Battle of the Bands
Battle of the Bands is a great opportunity for students to employ the new skills they've learned from Wilson School of Strings. Structured like a day-camp, students arrive early in the day to discover who their band mates are, what songs they'll be performing and who their individual band Mentor will be. We theme our musical selections from Battle of the Bands based upon the playlist of songs studied by students in the time leading up to the event. For example: the music we will be studying for September/October is "Music from the '60's" so those would be the songs assigned for the competition.
The competition is open to a set number of students who are broken down into the following categories: Rhythm Players (Guitar/Ukulele) Lead Players (usually violin) Keyboard/Piano Players and Vocalists. Students are assigned band mates, songs to perform, a Mentor (an instructor for Wilson School of Strings or a knowledgeable student who's too advanced for the competition) and a class-room to rehearse with their new band. Participants are given a lunch break followed by some more rehearsal time. About an hour before the doors open for audience members, each band is given a chance to practice their songs on stage, in front of live microphones and accompanied by our communal Bass Player and Drummer (Jake and Brandon Wilson).
Because our emphasis is on performance, overall skill only accounts for part of the band's score. We have our judges assigning points for 4 different categories with a possible 25 points per category:
1.) Overall skill. Do the contestants show mastery of the concepts of rhythm, pitch, song arrangement and execution as well as dynamics?
2.) Band Interaction. Do the contestants remember that they are in a band or are they ignoring each other on stage? Communication and a team mentality are vital when performing in a band.
3.) Audience Interaction. Do the contestants remember that they have an audience? Standing on stage in front of an audience and pretending they aren't there is crazy. Things like, eye contact with the audience, smiles, attempts to get the spectators involved by clapping or singing along are important to remember.
4.) Audience appreciation. This one is simple. An appreciative audience will let performers know if they like what they see and hear. The louder the applause, the higher the score.
The benefits of participating in an event like this are many and long lasting. Friendships are formed, musical skills are sharpened, performance techniques are refined and almost all participants are truly excited for their next chance to perform.
If nothing else, cash prizes can also help seal the deal with each band splitting the prize money evenly with each member.