A Suggested Three-Year Program for High School Band Emphasizing Music Education as Aesthetic Education
Fobia, Peter S.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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For many years the author was involved in instrumental music education in the public schools of New Jersey. Having obtained the basic, all inclusive Music Teaching Certificate through a state teachers' college, he entered the world of public school teaching where his practical education began. This education came through such varied avenues as discovery, self-evaluation, development of programs and experimentation. In addition to the methods mentioned above, he studied the performances of several of the better high school band programs in northern New Jersey. A comparison of these "successful" programs with his own revealed several important facts. First, each of the "successful" organizations had large numbers of students involved who were grouped by performance level into several bands of equal size. Second, each organization had specific written objectives stated in terms of expected behaviors to be achieved by the end of a given period of time. Third, each band program required its students to participate in at least one performing group and, on a weekly basis, either a group or private instrumental music lesson during school time. Much of the music studied in rehearsals in all groups was to be performed in scheduled public concerts. The emphasis, however, was on development of musical understanding and independence with performance being a normal outcome of the overall educational scheme. Of particular interest is that the music rehearsed by each group demonstrated a variety of styles and historical periods. The overall musicianship of these groups was excellent. Even the bands with less technical expertise played with expressiveness, good tone and rhythmic precision. In short, they played musically. As the author compared his own program with that of the more established organizations, he discovered that he was moving in much the same direction as they. He effectively used many of the same instructional techniques, the same high quality music, and had the same basic type of student with which to work. However, his program was not achieving the same degree of success. The major difference among the more successful programs and his own could be measured in terms of structure, organization, and definitive purpose. This paper, therefore, is an attempt to set up a curriculum for high school band which will be highly structured and well organized, and will have clarity of purpose.