Band is exciting, especially at the beginning of a new school year. Make it so!
Get them playing something exciting as soon as possible. Laying a foundation of good fundamentals is very important, but don’t over do how much time you spend on them! If you understand the principles of Spiral Learning and the Law of Diminishing Returns, you know that more than 5-10 minutes on long tones, for example, is counter-productive. And let’s be honest(!), it is not that much fun for kids. Yes, it is important and do it everyday, but get into some real music as soon as possible. That is why the kids are in band.
So what is exciting in band music? Survey says: fast. Get the fingers moving and tempos up, and even scales played slow to medium to fast can be fun. Make a game out of it. Music does not have to be really hard to be exciting and enjoyable. Challenge the students at the beginning of the school year and tell them with what you play “band is exciting and this is the type of music we are going to play!”
Of course gradually work in a good balance of styles including some slow and lyrical playing.
(If you are not familiar with Spiral Learning Theory and the Law of Diminishing Returns, check out The Dynamic Marching Band Chapters 1 & 6.)
Don’t forget – We Came to Play!
Have an exciting new band year!