6th Grade Concert Band Program

Level: 6th Grade, Grade 1

Essential Questions

  • What types of music influence composers? Do composers borrow styles, melodies, and rhythms?
  • How do composers invoke feeling through music?

Unit Questions

  • What is dorian tonality?
  • What are dynamics? How do they contribute to the feeling/experience a piece has on the listener?
  • What is balance? How loud/soft do I play in relation to those in my section and the band as a whole?
  • What is tuning? How do I tune my instrument?
  • How do I vary articulations on my instrument?

Pacing

Fall Concert, 1st Semester

What we already know

  • Counting in 4/4 time
  • Bb and F major scales
  • Eighth note rhythms

Program

Title: “Drives and Daydreams”

(Theme: Driving rhythms contrast with lyrical moments)

  • Imperium, Michael Sweeny
  • Air and Caprice, Larry Clark
  • Bartok Folk Trilogy, Anne McGinty

Michael Sweeny’s  “Imperium”

Key: G Dorian (Concert F key signature)

Style: Stately, intense, expository

Form: Alternates between tutti and soli sections; repeating motive

Learning Objectives

  • Play with good, full tone at a variety of dynamic levels.
  • Play with style (History connection – Renaissance bands announcing a king’s arrival)
  • Develop a section sound for solo sections.
  • Balance individual parts in the context of the full ensemble in tutti sections.
  • Learn about Dorian tonality.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
 

Eighth notes dividing alternating beats, repeating rhythmic motive, tempo change

Accents, tenuti, and staccati Balance in solo and tutti sections, section sound Motives, dynamic shading, character, style


Larry Clark’s “Air and Caprice”

Key: Dorian, Major

Style: Air – lyrical, melodic, chorale-like; Caprice – happy, jovial

Form: Air builds a chorale-like texture. Caprice takes similar melodic materials and passes it between instruments.

Learning Objectives

  • Play with good, full tone at a variety of dynamic levels.
  • Play with style (History connection – Renaissance bands announcing a king’s arrival)
  • Develop a section sound for solo sections.
  • Balance individual parts in the context of the full ensemble in tutti sections.
  • Learn about Dorian tonality.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Eighth notes rhythms, rests on 1 and 3. Legato versus staccato Balance and tuning in lyrical section. Lyrical playing, melodic phrase shaping.

Anne McGinty’s “Bartok Folk Trilogy” 

Key: Dorian

Style: Folk music, pentatonic scale, alternate modes

Form: Trio, with three contrasting sections

Learning Objectives

  • Play thinner orchestration confidently.
  • Understand influence of folk music on band repertoire/band composers.
  • Change in character between sections.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Eighth notes, accompaniment parts with rests Legato versus staccato Changes in character between movements, balance in solo and tutti texture Motives, dynamic shading, character, style

Sample Lesson Plan

6th Grade, Beginning Band

Length: 60 min

Time/60 Task Learning Objective
10 min Announcements & Warm-ups:

●      Breathing

○      Breathe with good posture, relaxed shoulders, and diaphragm support for 8 counts, 4 counts, 2 counts, and 1 count.

●      Scales

○      F Major Scale

○      Bb Major Scale

○      Lead class into playing of G Dorian scales (begin the F major scale on G), discuss differences in the sound

●      Rhythm

○      Count & clap a series of rhythm patterns with eighth notes dividing different beats.

○      Examples:

●      Long tones

○      Perform long tones both quietly and at a loud volume. Discuss how breath should be inhaled to achieve good tone. Talk about the volume of air needed to sustain a loud note.

○      Articulation play back and forth: Teacher models a measure of 8th notes in 4/4 legato (class repeats back), then staccato, accented, and marcato.

Prepare the class to play in dorian tonality using the F and Bb major scale patterns. Prepare class to perform eighth note rhythms accurately before performing them in context.
10 min Pose question to class: Is it okay for artists to borrow ideas from other people?

●      Lead students to think of examples of music where composers borrow from other songs.

 

Pose question: What is a folk song? Are there any songs that you learned as a child because people sang them to you?

●      Discuss how songs like “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and “Daisy, Daisy” are passed on by rote. Connect to how different cultures have similar tunes called folk songs.

●      Discuss how composers, like Percy Grainger, borrow folk songs from different countries and use them as “ingredients” for their pieces.

Make historical connections between how music is currently passed down in our society and the composing of band music. Make cultural connections to folk songs and the wind ensemble canon.
15 min “Imperium” rehearsal

●      Remind students about the recurring rhythmic figure. Ask students to point out where they see the rhythm in their part.

●      Practice rhythm by singing parts while fingering the notes.

●      Play in context with metronome.

Prepare students to accurately perform eighth note rhythms. Practice such rhythms in context of the piece.
10 min “Air and Caprice” rehearsal

●      Connect the “air” section with the techniques employed for long tones. Remind students about breath support and tuning.

●      Build chords and point out each student’s “role” in the chord – root, third, and fifth.

Practice good tone during sustains. Understand the roles of different notes in the context of chords.
15 min “Bartok Folk Trilogy” rehearsal

●      Discuss with students the contrasting character between the first and second sections of the piece.

●      Practice transition between the two characters and tempo.

●      Rehearse sections with difficult staccati articulation.

Perform contrasting tempi and character.
Pack up, closing comments,assign homework.

 

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