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Primary school wind band - ideas needed?

(6 Posts)
Effjay Sat 15-Jun-13 15:05:23

I'm a parent governor in our local state primary. The school like the governors to spend a day a term in the school to understand how it all works. This time I chose to spend time with the music teacher (with her teaching Reception, Y3 and Y6 classes) and with the peripatetic woodwind teacher.

At the moment, there's no group for the children to play with, although there is a good choir. I suggested a wind band and the headmaster thinks this is a very good idea. This could be run by the peri, music teacher or one of the main teaching staff. (When I was young, I played in groups at school, at county and national level, so would love the children in the school to have an opportunity to pursue music if they wish)

I'd welcome some ideas on good music for beginner wind bands, how to foster enthusiasm from the children, performance ideas and any other examples of really good music making you have seen in schools that you would like to share.

ipadquietly Sat 15-Jun-13 15:31:24

We have a thriving orchestra, run by the peri strings teacher (for a small fee). It's been going for about 12 years. I send out a letter at the beginning of the year which talks about team work, and the importance of commitment, etc, and this gives me an idea of what instruments we'll have and the age of the children involved.

Anyone is welcome, although we stipulate that children should be able to sightread simple music. The orchestra leader has 'Sibelius' and rustles up easier parts when necessary! ATM we have children from Y2 (very easy violin) to Y6.

Obviously the make-up of the group changes every year, some years being better than others. Our current orchestra has about 30 members with violins, recorders (descant/tenor), flutes, clarinets, drums and other percussion and guitars. The Y4a are leading the violins!

It is very useful to have a parent/helper on hand apart from the orchestra/band leader, to help sort problems! (Our helper is a good musician and can help with fingering on clarinets and flutes, rhythm and beat, and just general little niggles.) We also have a TA who plays in the orchestra, and a teacher who plays the piano to keep things going!

I've never had any problems recruiting players - they've always been keen to come (and we offer many house-points to attendees on sunny summer days!) However, we found that lunchtime sessions work far better than the after school sessions as there are always clashes with OOS activities/children wanting to unwind or watch telly instead.

The orchestra is my source of pride at school. I think we achieve an amazing thing with young, fairly inexperienced children. The advantages to the children are manifold: they learn how to sightread, find their place in music, perform in public and appreciate the importance of their part within the composite sound of the orchestra.

I'm sorry, I can't help you with woodwind music, but I certainly recommend that you go ahead!
smile smile
Good luck

If I can help any more, please ask!

toomuchicecream Sun 16-Jun-13 10:35:12

This is what my primary school orchestra used (when the Mum who ran it didn't write her own) - lots and lots of variety and starts from really easy. When I ran the orchestra for a while, I was advised to buy fingering charts for all the instruments so if a child was stuck for a note we could look it up together (I often played the 3rd clarinet part to keep the real beginners together!)

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 16-Jun-13 13:25:19

My DD's school has wonderful music. They have an 'orchestra' for years 3 to 6. I use the term loosely as it is not a normal structure currently they have a violin, a clarinet, an oboe, two flutes, two recorders, a sax and a set of drums. However, the wonderful music teacher adapts the score so it works.
This term they have been playing 'The Bare Necessities', Christmas a selection of carols and last term Land of hope and glory.

hels71 Sun 16-Jun-13 13:39:50

When I ran junior school orchestras we used music from phoenix music (which may be also ok for wind band as the easier stuff is in 4 parts mainly) and also Junior music kit and classical music kit which I can not recall the publisher of off hand. All this music worked well with years 3-6 and children from grade 5/6 down to those who had only been learning for a few terms (I did have two orchestras though a starter one and one for the more advanced!) Some times I needed to write simpler parts.

Effjay Sun 16-Jun-13 20:06:28

Thank you very much for all your really helpful suggestions!

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