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KNOW YOUR STUFF
SUPPLEMENT TO WHIRLWIND FOR BEGINNING BANDS
prepared by JODIE BLACKSHAW
In the column at the left you will find Jodie Blackshaw's supplement to Whirlwind, "Know your stuff."
The composer has created a series of exercises for beginning bands to help them learn how to play the notes - and more!
If you've purchased Whirlwind for your Beginning Band and are looking for teaching ideas, you've come to the right place.
Download the individual parts, structure page, and conductor score (including composer instructions) for free at left. Whether or not you have already purchased Whirlwind, you are permitted to make copies of the parts for all your players, without charge.
Read the composer's explanation of how to use the materials while you download them:
TO THE CONDUCTOR - How to use "Know your stuff"
"Know your stuff" is a resource designed to help the youngest of beginner bands. It will teach all of your band students how to play the four notes used in Whirlwind Concert A, C, D & E, without fuss or confusion.
Each instrumental part contains a fingering chart of each note, and each note is clearly defined in Concert and Transposing pitch.
The exercises following the introduction of the four notes have been carefully composed to introduce the various idiosyncrasies that occur in the melody of Whirlwind. Step by step they establish different technical combinations of the four notes and will not only provide a newfound confidence in your student, but will also identify minor tonality and the time signature of 34.
Percussionists are also especially introduced to rhythmic patterns featured in the Percussion Soli at Figure F in Whirlwind.
Once you have read through the first four exercises and feel confident that each student knows how to play the new notes, read through one exercise at a time. You may wish to do this over a series of rehearsals or dedicate one whole rehearsal to them.
Once you have reached Exercise 9 and the students are playing with confidence, you are ready to tackle the melody. This appears for all parts at Figure B in Whirlwind.
To link these exercises to the piece, here is a suggested approach:
Play through the melody with the whole band in unison. Insist on dynamic changes - work hard to achieve mp and mf. Discuss with students the differences in-between and show them how the baton helps with these changes. Also introduce the concept of phrasing and in particular the dynamic swell in the long note at the end of each phrase.
Divide the band in half and play the melody in a 2-part round, with two bars between each entry.
When confident, keep the band in two groups and play a round with only one bar between each entry. You can also invite your students to take a partner and break apart from the band for ten minutes or so. As little duets, they can work with each other to play the round one bar apart. Once you have brought them back into the band setting, ask duets to volunteer to play for the band. This not only breaks up your rehearsal, it also allows you the conductor to hear students on a more individual basis.
Now that the students know the melody really well, you can try it in 4 parts with only 1 bar between each entry. Groups 1, 2, 3 & 4 are written on their parts at Figure G in Whirlwind.
As a further extension, invite your students to learn the melody by heart.
Once you are playing the full score, you may wish to introduce the 'Structure' page also available on the website. Talk it through with your band so they can completely understand not only how to play the piece, but also how it is put together. Believe me they'll love learning how music is put together!
With this resource your students will quickly and easily embrace Concert A minor, providing the foundations to an ultimately successful performance of 'Whirlwind'. Enjoy!
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