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Balanced Programs for Instrumental Teachers

Mike Lawson • Archives • December 29, 2006

In middle school and high school instrumental programs across the country, from the Midwest to the West Coast, instrumental departments often do not have “balanced programs.” Instrumental directors often conduct several concert bands and direct at least one jazz ensemble in order to hold a full-time position. Some schools, and their conductors, are known for their great jazz program, while others have exemplary concert bands. Few programs can boast about having outstanding groups in all categories. Weaknesses usually can be traced to the individual likes and preferences of the band director.

Truthfully, each of us would love to succeed in both areas, but how do we get the knowledge base to do so? What festivals do we choose to participate in to achieve that balance? Students feel the bias when directors take the jazz ensemble to competitions, but the concert band doesn’t ever get a chance to travel and compete.

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