Music News

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New Music Director Shares 3 Updates to C&CR

By Dr. Brad Kent, Director of Music | Friday, September 06, 2013 1:25 PM

As I sit down to write my first Leaguer article as State Director of Music I would like to share with you my excitement and enthusiasm for serving you, the music teachers in Texas.  The beginning of a new school year is always filled with a renewed sense of optimism and energy that comes from the anticipation of having a fruitful year of learning and accomplishment.  I hope nine months from now you can look back and see that you not only achieved your goals, but most importantly that you made a difference in the lives of your students.  Because, it is through education that we can truly enlighten young minds and shape the future.

From the UIL state music office we have three updates in the 2013-2014 Constitution and Contest Rules.  The first amendment basically expands an option that already exists, the second is an addition that was adopted in the spring and the third gives scheduling flexibility to our regions.

Section 1102 (b) (1) (C) in the 2013-2014 Constitution and Contest Rules allows a student playing a string instrument in a varsity or non-varsity full or string orchestra permission to play a keyboard instrument or harp in another competing orchestra representing the same school.  This allowance already exists for students playing a wind or percussion instrument in a varsity or non-varsity group; we simply extended the same opportunity to string students.

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A Musical Journey: Floyd Retires After Nearly 3 Decades at UIL

By Jamie Oberg, UIL Intern | Friday, May 31, 2013 10:29 AM

Richard Floyd, who started at UIL 29 years ago, will retire this summer. On June 27, Floyd will be one of 13 individuals inducted in the National High School Hall of Fame in Denver, Colorado
Richard Floyd, who started at UIL 29 years ago, will retire this summer. On June 27, Floyd will be one of 13 individuals inducted in the National High School Hall of Fame in Denver, Colorado

UIL Music Director Richard Floyd wears his philosophy close to his heart. In fact, it’s merely inches from it.

It’s a necklace that encourages him daily to always take chances and embrace life’s unpredictability.
“If you turn it certain ways it reads ‘Go for it,’” he explained.

Only Floyd, his wife Cheryl, and his son Weston have the necklaces, which Floyd designed himself and commissioned a local jeweler to create.

“Go for it if you have a vision, just move forward with passion,” Floyd said. “That’s what I’ve tried to do, and I hope people remember me as being passionate and caring and committed.”

And Texas music educators will have no problem remembering that.

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Committees Guide Music Contests

By Richard Floyd, Music Director | Friday, March 01, 2013 12:15 PM

When I’m asked to identify key components that I feel are central to the success of our UIL music programs, one of the first elements that comes to mind is our committee structure. We are blessed with countless directors and music educators who are highly capable and ever willing to serve on committees appointed to guide many facets of our UIL music competitions. This talent pool remains a priceless resource for the good and betterment of our programs. In addition, the engagement of rank and file teachers who are “in the trenches” helps ensure that our events are relevant and in sync with our curriculum and educational objectives.

Committees consist of five to seven members, and in each case, appointees serve rotating terms so there is always sufficient overlap to ensure consistency and continuity. There is also a commitment to maintaining a balance between large schools and small schools as well as middle schools and high schools

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It’s Time to Write the Rating Down

By Mark McGahey, TMAA Concert Band Vice President | Thursday, January 24, 2013 1:47 PM

At the conclusion of a band’s performance at a UIL contest, our job, as music adjudicators, is to give our professional opinion of the performance. What criteria should we use when deciding the rating?

1] Write the summary for tone, technique and musicianship. Remember, we are evaluating the band’s overall achievement, not just a summary of each of the three concert selections.

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January Gives Us Time to Think and Plan for Future

By Richard Floyd, Music Director | Thursday, January 24, 2013 1:35 PM

If there is such a thing, January is perhaps one of the quietest times of the year in the UIL State Music Office. Why? Marching season is behind us, the TMEA Convention is just around the corner and directors are busily preparing for Region Solo and Ensemble Contests while planning their spring concert programs.  Most phone calls and emails have to do with solo and ensemble issues or questions about specific repertoire performance requirements. We take great pride in answering all inquiries in 24 hours or less.

So, what else do we do?  Many years ago while I was still on the faculty at Baylor University, I had a colleague who was a history professor say to me, “Dick, sometimes we forget that one of the things the university pays us to do is to sit and think.”  I never forgot that comment, and I took it to heart.  Sometimes it is wise and productive to simply step back, ask ourselves probing questions and take stock of where we are and where we are going.  In other words, think. January gives us an advantageous opportunity to do so.

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Contest Evaluations Should be Both Postive and Instructive

By Bill Duggan, President of TMAA | Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:00 PM

Greetings from TMAA!  I hope you are having a productive fall.

Most of you are well into a new school year and I hope your experiences thus far have met or exceeded your goals and expectations. I also hope our retired members are fishing, hunting, birding, traveling or whatever makes them happy.

I suppose many of you had the pleasure of judging marching contests throughout the state this fall. I know you were impressed as I was with the quality of our marching bands and how they continue to raise the bar year after year. I’m certain the performances of our choirs, orchestras, and concert bands in the spring will be equally impressive. Congratulations to the UIL State Marching Band winners: in 3A, Argyle High School directed by Kathy Johnson and in 5A, Marcus High School directed by Amanda Drinkwater. All of the bands at the State UIL Marching Contest were outstanding, and these two were particularly special.

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‘They’ Don’t Make the Rules for Music; We All Can Have Input

By Richard Floyd, Music Director | Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:55 AM

“They did it to us again!”  “UIL better wake-up and figure out what they are doing wrong.”  “Those people in Austin are out of touch.”  “Who makes our rules anyway?”

Comments and questions like this can be heard in the exhibit halls at our annual conventions, read on social media chat boards and, in all likelihood, appear on countless Facebook pages. The implication is that rules are made behind closed doors and directors have little or no say in the structure of our contest rules and regulations. It is that mysterious “they” that controls our destiny.

But, in reality, there is no “they.”  The UIL is “us.”  In large part, we make the rules that structure our music competitions. Collectively the music educators of the state of Texas, in cooperation with school administrators, have the opportunity to shape, mold and modify virtually every segment of the UIL Music Plan. Each year rules are examined, proposals considered and modifications adopted in an effort to keep our contests educationally sound and relevant to our evolving educational climate.

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Live Streaming Makes Band Contest More Than a ‘Texas Happening”

By Jeanne Acton, Journalism Director | Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:21 AM

Austin Bowie High School took fourth place at the 5A State Marching Band Contest.
Austin Bowie High School took fourth place at the 5A State Marching Band Contest.

Photo by Jeanne Acton

On Nov. 5 and 6, thousands of high school band students filled the Alamodome with their artistry and musical talent for the 3A and 5A UIL State Marching Band Contest.
And while thousands of parents and fans filled the stadium to watch the performances, more than 3,500 watched from the comfort of their homes and schools.

For the second year in a row the State Marching Band Contest was streamed live over the internet by Mr. Video.

“What the viewers saw was exactly what was on the video wall in the Alamodome and also the content of the DVDs that are produced after the concert,” Music Director Richard Floyd said.

Floyd said the webcast has several benefits. First, it gives parents and members of the communities represented in the competition who could not make the trip to San Antonio the opportunity to view their students in the actual performances.

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SWEF Focuses on Artistic Elements of Music Performance

By Richard Floyd, Music Director | Tuesday, October 02, 2012 1:18 PM

The State Wind Ensemble Contest was established in 1976 as a part of the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest.  During the years that followed this event gradually evolved into the festival format that is in place today. It is now referred to as the State Wind Ensemble Festival (SWEF) and provides an educationally rewarding and positive experience for all participants. This prestigious event is scheduled for May 4, 2013.

Much of the success of this event has been attributed to the Clinician/Commentator component of the format.  This feature allows each performing group to have a 30-minute post concert clinic/critique with a nationally recognized conductor/educator.  The focus of the event is on the subjective, artistic elements of music performance rather than the objective, technical details that tend to dominate critiques in a totally competitive setting.

With the approval of the UIL/TMEA Music Advisory Committee and the UIL Legislative Council the event was modified in 2000 to what many would term a festival format.  The intent of this revision was to build on the most successful elements of SWEF, which cultivate the positive aspects of making music for music’s sake rather than the attainment of an objective rating.  In addition a listening component has been added to emphasize the very important value of becoming good audience members as well as accomplished performers.

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Directors and Adjudicators: Be Realistic, Be Fair and Be Excited

By Daniel Galloway, TMAA Marching Band Vice President | Tuesday, October 02, 2012 1:15 PM

As this marching band season unfolds, I find I have the unique opportunity to reflect on this activity from three different points of view. First, as a director of a competitive marching band program; second, as an active adjudicator for multiple contests;  and finally, as a parent of a student in a marching band program. And, wearing these three hats has tempered my perspective as a director and as an adjudicator. It all boils down to being realistic, being fair and being excited.

As a director I truly believe that setting achievable, educational goals is essential. One must be realistic about the learning curve that will be required to refine the content of a show. All too often I have watched a band attempt to perform a 7:50 show and fall short of a superior rating when a better executed seven-minute show would have easily been rated a Division One.

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