Month: November 2017

Literature Selection – Part 2

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics, how do you build effective and meaningful programs for your band?

In this episode we are fortunate to have Dr. Kyle Glaser join us to talk about selecting music for the wind ensemble.  We discuss topics such as audience perceptions, holistic conceptualization of literature selection, and specific resources for new band directors.  Below are some links to some of the material discussed in the podcast.

Travis Cross: We are what we play: Developing a programming philosophy

Literature Selection – Part 1

Music is what we do, so how do we pick appropriate music for our ensembles?

In this episode we will talk about some of the technical aspects of selecting music literature for your band program.  Knowing the music, knowing your students (individually and as a group), and knowing your schedule are all things that facilitate effective repertoire selection.  The general outline for the podcast can be found below.


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  1. Why does it matter
    1. Defines the musical unit
    2. Is the core curriculum
    3. Shapes ALL student experiences
    4. Intentionality
  2. Technical Selection
    1. Know your ensemble
      1. Both strengths and weaknesses
        1. Start evaluating/learning ensemble early
      2. Start from what you have/where the kids are
  • Don’t overlook sections/individuals
  1. Use a mentor
  2. Record rehearsals
  3. Be rooted in fundamental concepts
  1. General ensemble technique
    1. Look for unplayable sections
    2. Ensemble reading skills
  • Scoring
    1. Inner voices vs. melody
    2. Split parts in sections
    3. Balance
  1. Maturity
    1. Flow
    2. Fundamental transfer
  • Ensemble sounds
    1. Exceptional individuals
  1. Phrasing
  2. Dynamics
  1. Specific instrument concerns
    1. Brass
      1. Endurance
      2. Range
      3. Technical challenges
        1. Flexibility
        2. Fingers
      4. Articulation
    2. Woodwinds
      1. Breaks
      2. Clef
      3. Range
        1. Volume
        2. Intonation
      4. Technique
        1. Key
        2. Fingers
  • Percussion
    1. Do you own the instrument/know how to play it
    2. How many players needed?
    3. Be mindful of rests
    4. Intonation
    5. Physical challenges (stick changes, mallets required, etc.)
  1. Extra musical concerns
    1. Calendar
      1. Tests
      2. Athletics
      3. Other’s schedules
    2. Eligibility
  • Weather

Assessment in music education

With the increase in assessment demands across the country, it is important that music educators be well versed in why and how to properly evaluate and assess their students. Accountability is not leaving our public schools anytime soon, and the more well versed we, as music educators, can be the better.  It’s also important to the quality of our teaching, as we need to both continually and summarily evaluate student learning in our classrooms.


Ryan Sargent had a great post over at the SmartMusic blog introducing summative and formative assessment, which you can find here.  Additionally, Pete Miksza has a post describing a session he moderated regarding assessment with some materials.  Finally, if you would like a summary of much of the research perspectives, I’ve recently published a paper addressing research regarding assessment in music for practitioners.

Skype Clinics

In our technologically informed age, it may make sense to many band directors to set up a guest clinician via videoconferencing, like Skype.  If you have thought about bringing in a guest through videoconferencing, I’ve recently published some thoughts and tips about the process in The Southwestern Musician, you should check it out here.


Also, new episode of the podcast drops this Thursday!

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