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A school band is a group of student musicians who rehearse and perform instrumental music together. A concert band is usually under the direction of one or more conductors (band directors). A school band consists of woodwind instruments, brass instruments and percussion instruments, although upper level bands may also have string basses or bass guitar.
School bands in the United Kingdom are generally similar to those in the US although pure brass bands are more commonplace in schools than in the US. Some countries usually prefer certain special types of bands, usually drums, over conventional ones. The school band movement in Japan is unusually strong, organized around an enormous competition system administered by the All-Japan Band Association. Many international observers of Japanese school bands consider them to be the most impressive in the world, particularly among very young students, and Japan is also home to one of the world's leading professional concert bands, the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra.
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Although some children learn an instrument prior to entering a middle school (or junior high), students in music education programs within the United States and Canada generally start daily band classes in the 6th or 7th Grade. Many band programs begin as early as 4th or 5th grade. The students usually make up a band based upon their grade, which may then be broken up into sectionals to provide better instrument-specific instruction. It is sometimes required for beginner students to play a recorder for a year before learning another instrument, so that basics, such as scales, embouchure, etc. can be taught easily. Other requirements may include learning a piano or guitar to understand basic music theory, notation, etc.
A "beginning" band, consisting of the youngest students in the school, usually gives two or three concerts a year, and may participate in a local/state contest. These bands are given easy music to learn, often with many duplicate parts and simple rhythms. Students sometimes may be required to memorize the 12 major scales. Depending upon the size of the school, there may be one to three "higher level" bands after the beginning band. These bands are usually divided similarly to high school bands. Some schools require students to audition and be placed in a band according to their ability on their instrument. Others will assign students based on their performance as seen in class. Yet others will simply sort the students according to their age or grade level. Most of these decisions are decided by the conductor. These higher level bands will occasionally play in high school games and pep rallies to augment the local high school band, although in small schools they always come to these events. Beginning bands usually are used in the spot of an elective.
Instruments typically in beginning bands:
Some bands will also have a percussion kit, which will allow them to play bells and drums
High school bands typically challenge students musically more than those in middle school. Music is much more difficult with more complex passages, intricate rhythms and more involved phrasing. Selections also vary in style. A well-rounded band is expected to be able to play a wide variety of music, ranging from serious 'program music' to lighter 'pop-style' music. For many high school students, school bands are the main form of music education available to them in school. Marches were the first major contributions to the wind band repertoire. There are many pieces other than marches written for wind band at present, but there are some historical standards that should be included into the repertoire of advanced ensembles. Some of the most notable of these pieces are Holst's First Suite in E-flat and Second Suite in F , and Grainger's Children's March and Lincolnshire Posy among others.
Below is a list of the instrumentation in a typical concert band at the high school level. The number of instruments in each section varies, but listed below are usually the average number of members. Middle school/junior high bands are usually around the upper values for each instrument. Instrumentation in beginner bands is usually much larger than this. College and professional bands generally have smaller numbers of players. These numbers may vary widely, based on the instrument and the people playing them (as many people playing instruments such as trombones may drop out, causing others to change instruments to fill the need). Some bands have a set number of performers per section while other bands have open unlimited participation.
In most middle school bands, strings (besides the string bass) are not used. If they are, the band is generally considered an orchestra.
The first high school band in the United States was the Boston Farm and Trade School Band, founded in 1856. The oldest high school band in America is The Christian Brothers Band (Memphis) founded in 1872.
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Many colleges/universities have band as a class. Some are integrated within a 'Music' course while others are not. They tend to be larger than a high school band and play at a higher level.
There are many other school band opportunities for students. Most of these fall under the jurisdiction of the director that teaches the daily band classes, whether or not the smaller groups meet daily or during school hours.
Many schools, especially high schools in the United States, have a marching band. A school marching band may contain from 11 to over 500 students. Marching bands often practice frequently during the late summer and early fall and most often attend their school's football games, playing music in the stands, and marching a show during halftime. A show is usually between 6 and 10 minutes long, but many competitions place restrictions on length. Bands often compete in marching band competitions throughout the marching season (typically the same time as football season). Competitions vary in intensity. Some areas have many smaller, local competitions hosted by individual schools. Others host a regional competition. Others, such as Bands of America competitions are nationally known and take place in professional arenas.
In addition to their show, marching bands often march parades. Often this is limited to their city or town's municipal parades, but some bands travel to participate in well known parades, such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Years Day.
Many schools have jazz programs in addition to their concert program. Different schools have different time slots for their jazz band. Some meet as an actual class during the school day, while others may choose to practice after school or before school two or three times a week. Meeting as a class during school can often cause schedule conflicts with students' academic classes. Many times jazz band may rehearse during the study hall, free period, or part of the lunch period. Typical instrumentation for jazz ensembles will include trumpets, trombones, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, a drum set (often called a "trap set"), guitar, bass guitar, piano, clarinet and often, a vibraphone or marimba. Many areas have jazz festivals, but the popularity of these widely vary from different regions of the country. Jazz bands are most often used as an ambassador ensemble for the band program as a whole. In addition, jazz education is seen as growing in popularity as a specialty area within school music departments.
Schools rarely have chamber music ensembles that meet as real classes, usually depending on the region, state and budget. Most of these groups are ad hoc ensembles put together by the director or the students themselves for a contest or recital. Examples would be clarinet quartets, woodwind quintet, brass quintet, duets, and trios. Groups consisting of the entire woodwind or brass section, or even percussion section of a band are also sometimes formed.
Perhaps not associated with the individual school, All-Region bands are audition-only groups for the most advanced players in each school. There are many different "All-Region" bands, ranging from the most local "All-County" or "All-District"(when referring to school districts) to the more prestigious "All-State". Many states also have a level between County and State bands which varies in name according to the area. These events are often highly enjoyed by the students that attend them. Musical literature is often increased in difficulty for the concerts, providing a challenge that isn't seen at schools. Students also get to meet new players on their instrument and share stories from their own band experiences. Region bands typically last over a weekend, though some may meet for over a week before performing a concert.
Though not associated with All-State, Florida has a statewide band festival called Festival of Winds, held in Tampa at The University of South Florida in the first weekend of December. Also, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have a band festival called Tri-State, held in Tallahassee, Florida at Florida State University in the same time period as Festival of Winds.
Modern bandis an instrumental and vocal school music program taught in a growing number of public schools systems in the U.S. Instrumentation typically includes acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass, keyboard, vocals, computers and percussion instruments. The repertoire of modern band is evolving as it draws from commercially dominant and contemporary music styles of the day such as pop, rock, disco, reggae, hip-hop and more.
Major public school systems that offer Modern Band programming include those in the New York City Department of Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, Chicago Public Schools and others. Modern band is a new movement in public school music education circles. The term "Modern Band" was coined by a music education non-profit, Little Kids Rock, who partners with school districts from economically challenged communities to expand their music programs.
"Band geek" or "band nerd" is a high school stereotype of a person obsessed with playing band music. However, the term usually relates to the belief that most people who are in school bands are socially inept. [ citation needed ]The term is sometimes used to describe any student who plays an instrument and is in a band class (including students in the orchestra). "Orch dork" is a variation specifically for members of school orchestras. These terms have become a label of pride for many band members, being found on T-shirts, bumper stickers, etc.
In school bands, women tend to play woodwind instruments (especially the flute) and men tend to play brass, percussion (especially drums) and the saxophone.[ citation needed ] However, this is not always the case.
These stereotypes can be avoided when band directors assess each student for musical capacity, as well as, meet with students individually to analyze their physical characteristics. For example, petite students would be more successful playing the clarinet over the tuba. Additionally, the role of gender bias in musical instrument assignment is highly debated in the field of music education. Some feel that it should be left alone while others want to combat it. One way band directors can overcome these stereotypes is to have live demonstrations from musicians playing gender atypical instruments (i.e., males playing flute, females playing tuba).
A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instrumentalists, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Other music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.
The saxophone is a type of single-reed woodwind instrument with a conical body, usually made of brass. As with all single-reed instruments, sound is produced when a reed on a mouthpiece vibrates to produce a sound wave inside the instrument's body. The pitch is controlled by opening and closing holes in the body to change the effective length of the tube. The holes are closed by leather pads attached to keys operated by the player. Saxophones are made in various sizes and are almost always treated as transposing instruments. Saxophone players are called saxophonists.
Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments within the greater category of wind instruments. Common examples include flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and saxophone. There are two main types of woodwind instruments: flutes and reed instruments. The main distinction between these instruments and other wind instruments is the way in which they produce sound. All woodwinds produce sound by splitting the air blown into them on a sharp edge, such as a reed or a fipple. Despite the name, a woodwind may be made of any material, not just wood. Common examples include brass, silver, cane, as well as other metals such as gold and platinum. The saxophone, for example, though made of brass, is considered a woodwind because it requires a reed to produce sound. Occasionally, woodwinds are made of earthen materials, especially ocarinas.
A jazz band is a musical ensemble that plays jazz music. Jazz bands vary in the quantity of its members and the style of jazz that they play but it is common to find a jazz band made up of a rhythm section and a horn section.
A transposing instrument is a musical instrument for which music notation is not written at concert pitch. For example, playing a written middle C on a transposing instrument produces a pitch other than middle C; that sounding pitch identifies the interval of transposition when describing the instrument. Playing a written C on clarinet or soprano saxophone produces a concert B♭, so these are referred to as B♭ instruments. Providing transposed music for these instruments is a convention of musical notation. The instruments do not transpose the music; rather, their music is written at a transposed pitch. Where chords are indicated for improvisation they are also written in the appropriate transposed form.
In organology, the study of musical instruments, many methods of classifying instruments exist. Most methods are specific to a particular cultural group and were developed to serve that culture's musical needs. Culture-based classification methods sometimes break down when applied outside that culture. For example, a classification based on instrument use may fail when applied to another culture that uses the same instrument differently.
A concert band, also called a wind band, wind ensemble, wind symphony, wind orchestra, symphonic band, the symphonic winds, or symphonic wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of members of the woodwind, brass, and percussion families of instruments, and occasionally including the harp, double bass, or bass guitar. On rare occasions, additional, non-traditional instruments may be added to such ensembles such as piano, synthesizer, or electric guitar.
The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone family, a group of instruments invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. The tenor and the alto are the two most commonly used saxophones. The tenor is pitched in the key of B♭ (while the alto is pitched in the key of E♭), and written as a transposing instrument in the treble clef, sounding an octave and a major second lower than the written pitch. Modern tenor saxophones which have a high F♯ key have a range from A♭2 to E5 (concert) and are therefore pitched one octave below the soprano saxophone. People who play the tenor saxophone are known as "tenor saxophonists", "tenor sax players", or "saxophonists".
The soprano saxophone is a higher-register variety of the saxophone, a woodwind instrument invented in the 1840s. The soprano is the third-smallest member of the saxophone family, which consists of the soprillo, sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass saxophone and tubax. Soprano saxophones are the smallest and thus highest-pitched saxophone in common use.
Epitaph is a composition by jazz musician Charles Mingus. It is 4,235 measures long, takes more than two hours to perform, and was only completely discovered during the cataloguing process after his death. With the help of a grant from the Ford Foundation, the score and instrumental parts were copied, and the work itself was premiered by a 30-piece orchestra, conducted by Gunther Schuller and produced by Mingus's widow, Sue, at Alice Tully Hall on June 3, 1989, 10 years after his death, and issued as a live album. It was performed again at several concerts in 2007.
A multi-instrumentalist is a musician who plays two or more musical instruments at a professional level of proficiency.
English Folk Song Suite is one of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams' most famous works. It was first published for the military band as Folk Song Suite and its premiere was given at Kneller Hall on 4 July 1923, conducted by Lt Hector Adkins. The piece was then arranged for full orchestra in 1924 by Vaughan Williams' student Gordon Jacob and published as English Folk Song Suite. The piece was later arranged for British-style brass band in 1956 by Frank Wright and published as English Folk Songs Suite. All three versions were published by Boosey & Hawkes; note the use of three different titles for the three different versions.
Banda is a genre of Regional Mexican music and the musical ensemble in which wind instruments, mostly of brass and percussion, are performed.
A clarinet choir is a musical ensemble consisting entirely of instruments from the clarinet family. It will typically include E♭, B♭, alto, bass, and contra-alto or contrabass clarinets, although sometimes not all of these are included, and sometimes other varieties may be present. The size of the ensemble varies; it may have between 10 and 40 members. There are also clarinet trios, clarinet quartets, and clarinet quintets, usually consisting of two to four B♭ clarinets and one bass clarinet.
The Purdue "All-American" Marching Band is the marching band of Purdue University and the main source of auxiliary entertainment for Purdue Boilermakers football games. The AAMB is also the official band of the Indianapolis 500 race, having held the position since 1919. The band has grown from an original 5 members to 389 members. The three most distinctive features of the AAMB are the Purdue Big Bass Drum, the Purdue Golden Girl featured twirler, and the "Block P," the first marching band field formation created in 1907.
The First Suite in E♭ for Military Band, Op. 28, No. 1, by the British composer Gustav Holst is considered one of the cornerstone masterworks in the concert band repertoire. Officially premiered in 1920 at the Royal Military School of Music, the manuscript was originally completed in 1909. Along with the subsequent Second Suite in F for Military Band, written in 1911 and premiered in 1922, the First Suite convinced many other prominent composers that serious music could be written specifically for band.
Delightful Precipice is a 19-piece British jazz big band/orchestra led by Django Bates.
October is a contemporary piece for concert band that was written by Eric Whitacre in 2000. Based on the guidelines as established by the authors of Teaching Music through Performance in Band, October is a Grade 5 piece.
The woodwind section, which consists of woodwind instruments, is one of the main sections of an orchestra or concert band. Woodwind sections contain instruments given Hornbostel-Sachs classifications of 421 and 422, but exclude 423
John Elwood Price was an American composer, pianist, ethnomusicologist, and music teacher. He composed approximately 600 musical works in a wide variety of genres. His works are widely performed in the United States by professional groups.