Set Music Reading Goals for Each Concert Cycle
Although the pieces we play in band are not the curriculum, they play a huge part. The pieces we play are the means through which we teach and refine music concepts. In band, we read on a daily basis, but it is a different, symbolic-based language. Instead of reading aloud and deciphering the meaning, we play the music and have to come to a unison understanding of how to interpret and perform the music. Elementary and junior high band focuses more on learning the basics on holding and playing the instrument. Once the students progress to high school, the teacher can dig more into basic musicianship and music making. Setting goals in reading music can be a very simple way to incorporate literacy. The teacher could have a pretest and post-test to show very straight forward data and growth. Goals set could be reading music in new keys (incorporating scales, sharps and flats, tonal centers, etc.), music with different expressive markings (allegro, andante, ritardando, etc.), music with new rhythmic patterns (32nd notes, triplets, dotted eighth and a sixteenth note, etc.), music written in different meters (cut time, compound meters such as 7/8 or 5/4, etc.) and so much more. These concepts can be incorporated into warm-ups to isolate the new concept and then put back into context in the concert piece.