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
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