Junior High Band
Organizational Tips

Hold Summer Band

I know band directors who start their beginning students the first day of regular school. Some do it to free up their summers. Others have no choice. There are so many different instruments in a band, I preferred starting the beginners in the summer when I could work with each section individually. After covering about half of book one in the summer we were able to rehearse as a band when school started.

During my first years at the high school we had two feeder junior high schools with a band director at each school. The four of us band directors worked together to teach the beginning students in the summer. We each spent one day a week at our own school having full-band rehearsals, etc., (At the high school we had marching band those days.) We spent two hours, twice a week, at each junior high teaching the beginners, and then returned to our own school to work with the older students.

By the time I moved to the junior high we had a second high school and a third junior high and we each ran our own summer band program. I chose to just teach until noon each day. The program was for beginners only and it ran for six weeks. I worked with each section twice a week and had one extra-help day. After six weeks we had a 15-minute concert. We played all the tunes in the book we thought the parents might recognize. Some of the tunes were only eight measures long. To avoid having the parents applauding longer than we played, I asked them to hold their applause until the end of each page.

Below is an example of one of the concerts. Click on the red "play" buttons to watch.

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.