Calling all band directors with first year students!!!
As we’re moving through the first semester and onto the spring term, I’m reminded of the challenges we face in finding good material for performance—pieces that can bring together a freshly-minted group of students…
Never fear! First Performance to the rescue!! This collection of 13 exceptional and very playable Grade ½–Grade 1 full band selections uses only the first seven notes students learn, applied to only whole, half, quarter, and eighth note rhythms. Every section in the band is featured and amply cross-cued to provide for full sounds even with limited instrumentation. First Performance contains a variety of musical styles including marches, folk songs, contest/festival pieces, transcriptions, and compositions featuring rock, blues, and Latin elements. Students even have a chance for improvisation!
Consider opening your concert with First Performance's Fanfare and Minuet from “The Royal Fireworks." This arrangement of familiar Handel themes starts your program boldly and demonstrates that bands play classical music, too! Make certain the eighth notes are articulated short and the quarter and half notes are played broadly but separated in a Baroque style. You may even wish to have students share some information about Handel and the Baroque period with the audience.
A great concert closer is Royal Crown March. Every band concert program should include at least one march given the importance of this genre in the wind band heritage. Royal Crown March offers students the opportunity to learn marcato style with the notes accented, separated, and with a "square" beginning and ending. Understanding this style is key to performance of practically every march students will ever encounter.
Here’s wishing you and your students a great first term, continuing on to 2018!!
Dr. Bruce Pearson
BRUCE PEARSON is a world-renowned music educator, author, composer, and clinician. He is the author of the Standard of Excellence Comprehensive Band Method— regarded as the most important contribution to the field in the last three decades—and the groundbreaking Best In Class Comprehensive Band Method. His latest contribution, co-authored with Ryan Nowlin, is the Tradition of Excellence Comprehensive Band Method. This next-generation performance-centered curriculum sets a new barre by seamlessly blending time-tested and innovative pedagogy with cutting-edge technology.