Junior High Band
Teaching Tips

Find Good Method Books

Band method books are very helpful. Many of them provide instruction for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. There are several series of books to consider. I typically used one method for five or six years -- until I couldn't stand it any longer or until something better was published. I was always looking for the perfect book for each level and even considered writing my own at one point.

For the beginners, the cost of book one and their Note Spellers (See Teaching Tips/Note Spellers for more information.) was covered in the summer band fee. When it came time to buy books two and three I made it an all-or-nothing assignment which affected their grades. A student who had his method book received 100% and an A on the assignment. A student who didn't have his book received 0% and an F on the assignment.

With the beginners I followed books one and two quite religiously, supplementing them with additional major scales, the chromatic scale, and concert music. Since the beginners started in the summer we usually finished book one in December and book two by the end of the school year.

I occasionally used book three in a series for the 8th graders, but I usually switched to an etude method book mainly for playing tests.

The 7th and 8th grade blowers (woodwinds and brass) were required to purchase their own books. The cost was about $8 per book. Because the 9th grade books cost $20 each and they were difficult to find, I purchased a classroom set and issued them like textbooks. I also provided the percussion method books for all the drummers. Each pounder (percussionist) received a packet of four method books - snare, mallet, timpani, and drum set. The percussion packets were also issued and returned like textbooks.

These are the books I was using when I retired:

Accent on Achievement, books 1, 2, and 3. John O'Reilly and Mark Williams, Alfred Music Publishing Co.

Note Speller for (all instruments), Fred Webber, Belwin Publishing Co.

Advanced Techniques for Band, Nilo Hovey, M. M. Cole Publishing Co.

Fundamental Studies for Snare Drum, Garwood Whaley, J. R. Publications

Fundamental Studies for Mallets, Garwood Whaley, J. R. Publications

Fundamental Studies for Timpani, Garwood Whaley, J. R. Publications

Today's Sounds for Drum Set, Murray Houllif, Kendor Music Publishing Co.

Haskell Harr, book 2, Haskell W. Harr, M. M. Cole Publishing Co.

Musical Studies for the Intermediate Snare Drummer, Garwood Whaley, J. R. Publications

Musical Studies for the Intermediate Mallet Player, Garwood Whaley, J. R. Publications

Musical Studies for the Intermediate Timpanist, Garwood Whaley, J. R. Publications

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.