Alternataive Beginning Band Concept
Posted 28 September 2010 - 11:12 AM
If you are an old school band director or teach in a school were every students reads and works on or above grade level, you probably will not want to use this. However this approach is very easy for the teacher and less intimidating for students with no musical background.
Concept: To teach first elements of music reading using symbols the students are familiar with. After about 9 weeks (director’s discretion) the students switch to their regular method books.
Rational: Students will more readily begin to play tunes familiar to them and the boredom factor is reduced for the first weeks. This is where we lose many students who either don’t understand or get bored with waiting for others to catch-up. It also allows you to play recognizable songs for your principal, parents, boosters, etc. in a very short time. (PR)
Material: Instruments, flip charts, song sheets. Books are not needed at this stage.
1. Even though the students will not be learning traditional music reading teachers should still insist on proper posture, embouchure, hand position, and all other good playing habits. Remember only the music reading and book part is changed.
2. For this example we will be using the Standard of Excellence (red book). Look at the first few pages up to 10 or 11. Pick out songs (Hot Cross Buns, Merrily We Roll Along, etc.) for your first song sheet.
3. In the beginning you can use a word processing program to write out the song sheets.
1. Instruments will use the same numbers for the notes. For example
Hot Cross Buns
1 2 3 1 2 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 2 3
Instruments in C = 1-D, 2-C, 3-Bb
Bb= 1-E, 2-D, 3-C
Eb= 1-B, 2-A, 3-G
F= 1-A, 2-G, 3-F
This in turn makes it easy for all students to know which note they are supposed to play. The teacher can call out numbers, write them on the board, flip chart etc. Also using the cd to play along helps tremendously.
2. Rhythmic Symbols: Plain letter- Quarter note
Circle around letter – Half Note
Square around Letter – Whole Note
Plain R is a Quarter Rest
Circled R is a Half Rest
Squared R is a Whole Rest
4. After about 9 weeks or so pass out your method book and begin your regular routine. The students will already know good playing habits, and will not have become bored playing lines that they don’t recognize or can’t read. Again this is not for everyone but it works for me. I am always tweaking this so please let me know what you think.
Samson High School
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