GPS – The Road to Musical Success

Grade Performance StepsWhen I started teaching music, I was really disappointed with the method book. It didn’t seem like my students were learning much as we worked through the various lines of music.

I searched for an alternative and found the excellent Band Fundamentals in Easy Steps. It was everything I was looking for in a method book and I was really excited to start out this school year using it.

I was really surprised to find out that my students didn’t like this book though. I wanted to find something that they would buy into. Music that they would be excited to play and learn.

That’s when I discovered GPS – Grade Performance Steps.

It’s a resource developed by OMEA (Onatrio Music Educator’s Association) and it is designed around twenty tasks. As the students work through the tasks, the collect certificates and track their progress.

I connected with a fellow music teacher in my area and he hasn’t used a method book in years. He uses the GPS program and supplements it with band pieces.

Since, we are just starting out Term 2, it seemed like a good time to switch gears and adopt his approach.

I decided to split up the percussion book. The original file had percussionists moving between the snare drum, the full kit, and the xylophone. I have a few students who only play xylophone so I created a Bells book just for them. I also made a book just for drums.

The great thing about this program is that every student gets his or her own book. They can mark it up however they see fit. They can keep track of their progress and move at their own pace. I will write more about that in a future edition of Teaching Tip Tuesday. 

Download the PDF books for each instrument below.

GPS Year One: 0 – Conductor
GPS Year One: 1 – Flute
GPS Year One: 2 – Clarinet
GPS Year One: 3 – Alto Sax
GPS Year One: 4 – Tenor Sax
GPS Year One: 5 – Trumpet
GPS Year One: 6 – French Horn
GPS Year One: 7 – Trombone
GPS Year One: 7 – Baritone / Euphonium
GPS Year One: 8 – Tuba
GPS Year One: 9 – Percussion
GPS Year One: 9 – Drum Kit / Snare
GPS Year One: 9 – Bells / Xylophone

Teaching Tip Tuesday – great resources to help you in the classroom every week!

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