Junior High Band
Teaching Tips

Use a Counting System

At the high school we used the Eastman (one-ta-te-ta) counting system. I liked it for two reasons, (1) Your tongue moves basically the same when counting the rhythm as when playing it, and (2) It has a method for counting 16th notes in triple meter. I tried using it at the junior high but the local piano teachers used the Traditional (one-e-&-a) system and it was too big a battle trying to force the students to change. I ended up using a combination of both systems: Traditional for duple meter and Eastman for triple meter. Here is a review of both systems:

  • duple-meter 8ths = one-&, two-&, etc.
  • duple-meter 16ths = one-e-&-a, two-e-&-a, etc.
  • triple-meter 8ths = one-&-a, two-&-a , etc.
  • triple-meter 16ths = (none that I know)
  • duple-meter 8ths = one-te, two-te, etc.
  • duple-meter 16ths = one-ta-te-ta, two-ta-te-ta, etc.
  • triple-meter 8ths = one-la-lee, two-la-lee, etc.
  • triple-meter 16ths = one-ta-la-ta-lee-ta, two-ta-la-ta-lee-ta, etc.

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.