Everyone starts somewhere

At the start of this school year, my son joined 5th grade band—his first foray as a member of a full instrumental ensemble. He is learning the alto saxophone on top of already playing piano and drum set. In a few short weeks, I’ve watched him evolve from being unable to make any sounds with only the mouthpiece to playing notes on a fully assembled instrument.

At the same time, I’ve seen him leave his mouthpiece randomly laying around on the coffee table and have heard the clank as he accidentally dropped his neck piece on the ground. He is also learning to care for reeds for the first time.

Therefore, it is extremely fitting that this issue of Halftime Magazine includes an article about instrument care. In this feature story, we cover cleaning, maintaining and protecting your woodwind and brass instruments from the wear and tear of routine use as well as from the special rigors of marching band.

This summer, my son also had the opportunity to participate in a color guard group at day camp. I proudly watched him and his team perform flag maneuvers including drop spins and behind-the-back spins in a choreographed routine that they learned in only two weeks. Since the age of two, he has been an avid spectator of the marching arts—especially enjoying the color guard—so he had a great time trying it out.

With his various interests, he is the perfect candidate for being able to perform in multiple sections of the band or for sectional switching in between seasons. Many marching ensembles are “Blending Band & Guard” either by necessity or by design. Instructors are either teaching new skills or taking advantage of their members’ abilities to perform in various roles.

As the marching arts continue to evolve and my son’s skills continue to expand, I look forward to seeing how they will converge more and more in the future.

Keep on Marching,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

About the author

Christine Ngeo Katzman

Christine Ngeo Katzman is founder and chief executive officer of Muse Media, LLC, creator of books, magazines, and additional content highlighting performing arts and youth activities. Magazine assets include Halftime Magazine for marching arts participants and fans as well as Yamaha SupportED Magazine for K through 12 music educators. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Crain Communications and Imagination Publishing and a marketing manager at Chatsworth Products, Inc. Christine also worked for Yamaha Band and Orchestral Division. As a child, Christine learned five instruments, with flute being primary. She marched in the Northwestern University Marching Band, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. Christine graduated cum laude from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1997 and earned an MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in 2007.

Sweet Second Victory for Avon

Find out the results of the 2009 Bands of America Grand National Championships. From Halftime Magazine, a print and online publication about the marching arts.