Director’s News

Doc’s Lesson 4/13/2020

Link to the VIDEO


Written Summary



-WOW!  It has been exactly one month since we last met (March 13th)!!!  If you told me that this was going to happen, I would say that “you were crazy!”  (What do I know???—right?)

-Seniors:  It is my understanding that according to WCPSS, you are DONE!  You are highly encouraged to continue to learn and take part in your classes; however, your grades cannot be negatively impacted by non-participation.  I will provide details about the return of music/instruments/equipment once we find out what is going to happen after May 15th.

-Juniors/Sophomores/Freshmen:  Please be sure to submit your Course Registration Form for the 2020-21 school year.  You can contact your counselor if you have any questions.  I sincerely hope that I will see most of you in band next year!!!

-Although no mention has been made about what is going to happen after May 15th, my gut feeling tells me that we will not physically return to “school” this academic year.  I am hoping that we will be able to resume normal activities by July 1st so that our marching season will not be shortened/altered.  I want to wait a few more weeks before we decide what to do about section leader/captain/drum major interviews and auditions.  Please do not worry about what we cannot control.  I promise you that we will take decisive action when we must; however, I want to get a better idea of what the remainder of the school year will be like before we make any important decisions about next year.



-Overview of the letter that I sent dated 4/11/20.

-Private teacher contact information (for video lessons):

Amy Holt (flute)

Janet Shurtleff (oboe)

Bill Coye (bassoon)

Jimmy Gilmore (clarinet)

Justin Berry (saxophone)

Lisa Burn (trumpet)

Andy Kleindienst (low brass)


*Please note that the school cannot pay for these lessons; if interested, you can work out a payment with the instructor.  Most would be very appreciative for the opportunity to work with you at this time!

-Make something GOOD out of the existing situation!!!

-This is a bit like graduate school where YOU are more responsible for your research, industry and learning.  You get out of anything what you put into it.

-Consider undertaking a “music project”:  study music history, theory, composition; watch performance and instruction videos about your instrument; read music books—you can purchase USED BOOKS/SCORES from Amazon very inexpensively!  Be curious!  Explore!

-Watch my video about the “health project” that I did as a 9th grader!

-Consider making yourself a daily schedule to help you stay focused during this time.

-Remember, for every 30 minutes of music study that you undertake, you are rewarded 1 point for the week.

-What I have been doing the past 4 weeks:

-I share my birthdate (7/7) with the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler.  I have always enjoyed his music; however, I have really gone CRAZY studying it.  I purchased USED books and scores of most of his symphonies.

-Mahler wrote mainly HUGE symphonies (9 completed and part of a 10th) and a few song collections.  In his symphonies, he writes for the woodwinds, brass and percussion as much as the strings.  His writing is so eclectic and creative—it is a wonderful mix of sonorities, programmatic and absolute elements, formal and narrative design.

-Please watch video as I discuss some of the highlights of his life and work.

-An Easter fun-fact:  One of his most well-known works is his “Resurrection Symphony, Symphony No. 2.  It is a 5-movement work and utilizes a chorus (like the Beethoven 9th symphony).  The final climax (last 5 minutes) is “colossal” (Mahler’s word).



1) Explore the internet about music topics that you may be interested in learning more about.

2) Find out what composer(s) share your birthday or a date very close to your date.  Read about their lives and works.  Although highly coincidental, explore any connection between your lives.

3) Listen to the last 5 minutes of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2—I love the Leonard Bernstein recording.  OMG!  If this doesn’t elevate your spirit, you are not alive!


Basic message of the text (as written by both Mahler and Friedrich Klopstock):


“Arise, yes, you will arise from the dead,

My dust, after a short rest!

Eternal life

Will be given you by Him who called you


To bloom again are you sown.

The lord of the harvest goes

And gathers the sheaves,

Us who have died.”

Dr. Jerry Markoch, Director of Bands

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Wed, 29 May 2024
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