Cleaning your rooms and what it means for your pit.

*still under review

As I continue to become better at adulting, when I learn a new skill, I see it ripple through all areas of my life. When I first started college, I woke up a little later than I should have, and got to school right on time. Same with ariving to my teaching job, I got there just on time. When I started leaving with 20 minutes to spare, I felt more prepared for school. Same with goes for my teaching job. Today I want to talk about what I learned from cleaning my room, and how it relates to the front ensemble.

One of the most satisfying things to do when I get home is to take off my shoes, and jacket, and whatever else and fling it the floor. Growing up I would throw my clothes on the floor..and leave them there. Although it bothered my mom, it was ok for me. I even had piles that were organized. The lump of clothes at the foot of my bed where the good ones, farther flung articles were due for the laundry. Anyways, it clear to see that this pattern of dis-organization was checkered through my life. I had a messy car, backpack, and front ensemble. I had not yet developed the skills to keep my ensemble organized in it’s place.

Fast-forward a couple years, after a couple frustrating days, and a couple of summers of drum corps, I learned that one of the keys to being successful is organization. DUH. (I can’t tell you how many things I lost during my first summer. I lost my only pair shoes once…)

So, how exactly does this relate to front ensemble?

Well, In a section of 16 or so people, with all different types of cymbals, mallets, tape, felts, and especially cables, it is very easy for things to get out of hand. I think the best front ensembles are the best organized. Basically the whole idea of success on and off the field. However, I think that even highly successful groups still lack the type of organization needed for superb electronics. Cords don’t work, channels hum, carts are messy. It’s very easy to set things up once correctly, and then let it sit for the rest of season. I don’t think that works, not for other instruments, and especially not for the electronics.

So, what are the fixes? In my opinion, the first step to getting your electronics under control is buy the tools needed to fix them. On the most basic level, EVERYONE should have a cable tester. It’s the electronic sections version of a drum key. Most cable testers are cheap, and if you can, buy one with a test tone. This allows you test if a line is complete, or if something has gone wrong. Using the test tone, you can send a signal down the line of a connection and into the mixer. If you see signal or hear sound, it works! This advice seems simple, but it answers questions we as educators more often than not leave unanswered.

If you’re particularly invested, buy a soldering iron. Cables are about the easiest things to solder, and there are plenty of videos online with instructions. Moving up from that, try soldering your busted snake or a piano pedal. If that idea doesn’t sound appealing, send out your gear to be fixed. There are plenty of electronic professionals in the activity that offer repair services.

So to put it simply, clean up your room! It’s so important that you keep yourself as organized and on top of it as possible, things tend to go wrong if you let them. Especially on show day.

Cheers,

the pageantry audio files.