Junior High Band
Program Survival Tips

Challenge the Good Players

Every band has players with a wide range of playing skills. An important question is, "Who do you teach to - the best players, the worst players, or those in the middle?" My opinion is that you should always challenge the best players. Challenge them with difficult playing tests, warm-up exercises, and worthwhile music. If it's too easy for them they will get bored and drop out. It didn't ever bother me to lose a poor player, but I felt it was my fault if a good player left the program.

This approach obviously makes it extra hard for those who struggle. It's like throwing someone who can't swim very well in the deep water before they are ready - there's a greater danger that they won't survive. My experience was that the panic-driven effort was healthy. Even though they couldn't play the music perfectly, they progressed faster when pushed harder. I was often told by parents that band was their child's favorite class even though he/she was only getting a C or a D in the class. It was the only class they were doing anything in - they were failing everything else.

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.