How do you do beginner band?
August 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm #11301
This is my 12th year as a teacher, and I am FINALLY getting to do band during the school day as a CLASS! (Yay!) This band will consist of 6th graders only and will meet once every 5 days. Students will get a group lesson once every 5 days during recess (20 minutes.) So to those of you who have done this before, what do you do? What do you do the first few weeks before they can play a note? How far can I expect them to get by the January concert/end of the year? Classroom management tips? Would any of you be willing to share your sillibus with me? How do you grade? Any favorite band music to use with very very beginners?September 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm #11815
Congrats on getting your band to meet during the day. That is great. But once a week is tough because when you are building those skills from nothing they don’t retain much between such infrequent lessons. This will be my 7th year teaching beginning middle school band in Queens, NY and I am still adjusting my teaching every year. In the beginning it takes them a while to just get the basics down; how to assemble the instruments and care for the reeds and disassemble them and put them in cases properly. Then it takes them a while to learn how to hold them. Expect that with only one lesson a week you will have to do a lot of review of these basic things. Go slow and make sure these fundamentals are strong. By January if they can play concert Bb, C, D, Eb and F with a reasonable sound you’re doing amazing. It’s really tough to work with one section at the beginning with the others sections not having much to do. But try to keep them engaged somehow!September 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm #11817
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!
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