c/o: Charlie Balch
Have you always dreamed of starting your own band? It may sound like a tall order, but the truth is that starting a band is a very realistic option that can give you the exposure you need. The key lies in how you choose your band members. Since you don’t want to be replacing band members as much as you change your socks, you should have a clear plan of action for starting your band. Follow these simple but effective pointers.
Which Band Members Do You Need?
Although you may want to start a band with some of your favorite friends, you won’t get anywhere unless you have a specific need for each band member. Decide which band members will help you accomplish your vision and then seek out these individuals. Don’t try to fit people in just because you like them or they have a musical talent. You must think of a band that will sound good together.
Find Your Musicians
This step can take time, but it deserves the most, so that’s okay. The best way to find people is from your own circle of acquaintances or by word of mouth. Other places you can try are local music shops such as Catfish Music that may be able to point you in the right direction. You can leverage the internet and look for band members on sites like Craigslist or MeetYourBand.com. Or, try the traditional route of hanging flyers in local stores or posting an ad in the newspaper.
Establish Ground Rules
Start simple, but make sure you have some basic rules in place. The questions you should have answered include:
- What is the practice schedule like?
- Where will practices be held?
- How will expenses be paid for?
You should also consider how you will discipline band members who don’t show up to practice. In the early stages, practice is the backbone of your success and should be treated that way.
Who Will be the Main Contact?
It may not be easy assigning a boss, especially if you want things to be a team effort. But your band should have a leader or main contact, and that should be established early on. Decide how much authority the leader will have. Maybe all band members will have a say in the songs that are played, but when it comes to getting gigs and promoting your band, the “boss” will handle these tasks.
If you’ve ever been to a high school football game on a cold, fall-like Friday night, you know just how exciting that halftime show can be. It’s the perfect pick-me-up for a game that may not be going exactly as planned, and it’s the best way to get everyone perked up and cheering for the team during the second half. Marching bands have always been a halftime staple, but these bands are really starting to steal the show and show off new possibilities.
Below we have some of our favorite college marching band formations that have scored plenty of likes on YouTube and keep fans coming back for more.
Ohio State – Gangnam Style
This tribute made video game fans from all over the country smile. With Mario Brothers, Pokemon and Sonic the Hedgehog all making appearances, you can’t help but smile at this loveable and memorable marching band formation.
University of Hawaii – Giant Football Player
The Aloha State is always in a class of its own, and the University of Hawaii marching band made a name for itself when their formation created the stick figure of a giant football player who kicks a football. With great formation and a swift kick, this creative and forward-thinking arrangement stands alone.
Bethune-Cookman University - President Barack Obama
This 325-member group decided to do it big, and they did. Their marching band formation marched together to form a silhouette of the President in 2008 when he was elected for his first term.
University of Notre Dame – Come Sail Away
Who doesn’t love to sing along with the Styx song “Come Sail Away”… in the rain…during a football game? That’s exactly what the University of Notre Dame marching band did during a rainy football game. Their formation perfectly outlined a unique sailboat that pleased the crowd.
Florida State University – Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”
In remembrance of Michael Jackson, Florida State University had an incredible marching band formation during a game in 2009. Their performance was to the hit song “Thriller”, and some of the moves were inspired by the King of Pop himself.
Bottom line: Who ever said that marching bands weren't cool?
Blog sponsored by: Catfish Music
c/o: Sarah DeVries
If your child is interested in joining the school marching band, you should approach the opportunity like any other activity or sport. It’s important that your child is well prepared to be in a marching band and able to give the time, commitment and effort that this activity requires. We have helpful tips for parents, band directors and marching band members to keep in mind as they take part in this rewarding yet challenging hobby.
Planning and Preparation
Students should be in good physical health and able to perform. Marching bands require a lot of physical movement, strength and attention. All students should have a written emergency plan in place in the event of an emergency. This emergency plan should be updated regularly so that all information is current.
Take Practices Slow
If you’re ever marched before, you understand how taxing this can be on the body. Students should start in 20 minute increments and gradually increase this over the course of four weeks before the season starts. The practice sessions should be done outdoors to get the students used to marching in various weather conditions. Stretching and cool-downs are also critical elements to safety and success.
Familiarize the Body with High Temperatures
Marching band season starts at the end of the summer, so students will be out in the warm weather. This can be hard on the body, so it’s important for students to start off slow and become used to the heat over the next few weeks. Even though it may be uncomfortable, challenge students to walk in outdoor or non-air conditioned environments so that they become accustomed to the heat.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
With practices in the summer, students will need to dress cool and comfortable. There’s no need to wear the formal attire until you have to; instead, wear light colored shorts and t-shirts for practice sessions. When it comes time for game days, remember that the dark colored clothing can make students hotter and trap the heat in.
Drink Plenty of Water
Like any other sport, it’s important to keep students hydrated. This is important for game days and practice, so keep everyone drinking about 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes. Water should be provided at all practices and games, and students should be hydrated before, during and after practice to prevent illness or dehydration. Also encourage students to eat healthy foods that refuel the body, such as whole grain cereal bars, fresh fruits and cold-cut veggies.
Blog sponsored by: Catfish Music
c/o: Bill Davenport
If your child has been showing interest in playing a musical instrument, you may not be sure where to begin. Many students know exactly what instrument they want to practice, but others don’t and that’s okay. The important thing is that your child has interest in exploring music and putting their creativity into results. In fact, no matter how confident your child is in playing a particular instrument, don’t be surprised if they change to a new instrument at a later date.
Exposure to Music
For now however, consider if anyone in your family has an instrument or musical talent. You can let your child try out the instrument, get a feel for its size and layout and watch someone else in action. Maybe your child has already been around someone like this, and that person has inspired them to experiment with music. Whatever the case may be, exposure is a great way to start the process.
Review Instrument Options
Second, go over the various instruments with your child and see if any of them interest your child and why. Also keep in consideration the size of the instrument, your child’s maturity level and their commitment. These factors will help you in choosing an instrument that fits your child’s personality and accommodates your budget.
Here are the available instruments for your child to consider: Guitar, Saxophone, Trombone, Piano, Clarinet, Recorder, Flute, Drums, Trumpet, Violin, Viola, Percussion, Cello, French Horn and Baritone.
Buying or Borrowing an Instrument
When you shop with Catfish Music, we can help you select a musical instrument that matches your child’s personality and fits your budget. Because we have a full stock of used and consigned instruments, you can save on the cost of the piece while still giving your child a quality instrument to play on.
Another option is to rent an instrument, which can also be done with Catfish Music. This is a great way to let your child experiment with an instrument, and if they like it, you can buy it directly from us. If they don’t, just try something new. Many parents take this route when trying to find the right instrument for their budding musician.
Practice Makes Perfect
Finally, when your child has chosen the best instrument, encourage them to practice. The instrument can be difficult to handle at first, which is why your child will need plenty of practice in holding and getting comfortable with the piece before they really master playing it.
c/o: Peter Mazurek
It’s no secret that schools across the country are struggling financially. The economy has severely hindered schools' ability to offer well-rounded programs like music, art and physical education. Some argue that these programs also have large budgets that our schools cannot afford. But there are serious consequences to cutting these programs from public schools. While it may not sound like a big deal today to cut a theater or music program, these very programs can be responsible for shaping children’s futures and giving them the self-confidence they need.
Myth #1: Music Programs are Expensive
Music programs do not have to eat away at a school’s budget. The facilities are available, and these classes can take place in a cafeteria, gym or auditorium. There can also be fundraisers like bake sales and car washes that can raise money for supplies and musical instruments. Even if these programs are not a part of the everyday curriculum, they can still be offered after school, allowing kids to partake in these mind-boosting activities.
Myth #2: Not All Kids Enjoy Music
While it’s true that not all kids will enjoy playing a musical instrument, you can’t know for sure until you give it a try. We’re always encouraging our children to try new things, but when it comes to music, we make up our minds fairly quickly. Kids who don’t have the opportunity to experiment with music may be missing out on something that they would have excelled at. All kids deserve to be exposed to music and have the chance to decide whether or not it’s for them.
Myth #3: Music is Undervalued
It seems like the ‘specials’ are always being underappreciated. We’ve all heard our fair share about why classes like physical education, music, art or theater are not necessary in the school curriculum. But then we see the effects of taking away these programs: high obesity rates and hyperactive students for example. Music is a part of the educational experience, and students should be able to pursue a wide variety of subjects.
We must remember that music is a creative outlet for young students, and many find the confidence and acceptance they need through music. Fighting for music programs should be a priority for our young leaders; after all, how will a future middle school orchestra teacher know his love for music unless he has the opportunity to try it?
Blog sponsored by: Catfish Music
c/o: Maurizio Carta
Between the hype of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s easy to forget about the small businesses that can easily fall through the cracks. In the past, Black Friday – and now the Internet-driven Cyber Monday – has been dominated by the big names. But that’s all changing as more attention is given toward small businesses, supporting local townships and giving back to your community. And there’s a special holiday to celebrate it all: Small Business Saturday.
The 3rd Annual Small Business Saturday will be held this Saturday, November 24. It’s a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country and right here in Virginia. Catfish Music will be celebrating this special day and encouraging people to stop in and support small businesses such as our own. We have extended hours where you can save 20% off accessories and 10% off instruments.
What makes Catfish Music unique is not just our small business mentality but also our rapport with the community. Located in Stafford, we are deeply invested in Stafford County schools and the music and art programs they provide for students. Since a large base of our supporters is band students and their families, we have a lot of neat perks for our customers.
When you sign up for music lessons from now until December 31, you get one free music lesson. We also have great consignment programs where you can buy a used instrument for a fraction of the price. We support local bands, we repair instruments and we have discounts for loyal customers. The bottom line is this: Catfish Music is here for the Stafford community, and our small business will always go that extra mile to make sure we’re the best place for affordable instruments, high-quality repairs and engaging music lessons.
Be sure to come out and support us on Small Business Saturday and show your love for small businesses! We will also be open for Black Friday.
Extended Weekend Hours:
Saturday & Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
20% off all accessories
10% off all instruments
Gift certificates and lay-a-way available
c/o: Graham Kingsley
The most common musical instruments that are made from brass include trumpets, French horns, trombones and tubas. These instruments are made entirely from brass; although their earlier versions were made from things like animal horns, tusks, wood or shells. Not only are brass instruments known for their golden beauty but also for their powerful sound. These instruments are the loudest in the orchestra and can be heard from far away.
If you or your child has a brass instrument, it’s important that you know how to care for it properly. Musical instruments are an investment, and if you want to get the most out of them, you need to maintain them properly. Brass instruments are like other expensive items; if you wait to have them professionally cleaned and checked, you could end up with bigger, more expensive problems down the road.
First, make sure you take your brass instrument into a professional repair technician at least once a year, such as our friendly team at Catfish Music. We will clean the instrument and provide general maintenance in order to keep the piece in excellent condition. If there are any issues, we can spot them early on. Furthermore, regular checkups can prevent “red rot” from forming, which is a type of corrosion that eats away at brass.
Next, you should clean out your brass instrument once a month to remove dirt buildup and prevent corrosion. To do so, fill a bathtub with warm water and mild soap. Remove all the tuning slides and valves. Place the instrument in the tub and flush the inside with the water solution. You can use a snake brush to scrub both the interior and exterior of the instrument.
Once everything has been cleaned, dry the instrument with a soft cloth and reassemble the valves and tuning slides. You should use a valve oil and lanolin slide oil, respectively. In between cleanings, you can wash the mouthpiece with warm, soapy water and wipe the exterior down with a soft cotton cloth.
For Stafford County high schools, music programs are an integral part of the academic program. All schools believe in creating diverse programs that foster a variety of learning environments so that students can excel in the settings that work best for them. If your student is interested in joining a music program at one of the high schools, be sure to contact Catfish Music for the best prices on music lessons and new and consigned instruments.
Brooke Point High School
Home of the Black-Hawks, Brooke Point fosters a diverse learning environment that allows students to reach their full potential. Students interested in music can participate in choral group, band or orchestra. These music activities are a great way to accomplish the vision of being one as a school and community.
Colonial Forge High School
In a school that fosters long-term success, Colonial Forge creates a setting that fosters all types of learning environments for its students. Those who enjoy creative subjects like music and art are at an advantage since they can use these creative outlets to learn new information. There are a variety of ways to enjoy music at the high school, such as by joining the school chorus, band or orchestra. Go Soaring Eagles!
Mountain View High School
Home of the Wildcats, Mountain View places a lot of importance on their respected orchestra, band and chorus programs. They received superior ratings on their Concert Performance Assessment last year, and 47 students from the school were selected for the VBODA District 15 All-District Band. Visit the school’s website to learn more about their achievements in music.
North Stafford High School
A school that is home to the Wolverines has to be fierce, and North Stafford certainly fits the bill. The school fosters academic success and places great importance on clubs and activities that allow students to learn in various ways. With the numerous musical activities that include orchestra, band and chorus, the school also celebrates Music in Our Schools Month in March.
Stafford Senior High School
Voted the Best High School in 2002 and voted the Best Public School in 2003 and 2004, this school truly deserves recognition. They continue to work hard to be the best and offer a variety of inspirational programs for its students, including music programs to enhance creative freedom. Go Indians!
courtesy of: Frinck51
To the untrained eye, a violin and a fiddle may appear to be the same instrument. Yet for those who know their instruments, violins and fiddles are actually quite different. Although these differences can be subtle, they make all the difference in how the music sounds. In the most simplistic terms, violins are more fanciful and sophisticated while fiddlers are more folksy and simple.
What makes a violin and fiddle different from one another is that there are different types of music played on them. Generally speaking, violinists play composition-based music such as classical music from Western and Indian cultures. Fiddlers tend to play folk-based tunes such as Cajun and Irish music.
Otherwise, violins and fiddlers are pretty much the same type of instrument. Many artists will use the terms interchangeably, while others are fussier and stick to one name or the other.
From a physical sense, violins and fiddles have the same wooden box. These parts are considered to be the “unchangeable” part of the instrument, and they look exactly the same across instruments. However, violinists and fiddlers sometimes prefer different setups when it comes to the “changeable” parts of their instruments. These parts, called the “setup”, include the strings, bridge, shoulder rest, chin rest and pickup.
Traditional fiddles have four strings, but it’s not uncommon for fiddles to have five strings. Standard violins also have four strings, and these strings can be made from a variety of materials such as steel or metal. Either way, all types of strings are prone to breaking, which is why both violinists and fiddlers need to replace them often.
So is one instrument more difficult to play than the other? No. Both instruments require a great deal of skill, patience and attention to detail, and there are different skills required for each. If you’re interested in trying out a violin or fiddler, come to Catfish Music where we have a variety of high-quality instruments on consignment or used for less.
If it’s broke, we can fix it!
How many times have you read this statement, but did you think it could apply to musical instruments?
At Catfish Music, we can restore your instruments back to new condition. Many people believe that when their musical instrument breaks, they have no choice but to trash it or sell it for parts. These musical devices are expensive, and there’s no reason why you should have to throw away your hard earned money, especially if it’s an instrument that you’ve grown to love.
Why Choose Catfish Music for Instrument Repairs
It’s true that we repair instruments for our customers, but there are a few factors that give our company the edge. First, we offer some of the best repair rates in the area, which means you probably won’t find a better deal on your restoration. We strive to be affordable and fair, so don’t hesitate to ask us about our repair rates and how they can save you money while restoring your precious companion.
Second, we have the most experienced luthiers who understand how to repair instruments and bring them back to their original condition. This knowledge and expertise is not something that comes natural, and not all repair companies can offer this level of expertise. For Catfish Music, we’ve found the perfect balance between high-quality craftsmanship and fair prices.
Best of all, our team of experienced luthiers can fix a bunch of different things, from stringed instruments to woodwinds. We have quick turnaround times so you won’t have to wait long for your instrument, and we guarantee that we can fix all broken instruments. No repair deposit is necessary, so drop by today. For more information on repair prices, click here.