Moving Your Brass Section from Marching Field to Concert Hall

by Denis Wick

I've been teaching now for 8 years, but, this is my 7th year now with Eisenhower. Before I started at Eisenhower, I taught pre-K through 6th grade general music and choir. So, to come to a high school band setting was something that I really wanted to do really from when I was student teaching. 

This year's marching band program is called the Tell Tale Heart, written by Keith Poulamp. The biggest thing we're working on now in our show is trying to create a warm, dark concert sound on the football field. I think that's always been our biggest issue with marching band because a lot of students naturally feel as though they have to play as loud as they can in order to project out onto the football field but what that does is it really destroys balance, blend, and intonation.

Since using the Denis Wick mouthpieces, the clarity in the brass section has been absolutely outstanding. It's been night and day. We used to have a muddy tone outside, it was very tough to hear inner voices, especially in the mellophones and 2nd trombone voices. Now that we have the Denis Wick mouthpieces, students have taken a liking to them. We hear parts so much more clearer now and again, because they're new, the students are excited to learn - excited to continue to practice. As a result of that, their show has got significantly better.  

When Denis Wick came here to give our students the opportunity to perform these pieces, they got a chance to select their own. And those mouthpieces have been very similar from one student to the next. The tone has become crystal clear - every part in all of the brass and brass choir has been able to come to the four much better than it ever has. Our students have been playing on stock mouthpieces for so long, so now to get something of very good quality onto those horns, it's really night and day. The kids noticed it from day one. That's really helped out our sound, not only in the concert band setting, but also on the marching field. 

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