Choosing Literature for Success at Contest: Every Concert Has a Purpose

Much of a band’s success at UIL hinges on the band director’s programming choices. And while many directors will put great thought into those three pieces, every concert throughout the year has its own purpose, and the music selected should be just as carefully considered.

Fall Concert
A band’s first concert of the year sets the precedence for all future performances. Music should be selected that easy enough to focus on fundamentals and ensemble skills (listening, intonation, blend, balance, color) while challenging the kids technically through All-District music. Rehearsal and performance expectations must be set on this very first concert for success come UIL.

Winter Concert
The Winter Concert is usually the most attended concert all year, so audience buy-in and seasonal music is often the focus. But this is also the concert in which a director should crank their expectations for musical transparency and cleanliness up a notch.  Many bands introduce their UIL march at the Winter Concert to ease the load of UIL preparation after winter break. Often the march is performed under tempo with strict adherence to style, mentally preparing the kids for the focus required to be successful at UIL.

UIL
Considerations for UIL music selection vary from Varsity to Sub-Non Varsity. While a director might be making an Honor Band run with their top band, it is important to choose music that a sub-non varsity can play at the highest level. We will cover this particular topic in greater detail at our clinic.

Spring Concert
Coming off a successful UIL performance, the Spring Concert is your opportunity to GO HARD! This is your chance to push your kids technically, pushing your 8th graders toward high school expectations and finding next year’s leaders in your 7th graders. A great way to get kids excited about placement in the sub-non varsity is to program super catchy pop tunes. Seventh graders in the second band need to be pushed to either be at the top of their section in the same band or ready for varsity in the fall. The top band should be pushed hard! This a director’s chance to play music that is just out their kids’ reach in a safe environment (AKA one without judges). All of that aside, your spring concert is a celebration of a year’s hard work, and you want to pick music that the kids love.

Corey Graves, Darcy Potter Williams, and Rylon Guidry placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place respectively at the 2015 TMEA CC Honor Band Contest.

Corey Graves teaches at Roma Middle School in Roma, Texas. He is his 8th year of teaching and received his Bachelor from Stephen F. Austin State University and his Masters from Ohio State University. His band will perform at the Midwest Clinic in 2016.

Darcy Potter Williams teaches at Stiles Middle School in Leander, Texas. She is in her 13th year of teaching and received her Bachelor from West Texas A&M University. Her band performed at the Midwest Clinic in 2015. She hosts the band podcast After Sectionals: The Podcast About All Things Band. Darcy is the author of ‘Teaching Rhythm Logically’, an eBook method for teachers that helps band directors learn to structure their rhythm pedagogy through actual scripts, images and diagrams to use while teaching, as well carefully sequenced counting charts and ways to incorporate them into your daily classes 6-8thbitly.com/rhythmlogically

Rylon Guidry teaches at Arbor Creek Middle School. He is in his 10th year of teaching and received his Bachelor from University of Houston.

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