8th Grade Concert Band Program

Level: 8th Grade, Grade 2

Essential Questions

  • What is humor?
  • Can music be funny and playful?
  • What does it mean for music to represent an idea?

Unit Questions

  • What is balance? How loud/soft do I play in relation to those in my section and the band as a whole?
  • How can I play with style?


Fall Concert, 1st Semester

What we already know

  • Counting in 4/4 time
  • Eighth note rhythms, sixteenth note rhythms, dotted quarter note rhythms
  • Staccato and legato articulation

Title: “Comical Illustrations”

(Theme: music that is humorous, playful)

  • Barbarossa, William Himes
  • Anne McGinty, The Red Baloon
  • Portrait of a Clown, Frank Tichelli

William Hime’s “Barbarossa” 

Grade: 2

Key: Major

Style: Contrasting sections of lyrical and dance

Form: ABA, variations

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how composers use contrast.
  • Understand role of performers in executing musical concepts.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
16th note rhythm Legato versus staccato Echo, changing section roles Phrasing, ritardando, character

Anne McGinty’s “Red Baloon”

Grade: 2

Key: Major/Minor

Style: lyrical

Form: passes melody between instruments

Learning Objectives

  • Play with solid, steady tone at a variety of dynamic levels.
  • Build an effective musical climax.
  • Play confidently in solo contexts.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Dotted quarter eighth rhythm, playing on the offbeats Legato. Balance and tuning. Tone, melodic shaping.

Frank Tichelli’s  “Portrait of a Clown”

Grade: 2

Key: Major/Minor

Style: Bouncy, comical

Form: ABA

Learning Objectives

  • Embody a musical idea/effect by executing expression cues in the music like dynamics, articulation, and phrasing.
  • Accurately perform a variety of styles.

Core concepts

Rhythm Articulation Ensemble Musicality
Entrances, sixteenth notes Legato versus staccato Style, character, continuity of transitions Tuning, character/style changes

Sample Lesson Plan

8th Grade, Intermediate 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, d minor harmonic

○      Bb Major Scale, g minor harmonic

●      Long tones

○      Perform long tones quitely.

○      Discuss the support needed to sustain quiet notes.

○      Rehearse entrances with quiet notes.

●      Rhythm

○      Practice a series of dotted quarter note rhythms and sixteenth note rhythms.

Prepare the class to play long sustained notes at a quiet dynamic. Prepare class to perform sixteenth note and dotted eighth rhythms. Prepare class to play in major and minor tonalities.
10 min Pose question to class: Can music represent a character?

●      Lead students to think of descriptive words for a clown.

●      Connect the descriptive words of a clown to that of the musical piece.

●      Discuss scherzo and other pieces that are “musical jokes.”

Make connections between musical concepts and the student’s everyday lives. Understand how composers choose and develop ideas in their music. Discuss how aspects of music have an effect on the listener.
15 min “Portrait of a Clown” rehearsal

●      Rehearse melody separate from rhythmic parts. Discuss strategies for counting.

●      “Sing and fing” – have students perform rhythms with voice while fingering.

●      Discuss aspects of the piece that embody descriptive adjectives about clowns.

Learn how character/style is achieved in music through articulations and dynamics. Use visualization as a tool for musicality.
10 min “Barbarossa”

●      Rehearse repeating rhythmic pattern (especially in brass accompaniment).

●      Rehearse transitions and styling changes.

Execute character changes and transitions while maintaining tempo.
15 min “Red Balloon”

●      Rehearse balance between solos and ensemble parts.

●      Discuss how the parts rhythms build onto each other (discuss counting for entrances).

Understand individual parts’ relationship to the whole. Maintain good section sound and blend.
  Pack up, closing comments,assign homework.  


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Hi. I play piano. I write.

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