Junior High Band

I gratefully acknowledge the help and encouragement of those who made this work possible. Four years after I was asked by a new teacher to write down how I survived, a neighbor, Peter Abilla, asked me what I do now that I'm retired. I gave him my typical answer, "I do the dishes. I do the laundry. I do the shopping, and so forth." Then he asked me if I was going to write a book. I was surprised by the question and explained if anyone wrote a book in our family it would be my wife - she's the book person. But he got me thinking and I remembered that earlier request.

Phil Oyler was the junior high principal who gave me the money and time off to observe successful junior high band directors. Without his encouragement I wouldn't have survived that first year.

Wes Barry was my high school band director, mentor, colleague, and friend. His work ethic, his love of music, and his philosophy of music education were the foundation of my success and I will ever be grateful.

Gordon Jessop, who years ago was my graduate advisor, graciously agreed to read the manuscript. Using a red pen, in his words, he "bled all over it." His blood gave it new life and made it much more professional.

Don Blackburn was the choir director who babysat disruptive students for me when needed. We taught in adjacent rooms for 21years. He not only read the manuscript and gave me helpful input but he also made me feel like the whole project was worthwhile.

Ralph Laycock taught me everything I know about conducting. He also taught me private clarinet, flute, and trumpet lessons during my undergraduate years. I am the musician I am today mostly because of him.

My wife, Kay, served as editor and gave me support and encouragement. She seemed genuinely pleased that I would even try to write a book.

My son, Tyler, solved every computer problem I threw at him and never complained that I was asking him to work on his days off.

I am very grateful to the following people who shared their family videos with me. Many of them spent a lot of time searching though family files, digitizing and uploading the videos for the Music “Winners” list: Allen and Eda Hill, Bryan Merrill, Nicole VandenBos, Chris Stevenson, Shaun Heaton, Brent Rowley, Scott and Leann Swain, Marianne Fletcher and her father Tom Fletcher, Maria Carr, Kyle Miller, Ben Major, Regan Brough and his mother Ralene Brough, Jeremy Myntti, Mark Hornberger, Kari Pyne Wendt and her father Don Pyne, Nicole Watts Nelson, Kara Palmer Booshardt and her father Craig Palmer, Nicia Whitaker, Sandra Southerland, Diane VanDyke, Matt Handy, Jake Mallory and his parents Ferrell and Kathy Mallory, Levi Boren, Carole Harrison, Sarah Goates Christopherson and her father Steven Goates, Nathan Murray, and others.

Video Disclaimer

The attached videos are not perfect examples of how each tune should be played. They are recordings of junior high students, some of whom have had their instruments for only a few months. Also, they are not professional recordings. They were taken by band parents using home equipment and naturally focusing on their own children.

I include them for two reasons: (1) To give you an idea of what the arrangements are like, and (2) To illustrate the kind of performance you can expect from your junior high students.