Episode 5: Help, I have 20 Beginning Saxophone Students!

What do you do when you have 20 beginning saxophone students and 20 more students who want to play percussion, leaving you with very few students playing other instruments? It seems to be a very common problem in middle school bands. We’re here to talk about what we have found works well to achieve balanced instrumentation in middle school bands.

We all want students to enjoy the instrument that they’re playing but we also know that we cannot have 20 beginning saxophone students and that having balanced instrumentation is very important. Ideal instrumentation is going to look a little different for each level of band and we are covering what it should look like for beginner, intermediate, and advanced bands. We are sharing why balanced instrumentation is important, how to decide who will play the most wanted instruments, and how to go about having students switch instruments when necessary. 

If you want to maximize your rehearsal time and reduce interruptions, check out the Concert Band Cheat Sheet Bundle. This bundle includes fingering charts for commonly used notes, notation guides, rhythm guides, and more! Simply print them out and put them in your students’ binders so they can quickly and easily reference them when needed!

Have you tried any of these tips or have tips of your own? We would love to hear from you! Head to our website and send us a message or connect with us on Instagram.

In this episode we cover:

  • Why balanced instrumentation is important for all levels of band
  • What the ideal instrumentation looks like in the beginning realm, intermediate realm, and advanced realm
  • How to decide who gets to play highly requested instruments such as saxophone and percussion
  • What to do when an instrument is not working out for a student
  • How to encourage students to switch to more advanced instruments in intermediate and advanced bands

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More about The First Six Notes with Classroom Composers

The First Six Notes Podcast with Classroom Composers is for band teachers and string teachers looking for great information from experienced teachers. 

Every other week, we’ll dive into everything about teaching band and string music students. We’re covering everything from pedagogy to fundraising and interviewing successful music teachers, composers, admin, professional private studio teachers, and more to uncover and share their strategies for musical success. 

Classroom Composers is a married team of two music teachers, Kevin Hoff and Jessica Frank. Between the two of us, we have experience teaching K-6 general music, elementary 4/5 band/strings, and middle school band/strings/guitar who want to share our knowledge and experience with other teachers.

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