Monday, April 29, 2013

Small Band Tip of the Day

Today I thought I'd throw out a tip of the day for small band directors. I won't claim to be a phenomenal band director but I've had to get creative everywhere I've been and I thought I'd share the smidgeon that I know. Today's tip concerns guitars.

If you have a guitar in your band, and you should its 2013 after all, then you can easily use them to cover the oboe part. Lets face it, the odds of finding a guitar player are way higher than finding an oboe player in a rural school. And truthfully with the way music programs are shrinking I don't feel that we can turn guitar players away. I have two. Depending on the piece I have them either cover the missing oboe part, missing bell parts, or occasionally double the flutes. It's a very versatile instrument with a wide range. The other advantage is that guitars tune way better than oboes.

If you have an electric bass, and I really think you should as it adds tremendous depth, then you can use them to double the trombones, baritones, or the bassoon. Some pieces will have a part for a stand up bass and quite a few publishers have started publishing stand tunes with bass parts. Tuba parts don't work as well since they're written an octave down from where the guitar plays. If there isn't a bass part I tend to assign them to the bassoon part. If the piece doesn't call for a bassoon I go for either the trombone or baritone depending on whichever closest matches the tuba line.

If you'd like more tips on using guitars in your band then check out my book "Three Chords and Prayer". It's available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Teachers Pay Teachers and Smashwords. Check it out. Help me spread the word. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments section.

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