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The Band Director’s Guide to Marching Band Arranging is designed for any band director (or other musician) who wants to create music for marching bands but is unsure how to start. In addition to covering basic topics like instrumentation, voicings, and notation conventions, the book digs into other issues that are important for arrangers to consider, such as evaluating the ensemble, developing good musical form and contour, writing easy arrangements, and developing a band’s signature “sound.” The book shows how to work with the music notation program Sibelius as a virtual sketchpad, as well as how to use the program to create teaching tools for marching performers. Two versions of a sample arrangement are provided, written at two different levels of difficulty.
With only just a few notes needed by each player, and easy fingering patterns that will reinforce good dexterity skills within the reach of beginning or young student Musicians, this work then allows for a complete exploration of Dynamic and ensemble Tempo control, with a focus on the 1/8th note. Although the PAD Bass is “optional,” it is still highly recommended as a device to improve Tuning & Intonation while providing an inviolable fundamental for the ensemble.
While this piece was designed to be playable by first year players with basic instrumentation, it works well with an older group with full complement of percussion and background instruments. The bass clarinet part works better alone, as other low voices rarely blend quietly at this age. Ranges are limited, and the study exercises allow work on rhythm, balance, and expression. All percussion parts are optional, but offer multiple opportunities for even a large section. By adding of the opening eight measures of the first clarinet part in a mallet part, the piece could be performed as strictly a percussion ensemble. This piece has been performed in manuscript form by groups as young as fifth grade. It has recently been featured in several middle school clinic band performances.