How to Insure Quality Programming for Young Band

Chip De Stefano

  1. Don't forget the classics! Stop looking for the next Folk Song Suite and start performing Folk Song Suite.
  2. Select music in which the musical difficulty meets or exceeds the technical difficulty.
  3. Look for works in the standard band literature that may fit your ensemble well. A work that may otherwise be considered to difficult for the middle school band may be accessible if only one movement is performed. (The Holst Suites, English Folk Song Suite, William Byrd Suite, etc…)
  4. Stay away from “brand new” literature (except from those composers and publishers that you absolutely love/trust).
  5. Beware of formula composers.
  6. Don't be afraid to bail out on a work that doesn't meet your musical expectations after spending some rehearsal time.
  7. Don't confuse audience appeal with musical depth.
  8. Plan early, and take your time. Some of the most important decisions you will make as an educator are selecting the works that you will perform.
  9. Don't perform everything you rehearse.
  10. Perform often. Get through as much literature as you can each year.
  11. Don't be afraid to rewrite the music. Modify parts for students that are struggling. Write in doublings for weaker sections. Add percussion parts so that all students are involved. Just be sure to maintain the intent of the composer and arranger.
  12. Choose an authentic transcription over a watered down arrangement
  13. Don't buy bad music. It only encourages publishers to churn out more of it.

See also: Significant Repertoire for Young Band