A Curricular-Centered Approach to the Selection of Middle Level Band Repertoire

February 15, 2011 / By: Reid W. Wixson

The intent of this thesis was to determine what and how artistic middle-level band literature can be integrated with the teachable skills of the Standard of Excellence Comprehensive Band Method and systematized into a reference and retrieval system.  The sub-questionsasked were:What is the nature of artistic merit?; What is the nature of and criteria for artistic merit in band literature?; What is the nature of teachable skills in instrumental music?; What are the teachable skills advanced in the method book, The Standard of Excellence, by Bruce Pearson?; andWhat is the nature of an organizational system that would allow high quality band literature to be identified and filed for future reference and retrieval? 

With a shift in music education towards a more constructivist educational philosophy, a need exists for directors to more thoroughly understand which teachable musical skills are advanced in a piece of performance repertoire.  Knowing and implementing the teachable skills from a piece allows directors to utilize a spiral curriculum into their classrooms where musical skills are introduced, developed and mastered.  The retrieval database outlined in this thesis allows directors to choose aesthetically valuable pieces that further specific musical skills. 

The first step in the analytical process was to determine the artistic merit of the piece.  The second step was to record basic biographical information about the piece including: title, composer, publisher, grade level, year of publication, and style.  The third step of the analytical process was to examine the piece for teachable musical elements.  Additionally, the database has been set up to allow other directors to submit their own analyses creating an interactive web-based resource.  Ultimately, this thesis suggests that directors view performance repertoire as the core curriculum of the classroom and that this retrieval database will be an important tool in selecting appropriately pedagogical and aesthetically valuable pieces.