The band members were reluctant to create dot books for their show this year. It all started from a suggestion from one of our instructors this fall, Dr. Andrew Machamer. He asked me if the students had ever made dot books before. When I thought about it, we hadn't asked students to create dot books for several years. The last attempt resulted in only a hand full of students completing dot books, so it didn't end up being a very effective tool. Dot books are little cards or a small spiral notebook that students put on string or a lanyard to carry with them during rehearsals on the practice field. In their dot books, they write their set number, drill formation, number of counts, measure numbers, coordinates, and any additional information pertinent to the performance of the drill that they march.
This year I required all students to complete their dot book. Most did so promptly and found it to be a useful exercise. Some resisted but eventually completed their assignment. Either way, they learned more about their show by having to study the drill charts and coordinates a bit more closely that they might have without the assignment. In the end, to me, this was a success because their confidence increased by knowing their sets better.
There was a particular student (or two or three) who began to mock me by using Forrest Gump analogies when talking about their dot books. I caught on and we all had a good laugh about it. So therein lies the Jen-nay referral, if you have seen the movie.
I have enjoyed this year's rendition of the Marching Shoremen. These students have the will, the drive, and the passion to be great. They took a big step toward greatness with their superior rating at Perkins HS that qualified the band for state finals. I am looking forward to the last few weeks of our marching band season to see what more these great students can achieve.