The magically appearing "To-Do" list at the start of every beginning band class seems to go on forever...help Andrew unstick his trumpet valve...fix Lucy's bent clarinet bridge key...give Jasmine the new music she missed when she was sick last class...check Aiden's grade and explain why he doesn't have an "A"...and most importantly (but always at the very bottom of my list) TAKE ROLL!
I despise making the rest of the class sit around waiting for this stuff to be done, but it MUST be done, and at least some of it must be done before rehearsal can begin. My solution is a set of warm-up exercises that the students can go through on their own. I call them "Start-Ups", and they work like a charm!
Each set of "Start-Ups" has a play-along track that guides students through the exercises. This is what makes them "Automated", and also what allows you to handle all your daily busy work while keeping the students actively engaged in worthwhile music-making. In the play-along tracks a narrator provides helpful tips while directing students' attention to each upcoming exercise.
Here is a brief overview of the exercises:
1. Breathing Exercises - to encourage greater volume and control of the air
2. Mouthpiece Pitches - helps brass AND woodwind players with embouchure, while also teaching them to count multi-measure rests
3. Listen & Play - long tone exercises which are especially helpful to get brass students playing the correct partial
4. Technique - includes lip slurs for brass and carefully selected fingering intervals for woodwinds
5. Tonguing - basic tonguing exercise to increase skill and speed
6. Chorales - simple, but beautiful four-measure, three-part chorales
7. Scales - gradually adds developmentally-appropriate major scales
8. Circle of Fourths - simple series of notes that teaches the order of fourths
9. Fingering Chromatics - students use a fingering chart to slowly practice a series of chromatic fingerings
You can download the Term 1 set of Band Start-Ups for FREE by clicking HERE.
You've just GOTTA give this a try with your beginning band, and experience the freedom (for you) and the increased musicianship (for your students) that comes with using these on a daily basis.