News & Views Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Authentic Pieces Your Young Band Will Love Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One of the things that our band staff is always listening for, besides unique and interesting new arrangements, is authenticity.  We all know that there are many titles for band published each year that purport to be in some style or another, and some are really good (some even in spite of their titles), and others are just outright lame (no matter how cool the title is).  We also know that fun, cool-sounding pieces can make band fun and exciting, and that your students can see right through hokey style adaptations – after all, who doesn’t want to play music that sounds like something, no matter how basic their skill level.  Here are a variety of new titles for young band that suit their styles to a “T”, and we’re sure you, your band, and your audience will have fun with them!

Chillaxin’, Matt Conaway – Grade 1
Feature your trumpet section and teach 12-bar blues with this laid-back groove-rock tune. It follows the changes, has a solid bass line, and is perfect to open up to feature some budding soloists!

Ghost Dancing, Brant Karrick – Grade 2
Featured in our Haunting New Titles blog, this intense modern work is full of tone clusters, angular melodies, clashing harmonies, and jagged rhythmic interjections that take programmatic music to the edge!  Think Danny Elfman’s quirkiness meets Night on Bald Mountain with a taste of Charles Ives’ polytonality thrown in for good measure.

Gospel John, arr. Andy Clark – 2.5
True to the original, this 70’s Maynard Ferguson hit is solidly arranged for young bands, and is as good as any rock arrangement you’ll find.

Grand Galop, Johnnie Vinson – Grade 2
Full of dynamic phrasing, style, and tonguing, this Vinson original is brick right out of the gate!  With limited rhythmic and technical demands, this is a great introduction to the galop/circus march style, and features a slight fight-song quality.

Harlequin Dance, Erik Morales – Grade 2.5
This light, swingin’ program work reminiscent of noir TV themes features brushes on the drums, vibes, an alto sax solo, and excellent jazz harmonies and syncopation!  A walking upright bass, drum set, colorful percussion, and a Burlesque-style shout section with back-beat cymbal crashes put this chart over-the-top!

I’m Feelin’ Funky, Gerald Sebesky – Grade 2
Great for working articulation, syncopation, and rhythm reading, this groovin’ funk chart features James Brown-style horn licks and solid style.  Don’t let the recording fool you – the ingredients are there.  Tweak the tempo and tighten up the staccato articulation, and this one goes from “baby band”-ish to funkalicious!

Sun Cycles, Brian Balmages – Grade 2.5
Sun Cycles is based on the Egyptian Sun God, Ra, and features a wealth of Middle Eastern percussion instruments. Its multiple sections are mysterious, raucous, driving, dark, and full of Middle Eastern sound, rhythm, and style.

Vivo (Galop), arr. Andrew Glover – Grade 2
Limited technical demands make Vivo very accessible without sacrificing any of the style and fun of the original. Features the woodwinds at the beginning of the break strain, and a raucous shout section where the whole band can let it rip!

A Yiddish Lullaby, arr. Robert Sheldon – Grade 1
The Jewish lullaby Raisins and Almonds has become so popular that it’s now considered a folk song, and Robert Sheldon’s gorgeous arrangement is part lyrical ballad, part ancient folk song setting. Dynamic and flowing, yet gentle, this arrangement will advance your ensemble’s musicianship, while the Jewish sonic inflections add touching emotional weight.

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