It’s difficult to manage student choice in an instrumental music class. There are so many things to consider. The first of which is assigning instruments to your students. It is important to have a good variety of brass and woodwind instruments so that your class can sound like a full concert band.
This is a good set up for a class of 25 students (it is only meant as a guide and you need to be flexible)
- 4 flute
- 5 clarinet
- 5 trumpet
- 2 French Horn
- 3 saxophone
- 2 trombone
- 2 euphonium
- 2 Tuba
I normally don’t assign a student to percussion in beginning band classes. At least not right away. I have found that some students don’t have a good sense of timing and if they play poorly on a drum, it can throw the entire band off. It even throws off my timing when I conduct.
Starting everyone off with a brass or woodwind instrument is a good idea. You can always move a student to percussion later.
I used this form to let my students choose the instrument they would play this year. It worked out pretty well. I was able to give most of my students their first choice. Just make sure everyone picks three different instruments.
Some students will mark “saxophone” number one, two, and three. It always seems to be the most popular instrument choice. So by requiring your students to rank their choices in numerical order, you can have flexibility with how you assign them.
I hope you are finding my series on Teaching Beginning Band Class useful. If you have missed the previous posts, please check click these links and explore what has been working well for me for a few years now.
Teaching Tip Tuesday – weekly inspiration from my class to yours