From co-authoring two band warm-up and technique books to presenting workshops in more than 25 states, Duncanville ISD Director of Bands Jeff King is well known throughout the US. His influence is reaching internationally as well – King was invited to China to present workshops over the summer. “I was introduced to a Chinese gentleman named Joseph Cheung at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago this past December,” he explained. “Mr. Cheung, who is also a band director, had already started the English to Chinese translation of Foundations for Superior Performance – a band method book I co-authored in 1997 – and was interested in publishing the book in Chinese. The president of the Kjos Publishing Company asked me if I would be amenable to traveling to China to present some clinics. After I thought about it for two seconds, I said, ‘”Yes!’”
King traveled to China in July, teaching in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Beijing for two weeks. He rehearsed music with students from third grade all the way through high school, and says there were two main areas of focus for his workshops. “The first was to introduce my book and show students and directors how building certain fundamental music skills can and should be applied to playing in an ensemble. The second was to show students and directors how to effectively rehearse various levels of band music, ranging from easy to difficult.” King admits that some English words and music symbols did not translate very well, but Cheung, who was familiar with the method book, acted as a translator.
Although he visited Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall of China, he says the most amazing sight was seeing music break the language barrier. “Since this was my first time presenting a clinic to a non-English speaking audience, I found myself singing examples of what I wanted rather than trying to put them into words,” commented King. “Through our musical connections, I made many new friendships in China.” Believing that individuals grow when put in situations out of their comfort zone, King is already looking forward to another trip to China.
Back here at home, he is busy carrying on the longstanding tradition of excellence in the Duncanville ISD band program. While King admits it is not a State marching year, he says, “We consider every year an opportunity to raise our standards and compete at the highest level.” This year, the Marching Band and High Hats will compete at the Plano East Marching Contest, Sam Houston State Marching Contest, and the UIL Region 20 Marching Contest. Duncanville ISD will also host the annual Duncanville Marching Invitational Contest, and the Wind Ensemble will once again enter the Honor Band Competition. “We are looking forward to providing our students, staff, and community members great opportunities to perform and hear great music,” said King. You can find Jeff King’s complete biography at the Kjos Publishing website.
Courtesy of Duncanville ISD Friday Informer