Marching and playing is a key element to marching band and drum corps. For brass and woodwind players, achieving the same musical level you do standing still while on the move is something that can take a long time to master. Here are a few thoughts to help achieve sounding as good on the move as you do standing still.
• When you’re in music rehearsal, never forgot you will eventually be in visual rehearsal, and then again in ensemble putting everything together. So, when in music rehearsal, focus on separating your upper and lower bodies, so when you eventually add the drill (lower body), your upper body feels the same and you can achieve the same high level musicianship. When you’re in visual rehearsal, always BE a musician. Don’t hold your breath, constantly move your head, or allow the upper body to “sag”. The more you’re a musician when you’re in visual rehearsal, the easier it will be to put them together.
• Remember to fill-up the instrument with air, LOTS of air. The more you can stabilize the instrument when on the move, the truer the sound will be. A general tendency is to lower the amounts of air when on the move, to “conserve” it due to the physical demand. Like a marathon runner, your endurance will GROW over time, so continue to push yourself. Before you know it, you will be able to handle the visual responsibilities while also playing with the same breath control you do while standing still.
• Finally, r-e-l-a-x! The more tension you have throughout your body while on the move, the more difficulty you will have sounding great. Not only does tension prohibit you from creating the sounds you want, it hinders the muscle memory you’ve worked so hard on in music rehearsals when much more relaxed.
Always be a musician, and always be an athlete. That way, when you have to put it all together, you will be a musical athlete!