GEORGETOWN
C    O    L    L    E    G    E

Music Department
Advanced Conducting: Music 336
Dr. Peter LaRue

Selection of Literature

Music which you choose for your ensembles should meet the following criteria:

1. overall musical value and worth of the piece
2. educational value of the piece
3. possible growth for the students
4. possible growth for the conductor
5. possible growth for the audience
 

When choosing music, you need to take into account the background of the students, the general ability of the students and the cultural climate of the school community at large. Members of your ensembles need to be motivated, however, the students must also be able to achieve a certain degree of success with the music.

Music tends to fall into four basic categories:

1. traditional writing
[Choral: Bach Chorales, et al-Band: Sousa Marches, et al]

2. transcriptions/arrangements
[Choral: Shaw/Parker Spirituals, et al-Band: Leidzen, Cailliet, etc.]

3. original compositions
[Choral: very broad-Mozart to Ness Beck-Band: more limited-Hindemith to Holsinger, et al]

4. instructional/training music
[Chorales, Treasury of Scales]
 

The categories listed above represent four major areas of literature. When selecting music for a program, you will likely choose some from each category depending upon the nature of your ensemble. In most states, music is rated on a "six-point" scale with Grade VI representing the most advanced music, Grade I, the least advanced. When choosing music, the following represent some of the key factors you will want to check the score for.....

1. range/tessitura
[too high for sopranos/trumpets, too low for basses/tubas]

2. musical resources
[requires better altos than I have/requires strong horn section - and I have none]

3. solo requirements
[tenor solo, trombone solo, etc.]

4. thinly scored - exposed/thickly scored - higher degree of comfort level

5. meter [mixed, 7/8, et al]

6. extra resources [requires combo, percussion equipment which I do not have, et al]

When programming a concert, it is good to remember:

1. first half of the program should be about 30-40 minutes - first number should be something the ensemble sounds good on and feels very comfortable with - start with a bang - if weaker selections are on the concert [and they oft-times are] surround them with stronger selections

2. after a brief intermission [ten minutes], second half of the concert should last about 20‑30 minutes and ending with a very rousing piece of music.

3. Remember that it is best to keep any program in the ONE HOUR range. IT IS MUCH BETTER TO HAVE THE AUDIENCE LEAVING SAYING "GOSH I WISH THEY WOULD HAVE PLAYED/SANG A FEW MORE SELECTIONS" THAN SAYING "HEAVENS TO BETSY, WHY DID THEY SING/PLAY THOSE LAST SEVEN TUNES"