Reply To: Beginning band pull out advice

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Thank you Bailey. Sammy, I usually break the kids into like instrument groups and try to keep the numbers between 4 and 8. Beginners are scheduled seperate from more advanced players. I almost never have brass and woodwind together. If I do it is usually something like tenor sax with euphonium, Bari sax with tuba. This year I have Alto, Tenor and Bari in one lesson and it is working well. I have three sections of percussion. All three do keyboard and battery. I also rotate people through parts in each piece. Everyone plays snare, keyboards, timp., bass etc. through the year.

I am selective with percussion. Only 6 of the 14 “percussionists” are in Band (I should note here that this year I am doing sixth grade only). They will be brought into Band when they can read eighth notes annd rests, play a steady bass drumm line and play a simple tune on marimba/xylo. without watching (I was a percussion minor) their handstoo much. Some of them still can not name the lines and spaces of the G clef. While I am on the percussion rant, I find that they are often ignored in elementary school to the point where they can not even hold a pair of (if the own them) sticks properly. For some it is difficult to have to do work.

I think the small group pull outs make a big difference. The best part to me is establishing a relationship rather than the the music. With a good relationship in a safe enviorment the kids are more willing to take a risk and seem to work harder.

I still have Band rehearsal in addition to the once a week lesson. We meet every other day for a full period. The lessons are also a full period about 50 minutes. I know I have a good situation but it did take years of work from the entire music department and a superintendent who saw the value of what we do. Please email me at or give me a call 860-885-8382 if I can answer any more questions. The last is for everyone not just Sammy!