Director’s News

“Doc Talk”/Class Lesson 6/10/2020

DOC TALK”/CLASS LESSON – Wednesday, June 10, 2020


It has been 2.5 months since this period of quarantine/ “social distancing” began (our last day of school was March 13th).  I still find it hard to believe that this is happening.  The days are so beautiful and thankfully the vast majority of our society is healthy; however, it is chilling when we read about the accounts of people who are suffering and the “heroes” on the front lines that are working with these individuals.  I am thankful that I live in a society that CARES enough about human life to take extraordinary means to protect us; however, I cannot wait for our lives to return to “normal” so that we can enjoy our daily interactions and get back to creating the miracle of music!

I have a puzzle/poster hanging in my home office which reads:



Find a passion and pursue it.

Fall in love.

Dream big.

Make time to enjoy the simple things in life.

Believe in magic.

Tell stories.

Spend time with family.

Forgive even when it’s hard.

Learn more.

Be Creative.

Seize opportunities when they reveal themselves.

Love with all your heart.

Don’t count the minutes count the laughs.

Never give up.

Do what you love.

Be true to who you are.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Try new things.

Work hard.

Embrace change.

Trust in yourself.

Be thankful.

Be nice to everyone.

Be happy.

Live for today.

And above all…make every moment count!


I read this EVERY DAY and try my best to live by it—just like the “Desiderata.”

It serves as a gentle compass for me as I steer through my life…especially in these uncertain times.


Here are a few “coaching” quotes that I’ve discovered during this time of quarantine:


“You don’t HAVE to go to practice.  You GET to go to practice.  Being a part of a team and pursuing your dreams is a privilege!”


“Focus separates those with comparable talent.  When you are focused, you are able to execute at your full capacity.  Consistently good players are consistently focused.”


“Practice is the time to make mistakes.  Push you limits and try new things in practice so you can discover what is left to add to your repertoire.”


“Surround yourself with people who’s priorities match your priorities!”


“There will be moments in which you doubt yourself, but every time you grind through a tough time, you become more able to confront your next challenge.”


“When you get back with your team, there should be at least one thing about you that is noticeably better!”


Just for your reference, here is the listing of “Doc Talks/Lessons” that have been shared since April 13th:

4/13 – Introduction:  Make something positive/good come out of all of this!

4/14 – What’s the score? — A lesson in how to read a music score

4/15 – Practice hints (no video)

4/16 – Berlioz’ “Symphony Fantastique”

4/20 – Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks”

4/21 – Chopin’s “Ballade #1 in g minor”

4/22 – Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3 (Eroica)”

4/23 – My favorite orchestral works (no video)

4/27-29 – Mahler’s “Symphony No. 6,” Movement 1

4/30 – Tchaikovsky’s “Overture to Romeo and Juliet”

5/5 – Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7,” Movement 2

5/5-6 – Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade”

5/7 – Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6”

5/11 – Brahms’s “Symphony No. 1”

5/12 – Mozart’s “Symphony No. 40”

5/14 – Debussy’s “La Mer” (“The Sea”)

5/18 – Holst’s “The Planets” – “Mars”

5/19 – Holst’s “The Planets” – “Venus” and “Mercury”

5/20 – Holst’s “The Planets” – “Jupiter” and “Saturn”

5/21—Holst’s “The Planets” – “Uranus” and “Neptune” (and Matthew’s “Pluto”)

5/26 – Schumann’s “Symphony No. 3 – The Rhenish”

5/27 – Schubert’s “Symphony No. 8 –The Unfinished”

5/28 – Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4”

6/1 – Toy Story and Stravinsky’s “Petrushka,” Tableaux 1-2

6/2 — Toy Story and Stravinsky’s “Petrushka,” Tableaux 3-4

6/3 – Let’s Go to the Opera!  Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Act I

6/4 — Let’s Go to the Opera!  Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Act II

6/8 – Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Movements 1-2

6/9 – Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Movements 3-4


Wow!  What a line up!  I would certainly hope that you found much of this music and the recorded “Doc Talks/Lessons” enjoyable and stimulating!  To be honest, I’ve had a blast preparing them!  You see, I have done this so that I could make something good come out of all these odd times!  I’ve spent hours and hours analyzing scores, listening to recordings, watching great conductors and orchestras, and reading music books.  Basically, I went back to school and took you with me!  I’m really practicing what I’m preaching!


An administrator asked me once, “How many classes did you take on band?”  My answer, “hardly any!”  They were shocked!  I told them that I spent the vast majority of my 10+ years in college developing as a total MUSICIAN and the classical repertoire was the nucleus of everything:  music theory, literature, history, aural skills, composition, piano, conducting, etc.  In my entire 10+ years of college, I took maybe 8 courses which dealt with “band.”


This is not to state that the wind-band genre is insignificant—far from it!  However, it is a very small musical entity in the WORLD of serious music.  And if you don’t have a hunger, a passion, for serious music, a music career is probably not for you?


I am truly honored and privileged to have spent the majority of my life working with wind-bands; however, I will be the first to admit that the repertoire of the orchestra and piano contain the largest number of musical masterworks BY FAR!!!


I got hooked into this music while in high school and the passion for it has only grown throughout the past 40 years!  What is remarkable is how much MORE I hear now than 40 years ago… and there is so much more to learn!  It’s so exciting! 


There is a story of Leonard Bernstein near the end of his life and he is about to conduct a work that he has conducted countless times and lived with his entire life– Beethoven’s “Seventh Symphony” (the one with that gorgeous second movement that we discussed).  His valet enters his hotel room to take him to the concert and he is still in his pajamas…seated at the piano and crying!  Looking at the valet he exclaims… “What am I to do?  I still do not know all of this!”


You can never know it all!  But it is fun to try!


And remember, MUSIC is ESSENTIAL!  It is a part of our universe that is absolute, eternal, pure, and omnipresent.  It is a part of our existence that reminds us each and every day that there is a force of GOOD in this world that nothing can tarnish or destroy.  Perhaps it truly is the voice of God…


Keep learning! 

It’s all good! 

I hope to see you all very soon!

Dr. Jerry Markoch, Director of Bands

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