Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Outline Your Winter Guard Show

When writing a winter guard show, it pays to be organized so all the components of your show come together.  Drill needs to match the choreography and it all needs to match your music.  Once you have your music picked out, the next step is it make an outline of your show. Begin by listening to your music. A lot. Over and over.  Discover the different layers and timing of the piece. Now you can write your music map.

The first step is to make a list of counts and which part of music it corresponds to. Like this:

1-16: intro
1-32: verse 1
1-32: verse 1
1-16: bridge
1-32: chorus
1-8:   transition
1-32: verse 2... and so on.

Next you can add details about what is happening in each section of music.  You can list the timing of big hits, cymbal crashes, quiet parts, or even lyrics. Like this:

1-16: intro (piano)
1-32: verse 1 (cymbal crash on count 9)
1-32: verse 1
1-16: bridge (building bigger)
1-32: chorus (big!)
1-8:   transition (instrumental)
1-32: verse 2 (says "turn around" on counts 13-15)... and so on. 

Finally you can outline what will happen in your show for each section of music. Like this:

1-16: intro -- solo dancer
1-32: verse 1 -- small group of flags enter. flag toss on count 9
1-32: verse 1 -- continue flag work
1-16: bridge -- add-on flag work, adding more members on floor
1-32: chorus -- large ensemble flag feature
1-8:    transition -- rifle line exits floor to exchange equipment. feature small flag line
1-32: verse 2 -- rifle line enters. performers turn or face back on counts 13-15... and so on.

Once you have this outline all laid out for your show, it is so much easier to write your drill and choreography. You'll know all the important counts to hit and where each toss or feature should occur.  You can also share this outline with all the other instructors so everyone can work on different sections of the show and not be confused about where each part it.  This extra work before you start is a great way to keep your show organized and will facilitate a smooth process. Good luck!

THANKS FOR READING! For more tips and fun stuff about the marching arts OR if you are interested in custom Winter Guard show design, drill, and choreography or Marching Band drill and Color Guard choreography, check out my website at marchandspin.com.

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