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James L. Voyles

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Often music educators choose a particular band method book simply because of
who wrote it, because their predecessor used it, or because they used it as beginning band
students. With the large number of band methods available today, it is important to
evaluate the method books that are being considered. No method book is perfect, and
hopefully today's teachers understand the importance of choosing the best band method for
their particular teaching situation. This paper examines and evaluates the percussion texts
of nine beginning band method books in order to assist music teachers in choosing
supplemental materials to enhance their own teaching method. The following points will be
examined in each method book: the sequence of rhythms being introduced, the
development of the student's rudimentary skills, the quality and quantity of musical
elements being taught, and the idea of a complete percussionist versus a "drummer."
Most method books are strongly sequential in the introduction of rhythms, which is
important, but the pace must be fast enough to hold the interest of the beginning percussion
student. Development of rhythm reading skills and performance skills depend, in part, on
the order in which the method books teach the rhythms. For example, some books begin
by teaching the percussionist the whole note, while others begin with the quarter note.
Another aspect of rhythms that will be examined is how the method books present the
different permutations of a particular rhythm.
The second point that will be reviewed is the ability of the method books to develop
the student rudimentally. One specifIc area that will be looked at is rudiment introduction.
Many books go to great lengths to describe how a rudiment should be played, while some
leave performance tips and the pacing of the book entirely up to the teacher. Another
rudimental area that will be analyzed is whether specifIc rudiments are continually
reinforced, or if they are forgotten with the introduction of the next rudiment.
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vcmprojects | Jun 10, 2024 |

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