Music Theory in Band
May 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm #23367
I am beyond thrilled that next year my middle school band will be going from three short “zero period” classes per week to two full periods plus a double period “block” during the scheduled school day. Woohoo! I’m thinking ahead to those 85 minute double classes, and don’t think many of my younger middle schools will be able to rehearse for that amount of time (in terms of both physical ability and mental focus). I’ve also been thinking I want to do more of a comprehensive theory focus, since many of my kids don’t come to me with a good foundation, and my “teaching theory through performance” approach that I did with my limited rehearsal time doesn’t always cut it.
Does anyone use a theory workbook that they would recommend for 6-8th grade band students, or have a teachers guide with reproducible worksheets they like? I want something that will review the basics but also cover complicated rhythms, compound meters, order of flats and sharps, and scales in short-ish lessons with opportunities for practice. I’m thinking that during our longer rehearsals, we can warm-up and play for 40 minutes, take a 15-20 minute theory lesson break, then play for 20 more minutes at the end of class. I could certainly create my own lessons….but would much prefer something proven effective and well-organized! Thanks for your suggestions!May 3, 2013 at 7:11 am #23492
I teach HS band with a feeder program that is pretty nonexistent, so I think theory wise, my kids would probably be right around where yours are. I use Sandy Feldstein’s “Practical Music Theory” workbook. It breaks down concepts into 3 lessons and then has a review of those 3 lessons. It’s definitely more of a workbook than a book, but the concepts are introduced before the examples, so I guess it kind of doubles as both. You would definitely want to supplement the materials with your own info for kids that young.
Here’s a sample of the first few lesson topics:
Lesson 1: The Staff
Lesson 2: The Treble Clef and Staff
Lesson 3: The Bass Clef and Staff
Lesson 5: Whole-Half-Quarter Notes
Lesson 6: Measures-Bar Lines-Double Bar Lines
Lesson 7: Time Signatures and Note Values
They also go on to minor keys, harmonizing melodies, non-harmonic tones, composition, etc.
Hope this helps!May 23, 2013 at 9:59 am #24263
I’ve used the theory book that goes along with the ‘Tradition of Excellence’ method book by Bruce Pearson. Might want to peruse a copy at your dealer (I received a review copy in the mail a year or two ago), but it worked well with my Grade 6 students.
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