedagogy and curriculum development, with the aim to improve the quality and experiences of a wind band program.
“SBC aims to emulate the format of many internationally established band clinics that we see around the world, but we do not try to claim to educate participants in one of two sessions for a single topic. In fact, the diverse range of topics that was shared by the respective specialists for both band directors and students, aims to offer all the different topics on a platter as a taste sampler,” said BDA(S) president Adrian Chiang.
Over the span of three days, participants get to learn from a stellar cast of clinicians, such as Prof. Giorgio Versiglia (Bergamo Conservatory of Music), AP. Jeffrey Boeckman (University of Hawaii), Dr. Leonard Tan, Mr Joost Flach, Mr Alvin Seville, and the conservatory’s teaching staff – AP. Chan Tze Law, AP. Brett Stemple, AP. Shane Taylor Constante, and AP. Tony Makarome.
Current conducting student Chong Wai Lun, leadership and management specialist Able Cheong, Dalcroze specialist Gerald Leow, Music composer Benjamin Yeo, prolific Saxophonist Leslie Wong and Horn player Alan Kartik also shared their respective specialities.
Topics discussed in the clinic were of a variety, such as, fun music making, rehearsal techniques, conducting, rhythm and score study, effective sectionals, tuning and intonation, solfège, quality répertoire, dalcroze principles, band leadership, and common issues faced with double reeds, saxophones and horn.
“The band clinic can been seen as helping one open a door (of his mind), to the potentially immense treasures that can be found if one continues to walk through it. Sitting through the buffet of courses such as improving rehearsal techniques, conducting, dalcroze, South Indian rhythm, solfège, and skills in enabling students, I think many would agree that we can see how there are interesting new ideas from each class that we could/should equip ourselves with, and use in our next rehearsal.
Not only that, one starts to see how they could even be interlinked or fused together to create even more connections and ideas. I think this was the main objective of this clinic and I hope many would have left this event feeling slightly more (if not a lot more) empowered before they came for this clinic. The knowledge that one derives belongs to him/herself, and cannot be taken away. The power of knowledge comes especially when the combination of it all makes one unique and different,” Adrian continued.
For student Lian Kylie Ramirez from Broadrick Secondary School Concert Band, her biggest take away from the band clinic was the conducting session by Dr Leonard Tan and Mr Adrian Chiang, and the tuning session by Mr Alvin Seville.
“Although at first I didn’t see the point in having these lectures, I have realised the importance of conducting and balancing the sound in the band. I plan to use this knowledge to further improve my section as a section leader. All section leaders should learn how to conduct to help their section better during self practice on the parts they have to work on together. So instead of just passively imitating the metronome and clapping, they will be able to portray different dynamics and articulation to their section members. This would allow the members to get used to looking at the person conducting when performing.
Moreover, from the sessions taught by Mr Able Cheong, I am once again motivated to lead and overcome the difficulties I encounter as a leader. I was reluctant to come for this event at first but after coming through it, I enjoyed learning and meeting people from different bands. Thank you Mr Yeo, for giving me this opportunity to come for this band clinic. I am truly grateful for this experience.”
When asked how the clinic will be like in the near future, Adrian explained that the association will be getting feedback from the attendees on which components they wish to see being expanded.
“Perhaps, we can create a whole new course for what the participants have feedbacked, and together with musicians from other art forms such as Choir and Chinese Orchestra, BDA(S) can help to facilitate and make these things happen!”
A contributing editor at TBP.