Showing posts from August, 2016

Attention to Detail

"The difference between a good band and a great band is attention to detail." Martin Behnke, Director of Bands, Willamette University, c. 1980 I can still hear him saying it to us. Willamette was (and is) a small college, too small to front a full-blown concert band, too small even to fill every chair of a wind ensemble with highly skilled musicians. There were no auditions; Dr. Behnke assigned chairs based on how well we played during rehearsal, and liked to move people from chair to chair depending on which piece we were playing, which parts he thought needed to be doubled, which players excelled at a certain kind of playing, and whatever other subjective criterion might apply. If, during rehearsal, he saw us growing impatient with his meticulous attention to nailing a certain phrase, he'd remind us in his warm baritone that details matter: intonation, articulation, uniformity of unison playing, balance, precision all figure in the overall excellence of a per