Reply To: How do you do beginner band?

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I have been teaching for 22 years, working with beginning band in all but 5 of those years. I am hoping in the future that you may be able to begin lessons in like-instrument groupings during the summer prior to their 6th grade start. This will make your life much easier. Are you teaching all students together and additionally a group lesson? If your schedule allows you to group them into smaller groups for class instruction, I would try to set up a schedule accordingly. (for ex.. M-flutes/oboe, T-clarinets/saxophones, W-trumpets, Th-trombones/baritone, F – percussion). It would be great to follow this schedule for the first quarter. During the 2nd quarter, I would try to combine sections of woodwind players, and continue with high brass, low brass and percussion grouping. You may be able to combine for a full-band experience at the end of the 1st semester. If skills are solid, a full-band class meeting at least twice each week would be preferable. If none of this is possible in your situation, I would spend at least the first quarter working with all students on rhythm skills (writing counts, clapping, counting out loud and even using mouthpiece sounds). note-reading skills and their ability to follow conducting patterns (clapping rhythm patterns or playing on their mouthpieces as you conduct them.) Breathing exercises can be used as well as working to hold a llong tone with a single breath and timing the group (All stand, play, and sit when they run out of air). Music theory worksheets might be used while you are teaching sections of the band at a certain points. When I am working with one section, I always encourage others to move fingers/slides/ “ghost”sticking silently while a section is playing slone. Good luck!