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The Saxophone Standard

On the set of The Saxophone Standard, eight video cameras focus on a stage framed with patriotic backdrop, custom printed saxophone graphics, and expert lighting. With one week of setup, two weeks of shooting, and more than a thousand hours of editing, The Saxophone Standard is the culmination of a year's work, and is the final installment in The United States Army Field Band's Instructional Video Series.

Editing BoothAt the center of the project is Army Field Band Media Producer, Sergeant First Class Jared Morgan. “From sitting around a table coming up with concepts,” said Morgan, “to turning footage into a watchable product, it’s been a rewarding process.” The Saxophone Standard is only the second Instructional Video Series project to be filmed “in-house,” using the unit’s facilities, equipment, and personnel. The Concert Band’s rehearsal hall was transformed into a movie set, the musical excerpts were performed and captured by Army Field Band personnel and equipment, and the instructional talking blocks were filmed with the assistance of Army Television. “Doing it this way gives us complete control,”
says Morgan. “The goal is to be as accurate and scholastic as possible.”

SaxesThe Instructional Video Series began in 1993 with Improving Your Clarinet Section Through the Use of Clarinet Quartets, filmed at Maryland Public Television and released on VHS cassette as a resource for educators. New videos were added over the years, and were eventually converted to DVD and digital media. With the completion of The Saxophone Standard, every family of instruments in the band is represented in the Instructional Video Series. All of the videos can be found on The U.S. Army Field Band's YouTube channel, in the Instructional Video Series playlist.

SaxesNow that the Instructional Video Series is complete, future Army Field Band video projects will reflect the changing ways people consume media. Social media and YouTube have changed the game, making “hits,” “likes,” and “shares,” a new measure of success. The unit's Tour Director, Sergeant Major David Bullman believes that short, focused videos are the best approach going forward. “They are easier to produce,” said Bullman, “and easier for teachers to use. In the future, we will continue to review our offerings against what educators need and what our resources are.” The Saxophone Standard can be viewed as one continuous program, but is composed of chapters that will also be released individually. From the “Pro Tips” series offering concise, specific concepts, to Google+ Hangouts bringing clinics into classrooms via video chat, the Army Field Band's educational outreach has grown immensely through its expanded use of technology and social media.

The Instructional Video Series initiative from 1993 has grown into a wealth of online tools for students and educators. This accessibility gives The U.S. Army Field Band a global reach. “We get comments from as far away as Nepal,” says Morgan. “People are saying,‘This is as close to a lesson as I can get.’ It’s become a resource for people without resources.”