Beginning band method for small ensemble

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    I am starting year two of creating a beginning band program at a private elementary/middle school with no previous existence of an instrumental program. Last year consisted of a private lesson program partnership with a local university. At the end of the year, 4 of the 5 participating students were formed into a small ensemble to play at the recorder program with great success.

    This year, we are continuing the private lesson program for continuing and new students, and the 2nd year students will have a pull-out band program once or twice a week. I would like to use a band method book with the pull out program, but I wanted to check here if there are any particular methods that would be more successful with limited instrumentation and a very small number of students.

    Potential instrumentation is:
    1 flute
    1 clarinet
    1 saxophone
    1 French horn
    2 percussionists
    (there is also the possibility of a violinist, but I’m not convinced it’s appropriate for her to participate)

    I am leaning toward Accent on Achievement, Standard of Excellence, or trying out the new Tradition of Excellence.



    When I taught in a situation similar to yours I used Standard of Excellence in addition to the “Bach and Before” series by David Newell.

    Just so you can compare each student had 2 small group 20 minute lessons a week. The 1st year students started in December with large ensemble rehearsals once a week for 30 minutes and the second year group received two 30 minute large ensemble rehearsals a week. All large ensemble rehearsals were in addition to the lessons and when I say large ensemble rehearsals I am talking groups just about 5 people larger than what you have posted above.

    Hope that helps.


    I love accent on achievement. They have a few books with 3 different parts. You can decide who is on part 1, 2, or 3. I have used the holiday one and its great for those small or strange instrumentation groups.

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