Competitive indoor guard is an exciting branch of the pageantry arts with approximately 10,000 young people participating in units in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe.
Local organizations are developing, which are governed by the units themselves. The organizations, often called â€˜circuits,â€™ provide competitions many weekends from January- March. Attached to most circuits are adjudication associations which provide judges for the competitions of the circuits. These judging associations may be separately governed or attached to the circuit as a separate branch of that circuit.
Responsibility of the circuit:
â€¢ Develop growth in the activity at the local level.
â€¢ Administer local competitions.
â€¢ Assure that the units are properly adjudicated.
â€¢ Communicate information pertinent to the activity.
What is WGI?
WGI was founded in l977 to draw together the growing winter color guard activity, standardize rules, and provide leadership and guidance. Now there is an international organization that offers:
â€¢ Standardized judging criteria within the activity.
â€¢ Improved communication.
â€¢ Cooperation of local circuit organizations.
â€¢ An Educational Division offering clinics, printed and video materials regarding the color guard and indoor percussion activities.
â€¢ A network of Regional contests in the U.S., Canada and Europe culminating in an annual International Championship in April.
All WGI contests provide two divisions of competition specifically for:
â€¢ Scholastic – units whose membership comes from the SAME High School or a school that feeds to that particular High School.
â€¢ Independent – units whose members are not necessarily associated with a particular school.
The units are then further divided into classes:
â€¢ A Class – Beginning programs and performers.
â€¢ Open Class – The intermediate developmental level of performers.
â€¢ World Class – The most advanced programs and performers.
WGI provides many services for those interested in the guard activity. Here are just a few:
â€¢ Educational Videos for instructors and judges O â€œFOCUSâ€ WGIâ€™s magazine
â€¢ Regional Contests
â€¢ World Championships
â€¢ Guard Souvenirs
â€¢ Championship Performance Videos O Judging Manuals
â€¢ Support Literature
â€¢ Public Relations Support
â€¢ Associate memberships
â€¢ Judges training
WGI is interested in you and your concerns or suggestions. We are always available for dialog with people interested in pageantry and what it provides for our youth.
Exploring the Possibility of an Indoor Guard
Directors confront many questions when considering the expansion of an existing program to include an indoor guard ensemble.
â€¢ What is an indoor winter guard?
â€¢ What kind of time is involved?
â€¢ How will the students benefit?
â€¢ What are the rules and guidelines?
â€¢ Where can I find the rules and guidelines?
A winter guard program is not only educationally sound, it can have a dramatic and positive influence on the total marching band program if it is a part of a scholastic group.
In a school situation, the winter guard is a co-curricular or extra-curricular activity, which offers participation to both boys and girls. Usually its purpose is similar to that
of a sports team:
â€¢ To strive for excellence
â€¢ To develop teamwork
â€¢ To learn sportsmanship
â€¢ To achieve the highest possible ranking in your competitive circle
â€¢ To entertain
Unlike sports teams, the entertainment factor makes this program unique. It can be likened to theatre with elements of drama or a musical. This added dimension provides the students with an exposure beyond that offered through the marching band program. Thus, the indoor guard opportunity is a blend of that produces â€œThe Sport of the Arts.â€
A valuable experience for winter guard performers is an interaction with students from other communities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. The success of this activity is rich in those areas and growing in Europe and Asia. This social and competitive exchange with groups of their own age from different backgrounds, lifestyles and educational experiences adds another facet to their self-perception while creating lasting friendships!
Winter guard has the latitude to perform at a local level with much the same scope as an athletic team, or they may choose to expand and include performances in other parts of the country affording an opportunity for trips visiting historical and cultural sites. A combination of both types of schedule is also possible.
Very few co-curricular activities offer students an experience, which challenges and stimulates growth on so many levels:
â€¢ Time Sequence
â€¢ Through Organization
â€¢ Team Work
â€¢ Group Cooperation
The activity demands physical involvement in rehearsal and performance involving muscle tone, conditioned response to music and other stimuli, simultaneous coordination of head, arms, legs, body stature as well as poise and control while experiencing physical and mental pressure.
The mental training requires multi-levels of thought organization including portrayal of moods harmonious with other performers, and understanding of why they execute each move and advance awareness of what the next move will be and why it is there. The cumulative result of such physical and mental discipline is a student with deeper feelings of understanding, a more disciplined focus which finds its way into study habits in scholastic efforts and a higher level of self-confidence.
A winter guard program will expand the techniques of those who comprise the street and field marching unit in just the same way that concert band, stage band and winter percussion lines continue the development of those skills with subsequent impact on the excellence of the music program.
Socially, members learn to function in a group situation setting common goals, cooperating and striving for success as a team.
The many outlets for performances available to a scholastic winter guard, besides contests, include the regular school activity schedule of rallies, basketball half-times or assemblies for special events which will show the activity to the school community. Other students will become more interested in the program; faculty members are always impressed and the audiences (parents and students alike) enjoy the show for its entertainment value. Within the community there are always organizations looking for varied forms of entertainment and where space is adequate, the indoor guard show can win tremendous support for the band program.
Competition as a Basis to Measure and Appreciate Excellence
Competition in and of itself generates a divided position on the part of many educators who fear a misplaced focus on winning at any cost. Because WGI is based on education, that subject has had careful study and on going scrutiny. Competition in this arena is the means whereby we teach the following:
â€¢ Recognition and appreciation of the achievements of your competitors
â€¢ A barometer whereby you measure achievement against a set of standards
â€¢ A means to recognize your own potential by achieving more than you thought
â€¢ Putting competition in a light of discovery and growth rather than winning as
Competition exists in todayâ€™s world in every walk of life. To prepare our youth with techniques that will keep this aspect in a healthy focus while discovering and enjoying their own excellence may be our greatest gift to them.
When investigating competitions, look for other schools in the area that are already competing; identify their officers who can acquaint you with the rules, show procedures and schedules of contests and related events. If there are no visible organizations, you may contact the WGI office for information regarding your nearest guard circuit and who to contact.
Within the abundant opportunities for growth, physical expression, leadership and self- discipline for guard members, the director/advisor also finds the satisfying reward of seeing youngsters realize their potential in such an exciting and positive manner.
Steps to Starting a Winter Guard
This challenging project will prove to be a very rewarding experience to the membership, staff, and the management. Many guards are part of a larger
organization or are self supporting. When starting a competitive guard you should consider the following aspects:
Structure of the Organization
If you are part of a larger organization, the structure will already be in place. Determine the role of the guard within the larger framework. Understand the reporting relationships, job descriptions, goals of the guard relative to the parent body, etc. Chances are that legal considerations may already be in place because of the parent body.
If you are starting a new organization, your structure and foundation is of utmost importance. You will need to form a management structure taking into consideration the following:
â€¢ Constitution/By laws-Officers
â€¢ Non-Profit status 501 (c) 3
â€¢ Tax-Exempt status
â€¢ Leadership/reporting relationships
â€¢ Job descriptions
â€¢ Budget/financial system/insurance
â€¢ Goals (long and short term)
Instruction will be needed to address the selection of music, program design, equipment, technique of movement and teaching and perfecting the product, etc. These duties may be done by a single individual or several, depending on the resources available and your needs. In some instances the management and instructor may be the same individual. If you are a scholastic guard, donâ€™t overlook the possible talent from your music faculty.
In order to compete using WGI rules, an Independent A or Open class unit must all be 22 years of age or UNDER at the time of the their specific class finals at the WGI World Championships. An Independent World Class unit may select members of all ages. Units competing as scholastic guards must have all members attending the same school or a school that feeds that particular high school.
If a local circuit/association is already established in your general area, contact them for information on membership, dues, obligations, judging clinics, rules, etc. Most established circuits have a level of competition for the new/inexperienced unit. If a circuit is not available in your general area, contact the WGI office and we will try to help get something started or direct you to the closest circuit available.
The organization will need a mode of transportation to contests; consider buses, vans, or individual cars. Funds and length of trips may determine what you wish to use.
Obviously, you will need the appropriate equipment which includes flags, optional rifles and/or sabres. Some units even involve special props which are an option and these are almost always designed and/or made by the group.
Indoor facilities will be needed with a minimum floor space of 55â€™ X 80â€™.
From time to time you will need housing for camps or overnight trips. You will want to check into gyms, hotels, private homes, rec centers, etc.
Finances and Budgets
This will depend on how ambitious you wish to be. All of the above considerations involve cost and will have to be considered in light of your organization and structure. Since the contest situation does not offer money in a prize structure, fund raising becomes and important part of your program. There are tons of websites that offer unique ideas for fundraisers!
Rules and Regulations
Study the rules and score sheets and philosophy of programming carefully. The staff members should understand them so they know what is expected of them, and so they can start out with the greatest opportunity for success. Rules, score sheets and adjudication manuals can be purchased from the WGI office.
Planning the Program
There are three components that are cornerstones to a successful indoor program. They are the identity or personality of the guard, the concept and design of the show and the training and excellence of the performerâ€™s skills. This material is designed to assist units to stand out and be unique. There is a tendency to overlook aspects of personality within the guard and to pick music that lacks real staying power and interest. Often there just doesnâ€™t seem to be the time to go through all the steps we will discuss, but their importance really cant be stressed enough.
Designing an Identity
Image- Personality- Style
There is an innate collective personality that exists with the members of your guard. This personality or identity is influenced by their social and economic situation, their beliefs, attitudes, values and goals. They bring to your guard some built-in properties that can serve you well in understanding your members, capitalizing on who they are and helping them to discover the best of who they can be. The other component will be those same values, beliefs, attitudes and goals of your staff. Unless the two are compatible, you could find yourself with a conflict you really donâ€™t
These two groups will combine to form the core personality of who you collectively are. This core personality or identity will remain the base of your guard. It will evolve and grow, but will essentially be the same. It is upon this base that you will develop the second aspect of what we call identity. Each program you create will call for a particular style, look, role and character. This secondary element becomes a part of
the design of each show. Here is where the members act out the exploration of the many varied options you will give them.
Most teens are in their search of who they are. You can provide them with a unique
opportunity to investigate many possibilities in the safety of the guard family. You
can give them the confidence to discover who they are and who they can become.
For this reason, the process involved here is an important development for them and
for you. You are encouraged to invest in these steps.
Know Your Members
Discover their individual personalities, fears, circumstances, strengths, opinions and preferences.
Know Yourself and Your Staff
Understand your individual personalities, weaknesses, circumstances, strengths, and opinions.
Explore with Music
Music opens up lines of communication. See what the kids relate to, take them beyond the top 40 by introducing a variety of sounds, watch their physical response to the music. Talk about what the music feels like, what it looks like. A little improve shows you who is willing to get up and perform as well as how motivating the music is to them and how they act it out. Observe the gestures, attitudes, and responses you get from the students and begin to put together a look for your show based at least somewhat on their natural responses and their feedback to you and to one another as they share in this process.
Motivate Your Members
Generate enthusiasm, build confidence, be positive and honest. Set a standard for your groupâ€”they will reflect you! You will become the energy source from which they will draw. Eventually they will return that energy to you when you need it most. Find time to laugh at yourself and with them.
Design a Look, and Attitude and a Personality
Use the collective guard personality as the basis for your program role and character. Define the character or role of the program. Spend time directing how they should feel when they are playing their part. Give them specific gestures and attitude for the role.
**Remember this is a process; donâ€™t look for all of this to happen in one rehearsal. It is an ongoing effort. The most memorable groups have a clear defined look and attitude.**
Music Music Music
Shopping for a tune? Remember it sets the mood, leads the dance, grabs the audience and lets you show your virtuosity.
Itâ€™s that time of year when designers are searching for the perfect vehicle to inspire and formulate their winter guard shows. In recent years we have enjoyed original, classical, ethnic, rock, jazz music and music designed to startle the listener, intricately orchestrated. There is no question at all that designers must have creative freedom in the selection of the music and creation of the musical book. However, once that music is selected, once the design team sets out to illustrate their vision of that program, then a whole new set of issues arise.
We have been talking about pacing of the show for years. Where, when, how and why effects are planned into a show has an enormous correlation to how the musical program lays out. The whole concept of pacing begins with the selection of the show tunes and how music is edited. Always consider the need for the kind of contrast and development, which can guide many shows to create a successful coordinated effect. Always be concerned with the kind of impact points and visual resolutions, which our activity has come to recognize as effective tools within the program. Tension and release is an important consideration within the effect caption.
The whole history of reacting to the effectiveness of a program involves mood and appeal and reality is that it will be the musical choice that will set this in motion. One of the most commonly shared response mechanisms in people is their reaction to music/sound. Donâ€™t lose site of this fact when selecting your show tunes. Know your audience. Be prepared for how they will respond to your choices. Know the rules of competition and the tenets of good programming and be certain that your show tunes will set you up to fulfill all the qualities which produce an effective and successful program. Consider these points as you begin your show planning when you are out there shopping for a tune.
The Program and its Concept
Your program concept, musical choice and visual style contribute largely to set you apart from the many others in your class. Strive to be remembered as you create your program.
Consider these Options
â€¢ Create a musical soundtrack that will showcase you and your best assets as you create your visual illustration.
â€¢ Donâ€™t select music that demands a skill you donâ€™t have. Be careful of music with more depth than you can illustrate. Can you pull it off?
â€¢ Never create a program a piece at a time. Select music that can be designed to create a whole show. Have the master plan in place before you begin.
Consider these Questions
â€¢ Does it have highs and lows?
â€¢ Does it have opportunity to develop ideas?
â€¢ Does it have impact and effect built in?
â€¢ Does it provide contrast?
â€¢ Will the students be able to relate to it?
â€¢ Will the audience understand it?
â€¢ Does it have a great ending? It Must!
â€¢ Can you produce a count sheet to it? Do you understand the count sheet?
â€¢ Will it show your guard off to their best advantage?
â€¢ Does it inspire creativity?
Know what is going on in the activity…Study lots of other Guards.
Create an accessible program. Be unique and proud of who you are.
Be very careful of going too high up the abstraction ladder. Young performers often have a hard time with abstract interpretation.
Tasteful attire to support the character, role, personality, and body of the performer; consider function, color, design, fabric, style, and taste
Function of the Costume
â€¢ Depict a role or character
â€¢ Adapt to stage (color and distance)
â€¢ Accommodate mobility (freedom of equipment/movement)
In Selecting Colors Consider
â€¢ Your stage is a â€œyellowâ€ gym floor or a colored floor covering which you purchase.
â€¢ Visibility to the audience
â€¢ Readability of body and equipment
â€¢ Have a color wheel and know the hues, gradation and color families
â€¢ A vivid costume color will draw focus to the body and dominate over equipment
â€¢ A subliminal color on the body may not emphasize what you are doing at that level and allow the color emphasis to go to the equipment
Consider the body shapes you have to deal with. Always design with the extremes of body shapes in mind.
â€¢ Consider the character or role you will portray.
â€¢ Consider whether or not you wish to use any removable costume parts as props.
â€¢ How long will you want to use this costume?
â€¢ Will they be homemade or custom made? What level sewing skill do you have?
â€¢ Consider your budget.
â€¢ Be sure you can move. Avoid binding in the body or restricting the function of the arms or legs.
â€¢ Consider how excessive fabric will impact on drill lines as to clarity. Flowing fabric wont give a clear line.
â€¢ Decide if that is a problem.
â€¢ Consider whether you will use removable parts of the uniform as a prop.
â€¢ Know your optionsâ€”Lycra, spandex, lame, polyester, silk
â€¢ How many sessions do you want to use these costumes? Consider durability, laundering, wear and tear.
â€¢ Is there a particular look that accommodates your style either musically orvisually?
â€¢ Know what is appropriate for classical, jazz, modern, and theatrical styles.
â€¢ Knowing all of that, make intelligent sensitive choices in a unique and original approach. Be one of a kind.
â€¢ Taste is what you like
â€¢ Having taste implies an educated and discriminating awareness.
â€¢ Showing taste implies a sensitivity to your audience and their taste.
â€¢ Being tasteful implies application of all of the above.
â€¢ Tasty means that it worked.
The Reality Is…
â€¢ Be sensitive to changing young bodies.
â€¢ Remember the age group you teach.
â€¢ Remember if you represent a school.
â€¢ Avoid sleaze.
â€¢ Never dress your members in ugly attire.
â€¢ Class is often equated to taste.
â€¢ It is better to be understated than overstated.
An attractive and tasty costume will make the students feel special and will cost no more to create. There is no substitute for taste and detail.
Equipment and Props Designed to Display Physical Skills
â€¢ These are an extension of your costumes and should be designed to coordinate to them and one another. Consider shape, line, fabric, color and design.
â€¢ Know how you will use them within the show or on the stage.
â€¢ Know what musical ideas you will be interpreting and how they will augment these ideas.
â€¢ Be creative…design new props!
The word design implies a uniqueness and originality. Anyone can copy; it takes
genius and daring to be original. Make each design choice uniquely your own.
Planning your Basic Movement Training
Based on the show concepts, style and personality, design the proper training for the following components of movement. Include warm-up and technique instruction. Little will be as important to you as the correct training time you will invest in your students. Donâ€™t short change this investment.
â€¢ Movement fundamentalsâ€”preparing the body for heightened responsibilities
â€¢ Basics of step-time-space-line
â€¢ Method of traveling
â€¢ Turns-jumps-leaps-into and out of the ground
â€¢ Postural and gestural qualities
â€¢ Dance techniques
â€¢ Expressive qualities of movement dynamics (weight/time/space/flow)
Movement rehearsal should be done in appropriate attireâ€”clothing that will allow the instructor to watch for posture, alignment, starts of moves, etc. Bulky attire will conceal this development of body skills relative both to movement and the manipulation of equipment. Wear the kind of shoe you will wear in the show.
Basics/technique classes should follow a pattern. Consistency will encourage focus and achievement. Set the example for your students. Discipline should be understood and self- imposed. Screaming at the students will only put tension into the body and impair productivity.
Donâ€™t let students practice errors. Your observation skills must be sharp and you must know how to make corrections. Be able to do what you ask of your students; much of what they learn will be through observation.
The three basic approaches from which to choose in designing your show are:
Geometric Drillâ€”use of basic forms, circle, square, cone, cylinder, linear, curvilinear. This is what most have known over the years.
Freeform, Textured, Segmentedâ€”this approach to form design provides contrast from the starkness of line geometric drill and opens up the stage to more dimensional equipment moves.
Theatricalâ€”here we deal with staging, entrances, exits and interaction between sections or characters.
Consider the following design points as you plan your show:
â€¢ Balance is an important factor in successful design. Design may be either symmetric (formally balanced) or asymmetric (informally balanced). Freeform does require balance.
â€¢ Visual ideas should flow or evolve logically from one to another.
â€¢ Where you stage a picture or set is important to control the focus of your design.
â€¢ Always write your form show knowing in advance what kind of visual concepts you with to present because this will tell you how much space to plan on.
â€¢ Staging of sections will make a difference in how your visual effects/presentations will work.
â€¢ Know in advance what kind of equipment presentation is suitable for the drill form or set you have designed.
â€¢ The closer the space in any form, the stronger the intensity/ dynamics of the move will be. The more open the space, the lesser the intensity/dynamics will be.
â€¢ Single bounding line forms, using all the performers in one big picture, are an important opportunity to create a major impact or resolution to a musical/visual idea. This often is successful at the start or resolution of a big idea.
â€¢ Contrast is an important feature to successful design. If you have done line geometric drill, give thought to creating contrast through texture or
segmentation. If you have been doing segmentation, texture or theatre, give some relief or contrast to the eye through geometric-line drill.
â€¢ Be sure your design is clear and readable and pleasing to the eye.
â€¢ Be sure your concept exists on the floor as well as in your mind.
The design team must work together to plan and create a good design. Your staging person must know in advance when to open up space or where to segment for feature ideas or when you create that big picture for a full ensemble equipment statement.
Both Musically and Visually
â€¢ Pace your show
â€¢ Contour you show
â€¢ Provide visual and musical interest through contrast
â€¢ Remember the importance of staging-focus-continuity-coordination-layering appeal and effect
A Simplified Look at the Scoring System
The WGI scoring system credits both the performer and the designer. The close relationship between the design and the performers is quite simple. Without the design, there is nothing for the students to perform. Without the performers, the design does not exist. The blend of the two is inseparable and fully interdependent. What the students are given is their â€œcurriculumâ€ and how they do it, is their achievement. For that reason, each score sheet is divided into considerations of both what and how.
The scoring system is designed to mirror the process the designers follow in creating the color guard show. First the design team has a â€œconceptâ€ or a plan for a program. Next, they â€œstructureâ€ that plan (much like an architect would draw up plans for a building). Finally they detail the plan with the visual language of Color Guard (the equipment and movement vocabulary & role or identity of the guard). Then the training prepares the students to handle and achieve all of the elements within their show.
Five judges view the show with specialized focus. Two judges evaluate the Effect of the program. This caption embodies all components of the show such as the effect of the staging, equipment/body moments, musicality, and originality/imagination and entertainment quality. This same judge rewards the ability of the performers to communicate the program to the audience and the judge.
One judge evaluates the mechanical and artistic quality of the design of staging, equipment and body. The judge also credits the technical and expressive achievement of the performers. This individual is the Ensemble Analysis judge. The equipment judge, measures the depth, range and variety of the equipment challenges, commonly referred to as the equipment vocabulary. At the same time, the students are credited based on the depth of their technical and expressive training and the degree of achievement of the material they are performing.
In the exact same way, the movement judge measures the depth, range and variety of the movement challenges, commonly referred to as the movement vocabulary. At the same time, the students are credited based on the depth of their technical and expressive training and the degree of achievement of the material they are performing.
The GE judges and the Ensemble judge view the program from the highest vantage point in the competition venue in order to see and credit the â€œwholeâ€ of the show. The equipment and movement judges are much closer to the performers in order to see the training and technique demonstrated by the performers.
The combination of these considerations produces a full assessment of both what the students are performing as well as how well they are achieving.
Inconsistent exposure places both judges and guards at a disadvantage. The local judge will be measuring the unitâ€™s growth; the WGI judge will be unaware of this factor but will be trying to grade relative to all the other class A or Open Guards viewed that season. This difference can reflect in the scores.
When a large number of guards are very similar to each other, either in program or achievement, judgesâ€™ rankings may be more at variance resulting in placement differences. This is why we encourage the guards to establish a personality and program that will set them apart from their competitors and perhaps offer them a competitive edge.
The size of the contest can influence ratings significantly as more and more guards come together and must be ranked. Early season smaller regionals sometimes yield scores that are higher than is appropriate in light of the fact that shows are often not fully complete and the judgeâ€™s number base is not yet established. Subsequent larger regionals expose the guards to a broader field of competitors and the process of ranking can lower the earlier score in some cases.
One of the biggest questions in the minds of most instructors, arise at Championships when the double panels will yield ranking differences of 10-14 places. The obvious instinctive reaction is that one of the judges is incompetent. Usually it will be the judge with the lowest ranking. The truth of the matter is that when judges have seen some of the units and not others, there is a different familiarity put into the mix. Sometimes there has been an opportunity to critique with those instructors and the guard may stand out in the judgeâ€™s mind. Couple this with the similarity between many guards. (especially in the middle of the class) and these ranking separations can easily occur.
One of the prime purposes of the double panel at Championships is to assure the unit of the fairness that the average score will yield. Over the years, it has become very clear that for the most part, the average score is usually quite fair and equitable.
The instructorsâ€™ focus should go to this average score and ranking more than to the individuals who comprised the team that produced that average score.
There is a strong potential impact relative to guards who may be competing in the wrong class. Because this criterion is so strongly attuned to the curriculum involved in the developmental process, should a guard compete in an inappropriate class; their score will soundly reflect this. For example, a group competing in the Open class who is truly more suited in the World class, or a guard competing in the A class who is truly more suited to be in Open class, may receive early season scores in upper box 4 and 5, suggesting that a reclassification may be an order. The same is true of those who are competing in a class beyond their skill level the box 2 scores they could receive will indicate this same mis- classification suggesting a move to a
It now becomes extremely important for all guards to place themselves in the proper class. This is of particular concern in local circuits where some guards re-group for the purpose of having balanced numbers of groups in each of their local classes.
Keep a notebook identifying the strengths and weaknesses the judges point out. Try to set your lesson plan to incorporate areas identified for improvement. Indicate your growth and continue to add to your book noting subsequent comments and whether or not the focus areas are improving. If serious scoring inconsistencies should occur, call it to the attention of the Chief Judge and ask that it be looked into. This will vary somewhat within the local judging circuit and WGI. Each judging focus will be influenced by differing factors as mentioned earlier.
How to be a Successful and Effective Teacher
Many of todayâ€™s instructors come from the unique school of â€œpast experience.â€ Some bring a wonderful sense of work ethics, personal sensitivity and technical knowledge. Some carry harsh and difficult mannerisms and a lack of organization or focus. They are all the products of their own learning experiences and have only their own teachers after whom they can pattern their style. Many are young guard graduates who donâ€™t have the maturity or experience helpful in any teaching situation. With the tremendous growth of winter guards within the scholastic arena we now find the added responsibility of being in tune with the various attitudes, chains of command, budgetary and time limitations, involvement of parents and the list goes on and on. The following information is intended to assist the guard instructor in understanding those areas which could make their lives easier and lead them and their students to more rapid and higher success.
What are the Qualifications of a Good Instructor
â€¢ They are fully competent to teach all techniques involved in the area for which they are hired whether it is program design, technique, movement, or instruction.
â€¢ They understand their moral and ethical responsibilities relative to the students.
â€¢ Languageâ€”profanity is unacceptable.
â€¢ Fraternization with students is inappropriate, especially in scholastic situations.
â€¢ Rude or insulting remarks which diminish the studentâ€™s self esteem are inappropriate.
â€¢ A sense of responsibility and work ethic that is consistent and timely.
â€¢ Punctuality at rehearsals.
â€¢ Preparedness with lesson plans
â€¢ Productivity and time management skills
â€¢ Accountability to director, students, and staff
â€¢ Strong communication skills relative to dealing with: Administration, Students, Parents, Other Staff, Circuits and Competition administrators
â€¢ Enthusiastic with a strong sense of commitment
â€¢ Balanced personality
â€¢ Understand the importance of team effort, team building, and compromise where necessary
â€¢ Establish attainable goals and the means to achieve them
â€¢ Know how to laugh, put competition into perspective, turn learning into fun and motivate students to discover their greatest potential
Work Less-Produce More-Have Fun
In every work situation time is of the essence. The person who plans his/her time and details the tangible aspects of the job will find themselves far and ahead of those who fly by the seat of their pants. The guard program plan is no exception. Developing this kind of time planning will not only serve you well, it will impress every other individual with whom you work. Everyone has lives they must attend to outside of this activity. They will support you best when they can know your needs well in advance.
The Master Calendar
The master calendar is for everyone connected with the production of your color guard. On your master calendar, enter established dates for performances, trips, exams, proms, school breaks, or any other dates that will impact your production schedule. Working backwards from the first show, figure out how many rehearsals you will need to teach the show. Note the start of production showing all rehearsals. Working backwards from when you will begin teaching the show, and then determine how many weeks you will need to teach basics. (If you are a scholastic guard, basics may already have been taught prior to band season.) Note this class time, be sure you allow time needed to teach technique. If you are a scholastic guard, move to the calendar time when the summer/fall season ends and schedule the time you will begin rehearsals. Plan time to have the show finished for the first contest.
This is Your Production and Performance Schedule
Did you allow any time off between band or corps and your winter guard? Please consider burn-out. Determine whether you want to hold 2 or 3 full weekend guard camps which will give you Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, or if you want to do all-day Saturdays or a series of week nights. Donâ€™t let school work suffer so be careful of overdoing the school nights.
Detail Your Production Schedule
â€¢ Project when your music must be chosen
â€¢ Indicate when costume and prop designs must be complete
â€¢ Indicate a production schedule for sewing people showing when you want prototypes made up
â€¢ Indicate budge planning deadlines
â€¢ Indicate show planning meetings
â€¢ Indicate fundraisers
Put any reminder on your calendar that will keep you on target. Give this calendar to every person involved in the project. Prepare a more simplified version for the performers. If you plan your time, you are more likely to succeed, far less apt to be caught off base or behind schedule and parents, members, and administration will be better able to support your efforts.