Teacher Resource Center/Guide to Concert Band Music
Concert Band Music Guide
By Zachariah Friesen
Behold, the school year approaches! If you haven't already picked your music here are some suggestions that should help you find the right mixes of challenging and fun music, as well as old and new music, to fill out your concert programs for the upcoming school year and strengthen your library. To help guide you through the suggestions, publisher names are in parenthesis and the "(y)" signifies titles appropriate for young bands.
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Onward with The Ultimate Guide to Concert Band Repertoire 1.0!
Here are our recommendations of composers/arrangers you should know. All of the recommendations below present a wide range of material that is very suitable for any band:
Frank Ticheli (Manhattan Beach Music) Frank Ticheli has been at the top of his game for a long time now. There's always a good story behind his pieces and playing his music is just really fun. SMP recommends:
Michael Daugherty (Hal Leonard) Michael Daugherty's music is very challenging but fun and really pleases the crowd. His music is creative, cool, and incredibly inventive. Enjoy! SMP recommends:
Michael Colgrass (Carl Fischer) Michael Colgrass writes great music both for advanced band and for youth band. His music will challenge your band, no matter the level, but it is extremely rewarding. SMP recommends:
James Swearingen (C.L. Barnhouse) James Swearingen is a great writer for youth band. The music is attainable but pushes your band to achieve their potential. The music is equally enjoyable to play and hear. SMP recommends:
David Gillingham (C. Alan Publications) David Gillingham is another creative and inventive writer for band. He also has written some great instrumental solos/concertos with band accompaniment that are great collaborations to consider. SMP recommends:
Donald Hunsberger (Alfred Publishing)- Donald Hunsberger was a true legend of his time. He is one of my heroes. His music is as hard as nails but the hard work is worth the sense of accomplishment after attaining the finished product. SMP recommends:
James Kazik (Hal Leonard) James Kazik is a rising star in the band world. He has written some great pop arrangements and his original music is just as good, if not better. SMP recommends:
Oldies but goodies
Clare Grundman (Boosey & Hawkes) The classics of Clare Grundman are a staple for all great bands. The folk song compilations and American composer tributes instill great melody playing and blending. Playing this great music will make a band out of any group of musicians. SMP recommends:
Vincent Persichetti (Theodore Presser) Vincent Persichetti was one of the great masters of band music. His music connects the brain with the heart like no other. The beauty of the music is only matched by its genius. SMP recommends:
Karel Husa (Hal Leonard) Karel Husa was a very underrated composer of absolutely wonderful music. Tackling this music is an endeavor for sure, but you and your students will be better musicians for the attempt and even more so for the success. SMP recommends:
Here are some one-off picks that are unique and fun to play – a great addition to any concert.
- Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (y)
- Imagine (y)
- Oblivion (y)
- Ghost Walk (y)
- Mississippi Suite
Queenwood – Led by John Edmondson and Anne McGinty this music helps your students grow technically and musically while enjoying themselves and entertaining the audience. A must for every young band library.
Bill Holab – Great composers you may not know, but should; writing music you don't know but should. This music is incredibly inventive and creative. The future of music is in good hands with these composers.
Boosey and Hawkes – Leading composers and music of today.
Manhattan Beach Music – The flagship of Frank Ticheli (see above). It's great music and has great descriptions with their products.
Belwin – The basis of all good concert band repertoire for young bands begins and ends here.