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.