- Florentiner March (Fucik) Italian
- March of the Belgian Parachutists (Leemans) Belgium
- Amparito Roca (Texidor) Spanish Paso Doble
- National Emblem (Bagley) British
- Colonel Bogey (Alford) British
- The Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa) American
- Semper Fidelis (Sousa) American
- Rolling Thunder (Fillmore) American Circus March
- Barnum and Bailey’s Favourite (King) American Circus March
- Prelude and Fugue in Bb (Bach/Trans. Moehlman)
- A Short Ride in a Fast Machine (Adams/Trans. Odom)
- Four Scottish Dances (Trans. Paynter)
- Overture to Candide (Bernstein/Trans. Beeler)
- Symphonic Metamorphosis (Hindemith/Trans. Wilson)
- The Planets (Holst/Trans. Patterson)
- Festive Overture (Shostakovich/Trans. Hunsberger)
- Gavorkna Fanfare (Stamp)
- Fanfare of Wakakusa Hill (Sakai)
- Flourish for Wind Band (Vaughan Williams)
- Olympic Fanfare and Theme (Curnow)
- Olympic Fanfare and Theme (J. Williams/ Arr.Curnow)
- Celebration Fanfare (Reineke/Arr. Romeyn)
- Kirkpatrick Fanfare (Boysen)
- Fanfare and Allegro (C.Williams)
- Fanfare and Processional (Barnes)
- Cenotaph (Stamp)
- Lincolnshire Posy (Grainger)
- First Suite in Eb (Holst)
- Second Suite in F (Holst)
- Folk Song Suite (Vaughn-Williams)
- Suite Francaise (Milhaud)
- Divertimento (Persichetti)
- Orient et Occident (Saint-Seans)
- Masque (McBeth)
- Suite of Old American Dances (Bennet)
Success can be measured in many ways when it comes to teaching band. Here are just some of the measures that often define success in a band program:
- There are many students participating in the band program.
- The students are successfully performing a variety of challenging repertoire.
- The students are engaged in their learning and gaining musical skills and understanding.
- The students are performing on a regular basis and concerts are well-attended.
- The band room has a feeling of community.
- The bands are receiving awards or accolades at music festivals and competitions.
- The students are developing a life-long passion for music and music-making.
Most band teachers would agree that all of these measures are worthy in and of themselves and with effective planning and implementation they are all very possible.
Lessons and rehearsals are most effective when you have a plan in advance regarding what you wish to accomplish. All too often band directors start at the beginning of a piece and take a “Clean as you go” approach, correcting things like rhythms and notes, balance, style, intonation, etc. While this approach does often reap good musical reward for you and your students, our time working with students is not always maximized and we often simply run out of time to refine all aspects of our performances.
We have all been to band concerts where the group starts out sounding great and is well-rehearsed with good attention to detail. Oftentimes further into the same performance, the band seems to lack that same level of refinement and care and attention in their performance. It is obvious that the band has the ability to make the music sound great but has not invested the same amount of time or care in preparing for the entire concert. It becomes a matter of needing more effective time management.
Lesson and rehearsal time is best spent when we can equip students with an understanding of the concepts we are trying to reinforce rather than just the “Clean as you go” approach. When we equip students with a better understanding of things like how to properly read and feel rhythms, how to apply key signatures and accidentals, how to play specific musical styles, how to balance melody and accompaniment, how to listen for good intonation, and a host of other concepts that good into strong musical performances, we empower them to apply this knowledge to other musical settings much more quickly. As a result, we are able to prepare music for performance much more efficiently.
In planning lessons and rehearsals be mindful of what you want to have your students learn or accomplish. Each class or rehearsal should have the goal of fostering student skill and understanding to ultimately create even greater enjoyment of music and music-making. Ideally we want to equip our students with enough skill and understanding so that they can take more ownership and apply their knowledge and abilities to other musical settings and challenges.
How you implement this approach is important. Kids want to play music and the majority of our time with them should be spent playing and learning new music. Having said this, just a few dedicated minutes of every class on technique-building pays dividends in the long run. When planning your lessons and rehearsals try to have your plans include four general elements:
- Listening and/or music appreciation
- Skill or technical development
- Announcements and administrative matters
- Rehearsing music
As a general guideline, a one-hour class could look somewhat like this:
Listen to Music (5 minutes)
Listening is so important and often neglected with the excuse that, “We just don’t have time.” Have students listen to and learn about great music, artists, and composers that they wouldn’t necessarily know. Students will appreciate quality music even if it is unfamiliar to them and in many cases they will seek out more. Listen to the repertoire you are working on with the students. There has always been an argument that by doing that we’re not teaching students how to read music and instead we are teaching them by rote. But if we make a point of teaching students how to read rhythms and develop their technical skills along with a basic understanding of keys and musical form, by listening to a piece of music they will pick up much more than, “This is how it goes.” Students will have a better sense of the style of the piece, the form and contour of the piece and the role that their part plays and how it relates to others’ parts. It also gives us an understanding or example of what generally what we’re aiming to sound like and the impetus on how to interpret it our own way.
Technique/Skill-Building (5-10 minutes)
While most students would certainly prefer to ‘skip the scales’, you are doing them a disservice if you do. ALL of the music we are teaching our students is based on scales and scale patterns. By working on increasing their technique on their instruments every class, students will gain skills that can be applied to more music and lead to even greater musical challenges. This period of working on technique should include working in a variety of keys and scale patterns. There are more keys than Bb Major and scales don’t always start on the root and ascend one octave and descend one octave. Be creative and have some fun as students learn to better get around on their instruments. Encourage students to play everything including scales and patterns with good musical intent and sense of phrase, as scales and patterns don’t need to sound mechanical. Be creative and encourage students to always play with musicality.
Announcements (As little time as possible)
While we hate to take any time away from teaching for things like administration, it is important to keep everyone informed on upcoming events and information. Separating working on technique and working on repertoire gives students a better understanding that increasing their technique is something that is an important aspect of their musical development.
Rehearsing Music (35-45 Minutes)
To be most effective, rehearsing music should include two main elements:
1) allowing students to experience the success of playing part of or an entire piece very well
2) having students really digging into something that needs work and a focused effort
In short, aim to reinforce and celebrate something and aim to improve something. If we only rehearse what we can already do, we’re not improving. If we only rehearse stuff that needs lots of work and nothing sounds good, that can leave students (and you!) frustrated, particularly if we’re trying to play something that is way too hard for the overall level of the group. Use your limited rehearsal time wisely.
The other thing worth noting about this four-part approach to planning is that by design you always start and end with music. Music is, after all, what got us teaching this rehearsal or class in the first place.
A collection of eLessons linked to Learner Outcomes in the Alberta curriculum for Instrumental Music.
The success of this project relies on your support and contributions. They do not need to be elaborate complex lessons. In fact, I think very brief, simple and fun eLessons are needed right now. The lesson topic can be anything fitting a band class anywhere. They do not need to align with any curriculum.
Please send your lessons in WORD or PDF format to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commercially Available Resources
Teaching students how to read musical notation includes learning how to read and perform various rhythms. Much can be gained by having students work on recognizing rhythmic patterns and basic subdivisions as when students have a good understanding and feel for various rhythmic elements they not only become better music sight-readers, they also improve their overall technique. Typically when students experience difficulty with technical issues in learning their music it is usually because of rhythmic inaccuracy.
These exercises are designed to include a variety of basic time signatures and rhythmic subdivisions of increasing difficulty. A few minutes of working on reading and performing these exercises every class, with or without instruments (clapping, humming, sizzling, singing, etc), will pay dividends. Work on them at a variety of tempos with a metronome. As you work on reading these rhythms, encourage your students to recognise where the rhythms land within the various time signatures. It is more important and effective that students understand where the different rhythmic patterns land within a time signature as opposed to how long the notes are in duration.
Having students demonstrate basic rhythmic subdivisions at various tempos prior to reading these exercises is also of tremendous value to their skill development.
- Crash Course Theory
YouTube playlist by Odd Quartet
- Hopkins Jr. High School Instrumental Music Department
Practice Sheets / Theory Assignments
- Mr. Krammer’s Music Page
Worksheets and other resources
- Mr. R.J. Maglocci Jr. – International Music Instructor
- Jeff Waggoner – Waggoner Music Publishing
Rhythm Teaching Sheets for Concert Band
- Shed The Music
Commercially Available Resources
- Breezin’ Thru® Composing
Interactive compositions lessons app
- Breezin’ Thru® Theory
- JW Pepper
Music Listening Assignments
- Sight Reading Factory
Sight Reading and Sight Singing Practice
- Stepwise Publications
Free Worksheets for Band
- Teachers Pay Teachers
Online marketplace for original educational resources
Browse material for concert band
Here are some great online learning platforms and apps that can help you and your students.
- The Amazing Slowdowner
- Anytune Pro
- Breezin’ Through Theory
- Breezin’ Through Composing
- Drum Genius
- A Drum Lessons Database
- Easy Ear Training
- Music Matters School
- A Passion for Jazz
- The Rhythm Trainer
- The Shed
- The Sightreading Factory
Here are some more great websites for Band Directors.
Professional Associations for Music Educators
- American Bandmasters Association
- Canadian Band Association
- Canadian Music Educators Association
- Canadian Music Centre
- Coalition for Music Education
- International Society For Music Education
- Namm Foundation
- National Association for Music Education