Method books – which ones work for your band?
July 24, 2013 at 3:51 pm #26093
I’m wondering what method books directors are using, especially for Middle School bands. Naturally that runs the gamut of ability – I myself teach a 6th grade, a 7th grade, and an 8th grade band separately so I want to take advantage of working with the students in 3 different levels. We currently use Essential Elements. There are things I like about it, but what I’d really like to see is a book that has clear “chapters” so students (and I) know exactly what they are supposed to be learning and get lots of varied practice with those concepts. A few side notes: I try to teach the whole hand position and get them placing all their fingers down as soon as possible. I also use Daily Routines by Gino Cipriani for warm ups, and I’m going to start using Rhythm Masters (rhythmmasters.org) materials as well.
Would love to hear what you think!July 25, 2013 at 7:53 pm #26098
I have been using Accent on Achievement for many years. The kids really seem to enjoy it and they learn a lot.July 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm #26125
I also am an advocate for Accent on Achievement. I have only heard praise from my colleagues about the quality of these books and I personally use them in my band. Each short piece in this song was added for a specific purpose rather than just ‘another song to play’. The pages are colorful, engaging, exceeds national standards, and the kids love them. The only critique on the method I can think of at the moment is the starting notes for flutes (D, Eb, F). I have found my flute players have a difficult time starting with these. I’d highly recommend this method!August 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm #26436
I Teach beginning band to 4th and 5th graders. two years ago my colleagues agreed we would all use essential Elements 2000. I’m going back to Accent on Achievement. I found the Ess. elements too hard for the flutes in the beginning and I like the format to Accent. New info, terms, notes are all highlighted in colorful boxes.
I believe our middle school teachers use Standards of Excellence.August 6, 2013 at 9:02 am #26448
I switched out of EE2K to “Measures of Success” for this coming year. EE is not a bad book but I found the pacing too quick at the beginning and the kids who didn’t pick up on things as quickly really struggled. Measures is paced a bit slower at the beginning and really allows the kids to grasp the concepts with more supporting material (more tunes) before moving them on to more stuff. Measures is also divided into units so the kids feel they have accomplished something when they finish unit 1.
In truth, there is no perfect method book. Depending on the instrument, there are concessions made in order to be able to have all the instruments play together. In an ideal world, all instruments would be homogenius for a year before joining as a “band”. Are there any programs out there that are structured like this? I’d be curious to hear how it works out…August 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm #27457
I use Measures of Success, too. This will be my fourth year using it, and I really like it. I like how it is divided into chapters (Opuses) with assessments and activities at the end of each. The students also feel a sense of achievement when they are at the end of an Opus, and I find that setting the goal of finishing by a certain (reasonable) date gives them a short-term goal. The CD tracks are pretty sweet, and I use them occasionally in class, which I never did with EE2000.
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