Which comes first – the music or theme/concept?

Either approach works as long as the result is a show with great music.

  • Choose music that has quality and will be enjoyable to perform by the students, to rehearse by the staff, and to listen to by the audience.

  • Great music can lead to many themes/concepts to give the show unity and perhaps a message.

  • Great themes/concepts will not lead to a successful show without great music.

Some Key Concepts in Music Selection

  • The music is the most important element of the show. Nothing will make up for poor music choices. (It is a very long season if the music “does not work.”)

  • The effectiveness of the music is the primary concern.

  • Be cautious of obscure songs and the song that “no one has ever done before.” (There is usually a reason for that!)

  • Look for a variety of tempos, styles, and voicings/orchestration.

  • Look for development and arrival (Impact) points.

  • Look for music that highlights your band’s strengths.

  • Design a show that the “popcorn eaters’’ in the audience will get and enjoy (and then the judges will get it too!)

  • Most problems in music selection occur because the music is too difficult for the level of the band.

  • The second biggest problem is music that is too easy.

  • Choose music that the majority of the players will be able to handle by mid-season.

  • The third problem area is picking tempos that are too slow or too fast to work on the field. Recordings are deceptive – use a metronome when you are choosing.

Choose great music that you and your students will love and you will be on the road to an enjoyable and successful season.

For a complete look at Show Planning, see Chapter 7: Show Planning in The Dynamic Marching Band.

  • The Wind, Percussion & Color Guard Sections

  • Show Design
  • Rehearsal Techniques

  • Band Boosters

  • Competitive Philosophy
  • Band Camp
Buy The Dynamic Marching Band


New Jazz Music

  • Show category: Jazz Band

  • Show category: Jazz Band

New Concert Music

  • Show category: Concert Band

  • Show category: Concert Band

Music & Motion

  • Show category: Music & Motion

  • Show category: Music & Motion

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