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Poplarville band ready for the new semester

The holiday season was a busy time for the Poplarville band as the musicians prepared for a Christmas parade and Christmas concert.

Band Director Josh Tidwell had his musicians focus on perfecting the pieces he had chosen for the concert and paradeduring the month of November.

The work paid off as the band cruised through both the parade and concert the first week of December.

Following the end of the first semester’s performances, Tidwell tasked his students with focusing on passing scales and sight reading challenges as the program shifted focus to concert season.

Tidwell said he’s been trying to make his musicians more aware of the sound they produce when playing their respective instruments.

Anyone can pick up an instrument and make noise, but he said he wants to make sure his students understand how to produce the best sound possible.

“We never try to lose focus on that, if you put it to a backburner it starts to slide. You’re constantly having to be aware of it and do exercises, so it doesn’t slide,” Tidwell said.

The Christmas concert included pieces Tidwell chose because he knew his band was capable of performing them.

It was a proactive decision, so the musicians wouldn’t have to spend all their time rehearsing and could instead focus on tone quality and intonation.

Focusing on the little things has improved the musicians’ ability to understand music put in front of them, an important skill when considering the sight-reading portion of concert season.

Sight reading is when a band is given a piece of music but has only a small amount of time to learn the piece without playing it, then performing the music in front of a judge. It was a test Tidwell said the students grasped quickly.

“For the vast majority of the group there were very few students who were inaccurate with some of rhythmic content and making sure they had the correct fingerings for the notes,” Tidwell said.

Even with all of the positives to draw from the recent performances, Tidwell said there is still a struggle for the band members to gain confidence.

Performing in the band hall can be a less stressful experience than putting on a concert in front of a large crowd. The nerves caused by performing in front of a crowd can easily affect a musician’s ability to perform at their normal level and because of this Tidwell said it’s integral to his band’s success that the musicians find their confidence.

“I need to make sure their confidence level doesn’t drop whenever they get onto a performance stage,” Tidwell said.