A Few Issues Popping Up in Music
By Richard Floyd, Music Director | Tuesday, February 07, 2012 12:05 PM
What’s new with UIL? How are things in Austin? Anything happening in music?
These and countless similar inquiries confront me everywhere I go as I travel across the state and nation. People want to know what is going on, and from my perspective, they deserve to know what is going on. To be honest, sometimes there is very little going on. The ship is on a confirmed course, the sails are trimmed and it appears to be smooth sailing ahead. At other times the seas are rough, the winds are unpredictable and there are uncharted waters ahead. While there is little drama in our “UIL music world” at present, there are issues that have surfaced in recent months that require thoughtful deliberation and possible action.
So, since you asked, here’s what’s new in Austin. Not surprisingly, several of these items have to do with marching band.
The ever-changing population distribution of our state remains a challenge. As the population has become more and more dense along the Interstate corridors of I-35 and I-45 as well as in the Rio Grande Valley, the large school population in the more rural parts of the state has dwindled. As a result, Area A is comprised of five regions and encompasses roughly 35 percent of the state land mass. It is more than 600 miles from the eastern to the western boundary of the Area. Bands must travel hundreds of miles, often after a Friday night football game, to compete in the Area competition. Fine Arts Directors and other school administrators decry the excessive cost in terms of time and travel required to advance to the area contest. Consequently, multiple requests have surfaced asking the UIL to explore options that would address the current travel burdens many bands in West Texas experience.
A second issue now on the table is a request from the AAAA and AAAAA band directors and school administrators in Region 25 to have the region transferred from Area B to Area C. It is their belief that this transfer would create a better balance in terms of the number of large school competing bands in these two areas. At present, a study based on the new 2012-2013 and 2013 – 2014 classification and alignment is being conducted to determine the relative merits of this request.
Another marching band issue has to do with the rule addressing electronically produced music. With the world of technology continually evolving and new devices being introduced almost daily, it appears virtually impossible to draft a rule that addresses all circumstances and all applications of technology. At present, Section 1105 (4) states that all electronically produced music including narration and sound effects shall be performed live and in real time by eligible students. However, in the fall of 2011 the UIL State Executive Committee issued the following interpretation to further define what is acceptable and what is not in regards to digital samples.
The interpretation states, “Electronic samples integrated into a UIL marching contest performance are considered to be digitally created musical effects as opposed to prerecorded music and are compliant with Section 1105 (4) of the UIL Constitution and Contest rules if operated and controlled by an eligible student.” This interpretation was issued as a temporary clarification that would remain in effect until the entire wording of the rule can be examined and inclusive language developed that embraces the multiplicity of electronic devices and technologies that are available.
Another topic of discussion that is becoming more frequent has to do with summer marching band. The UIL Medical Committee charged to deal primarily with athletic health issues is talking about the possible need for some summer marching band regulations for the month of August. Remember, this is a committee of doctors and health professionals that looks at issues totally from a health and safety perspective.
At its last meeting there was informal discussion about summer marching band. While these committee members act totally in an advisory capacity, the school superintendents who serve on the UIL governing body tend to listen to what they have to say because of their exceptional qualifications in the area of health and safety.
As a result, this past year significant changes pertaining to how pre-season football training is conducted were recommended by the Medical Committee and were enthusiastically adopted by the Legislative Council. Be assured the UIL music office will remain proactive in following this discussion and offering appropriate input when it is called for.
In an effort to address these issues, the Technical Advisory Committee will convene for a special meeting on Friday, Feb. 24. Hopefully, recommendations will emerge from that meeting that will help guide the decision-making process regarding each of the issues discussed above. Comments and suggestions are welcome and may be submitted to the UIL State Music Office. The members of the Technical Advisory Committee are: Brad Bouley (Tomball ISD), Ross Boothman (TMEA President), Mark Chambers (North East ISD), J.D. Janda (Georgetown ISD), Kathy Johnson (Argyle ISD), Brad Kent (Richardson ISD) and Robert Stovall (Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD).
CONCERT AND SIGHT-READING CONTEST REMINDER: Remember that this spring the directors of bands, choirs and orchestras will have three minutes to review the score for the sight-reading music prior to the actual sight-reading process. The exact structure will vary from contest to contest, and some local ground rules may apply because of logistics and facilities. Regardless of how its is structured, please be prepared to effectively utilize this three minute study period as a preface to your sight-reading evaluation.