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Methods Text Review

1993 words - 8 pages

On the surface, Do It!: Play in Band appears to be a great resource to implement in the beginning band classroom: music of many different styles, time periods, forms, and nationalities is incorporated into the method book, it includes not one but two CDs of accompaniments for students to play along with, and opportunities to improvisation using different methods abound. However, upon digging deeper into the text, one may find that the book is flawed in several critical ways. This text contains both good and bad elements of a beginning band method book, and if an instructor is willing to supplement the book with their own exercises and sequencing, the book could yield positive results for your beginning band students.
Not to be short-sided this method book does have redeeming qualities that the band instructor could take advantage of. As mentioned before, the variety of music used in this text is quite extensive. Music of all different styles from the United States is used, as is music from other countries in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Within these different musical styles, the variety of musical forms incorporated is also good, as ethnic styles, such as polka, as well as other standard musical forms like waltzes and ballads are used. In addition, many of the exercises – such as the “Listen and play” tunes – throughout the book encourage students to use the accompanying CD, which contains quality sound models for the students to hear, reinforcing ideas for good tone production. Other helpful elements included towards the beginning of the book include a simple practice journal and illustrations and instructions on developing the basics of proper embouchure, posture, and hand position. As an added bonus, the representation of both genders is essentially equal in these illustrations, although most of the caricatures appear to be Caucasian.
In particular, this method book seems well-suited to teach young percussionists. In the illustrations and instructions at beginning of the book, the text includes diagrams and descriptions about how to perform on many different kinds of percussion instruments, not just snare drum and bells. Furthermore, for these other percussion instruments, the author gives cultural context and historical origins in addition to the proper techniques used to play them. Although keyboard percussion instruments are not addressed in this section, the different types of keyboard instruments are introduced throughout the book in the context of the different tunes and styles that require their usage. There is then included a list of possible percussion instrument alternatives, in case a specific percussion sound is needed/desired and access to the appropriate instrument is not possible. I find this list particularly novel because it provides kids with ideas on how to practice at home even though certain instruments might not be available to them, and it allows percussionists to perform literature appropriately even if...

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