Is your elementary band working on its holiday concert songs yet?
Here it is, the middle of October, and your budding artists have developed basic executive skills and are hopefully ready and eager to start learning holiday songs: Thanksgiving, Chanuka, and Christmas. (Halloween if you are an aggressive teacher.) How many appropriate songs that are easy to play do you have at your finger tips to present to your still new band members?……Probably just a very limited few found in their “band method books.” Many of those are just excerpts of the complete melodies.40 years ago I had the same problem. So I decided to do something about it. The only direction was up. I started teaching elementary band and general music during the age of vinyl records and terrible sounding portable monophonic record players….and hand cranked mimeograph paper copiers. The ink masters would occasionally wrinkle, tear, or smudge while transferring ink on our hands and clothes.
Anyway, first I chose holiday songs, put them in the easiest keys for band, watered them down (when necessary) while still retaining the flavor of each song, then hand wrote them in each key for each band instrument on blank mimeograph ink masters. If I was lucky enough, the masters had pre-printed music staves. Sound complicated and time consuming? IT WAS! Get the picture?
A lot of extra work went into my preparation for each concert, but the rewards for my students and myself were well worth the effort.
I saved and expanded my materials through my career. As you know technology has greatly improved in the past 40 years. So after retiring, with computer programs for printing music and printers that far exceeded the old ink smudging mimeographs, and with old handwritten copies in hand, I produced “The Yankee Collection”, a compilation of melodies to be used for almost all events and holidays occurring during the school year.
Check out “The Yankee Collection”…..”WOW” is the most common reaction music educators have after reviewing my book. It is the perfect supplement to the band or string method you are using. Through the years my hand written music became the meat of my school curriculum. I hope you at least review “The Yankee Collection” and even better, test it out this year……….. You won’t be sorry!
Oh yes these books make great stocking stuffers.