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High School Band music List

The Kentucky Band Music List
Part One — Why?

Selection of appropriate materials to use in middle school and high school bands is one of the primary responsibilities of band directors. The required music list for Kentucky Bands is a selective list representing the very finest literature composed or arranged for band. The purpose of the list will be to serve as a guide for Kentucky school band directors in selecting appropriate and high quality literature that should serve as the core curriculum for their ensembles.
Purpose of the List:
In accordance with the rules of the Kentucky Music Educators Association Festival Commission, the classification of bands in the senior division is determined by the selection of one composition from the required list to be performed by the ensemble as part of their assessment event. The proposed list will serve as the vehicle for classifying bands using only high quality literature. It may also serve as an important reference for Kentucky school band directors in selecting the best and most appropriate literature for their bands.
Guiding Principles for Selecting Music for the List:

In a discussion of quality literature for band and orchestra, the term “quality literature, ” or “good music, ” must be defined. One definition is that good music has the qualities of excellent construction and genuine expressiveness.

In addition, good music may have “stood the test of time, ” but much new music will also possess these qualities.

Does it have musical integrity based on the attributes given by James Neilson in his booklet “What Is Quality In Music?” These factors include

  • Rhythmic Vitality;
  • Genuine Originality;
  • Melody that has the qualities of economy,
  • Logic and inspiration;
  • Harmony that is consistent with and is suitable to the style;
  • Craftsmanship;
  • A Sense of Values (meaning that everything is in balance and proportion and that there is a sense of continuity);
  • Emotion Justified (“ . . .‘good’ music ennobles the soul and enlightens both mind and spirit.”);
  • Quality and Personal Taste;
  • The Test of Time.

Does this piece have good melodies, harmonies, and textures?

Does this piece contain a variety of keys, styles, meters, and technical complexity in proportion to its level of difficulty (grade)?

Is the percussion writing in this piece musical and logical?

Does this piece represent one of the finest examples among all similar works within the repertoire?

Basic List:
The proposed list, at inception, was the Suggested Band Literature List (Appendix A) found in Teaching Band and Orchestra (Lynn Cooper/GIA Publications). That list was developed by comparing the NBA Selective Music List for Bands, Teaching Music Through Performance (Series) (ed. Miles), Music for Concert Band (Kreines), Best Music for Beginning Band (ed. Margolis), Best Music for Young Band (ed. Margolis), Best Music for High School Band (ed. Margolis), Young Band Repertoire Project (University of Texas at San Antonio), and the Basic Music List (Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association). Music that appeared on three or more of these lists, and some newer literature, was chosen for the Suggested Band Literature List.
Determining Grade Level Classification:
Assigning a grade level designation to a musical work is certainly not an “exact science.” The technical demands of a piece are usually the principal consideration in assigning a grade level. However, other factors such as the musical maturity of a piece, transparent scoring, or unusual solo demands, should also be considered. There is much quality literature at all grade levels, and directors should become familiar with a wide range of fine literature.
Grade classification for this list uses the commonly accepted definitions for each grade level. Grade One is typically used for first-year players; Grade Two for second-year players; Grade Three for middle school or junior high and less experienced high school players; Grade Four for most high school ensembles; Grade Five for advanced high school ensembles and college or university ensembles; and Grade Six for exceptional high school, advanced college, military, and professional ensembles.
Changes to the Band Music List:
A Band Music Selection Committee of five members (a chair and four members) appointed by the Band Chair will add other literature to the list. Committee members should be veteran directors whose own performance literature selections represent the ideals set forth in this document. The committee may include a mix of public school and college band directors. This committee will meet at least twice per year to review new publications and evaluate recommendations received for possible addition to the Kentucky Band Music List.
The committee may vote to delete or make corrections to the Basic Music List on the recommendation of committee members or other KMEA members. Out-of-print music will not be deleted solely on that basis because it may be available from other schools or as an Archive Copy from the publisher.

Benton High School Band Region Festival Music - Azrael 1983
Benton High School Band Region Festival Music - Azrael 1983
Dickinson High School Marching Band 2013 Gator Music Festival
Dickinson High School Marching Band 2013 Gator Music Festival
Listen: Chicago High School Cover Band
Listen: Chicago High School Cover Band
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