March music madness: Students prepare for UIL

Alissa Chang, Co-Editor

Each year in March, WSMS music programs compete at UIL, and throughout the years, they won the sweepstakes award many times.

“The purpose of UIL contest is to determine if students are developing the fundamental skills needed to play an instrument,” said Martha Ball, WSMS band director.

The UIL competition is divided into two parts: concert and sight-reading. Each group prepares three pieces to perform for the concert portion. For sight-reading, students learn a new piece silently with only the instruction of their director. They must then perform the piece to the best of their ability. If the group receives a superior rating on both, they win the sweepstakes award.

“Everyday in class we’re doing sight reading practices, and we’re also practicing our music,” said choir student Romi Kahana, 8.

After the students rehearse and practice sight reading for a couple of months, WSMS music programs bring their work to the stage at UIL. Choir competes from March 3-5. Orchestra competes from March 4-5 at Allen High School. Band competes later from March 24-25 at Wylie East High School.

“We always try to sight-read short excerpts weekly all year long so the students are well prepared to sight-read with confidence.  I would sight-read every day if we had longer classes,” said Ball.

The rehearsing, refining, and perfecting of students’ skills during class each day in preparation for UIL allowed for the music programs’ previous successes. They also participate in clinics where directors from other schools work with the students.

“Students have to put in a lot of work because, you know, we’re the ones performing the show, so obviously we need to have the music memorized, we need to have our notes right, you know, because we want to win. We want to get good feedback,” said Kahana.

The competition gives the groups an opportunity to grow while receiving critiques. 

“I think we’ll do good. Last year, we got a superior on sight reading, and I think an excellent on singing, so this year, we’re really hoping to get superior for both,” said Kahana.

Students and directors alike look forward to winning again this year in March.