Nearly 100 band students from both Utley and Cain Middle Schools came together to learn from professional performers and teachers recently in preparation for the upcoming Rockwall ISD Middle School All-District Honor Band audition in November.

“Can you sing the tune?” asked trumpet master class teacher Keith Kerns. “If you can hear the tune in your head and reproduce that with your voice, you will have a higher chance of success at playing the right partials and playing in tune.”

A dozen 7th and 8th grader trumpet students nodded their heads and wrote in their music as the master class continued on stage.

“It was cool to learn about different ways of approaching the instrument and the music,” said Matthew Wibben, an 8th grade Cain Middle School trumpet student.

Students were spread out across the Utley campus in different classrooms and instructional spaces. In the tuba and euphonium master class, the emphasis was on breath support and control.

“I always like to start these sessions with a variety of breathing exercises,” said Dr. Ken Drobnak, a euphonium and tuba specialist. “These are large instruments, after all, and they require a large amount of air.”

“It was great to see Utley and Cain students working together to get better on their instrument and leave better prepared for the upcoming audition,” commented Shawn Davis, director of bands at Utley Middle School.

There were two sessions split by a half-hour pizza lunch where students from both campuses met in the courtyard at Utley to eat and socialize with each other. A few students even played a catch with a football.

“The weather is so nice,” said Kyle Grissom. “This is way better than sitting around the house all day.”

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