Top Ten (well, 18) Ways to Improve the Musicality of your Band

Identifying the musical traps into which we all fall from time to time…

  1. Make big deals out of little notes.
  2. Don’t rush across bar lines, especially with moving parts in slower music.
  3. Emphasize short notes in dotted rhythms.
  4. Avoid “tripletizing” dotted rhythms.
  5. Play in balance so melodies can always be heard.
  6. Play in balance so the bottom of the harmony can be heard.
  7. Don’t allow volume changes to affect pitch.
  8. Don’t allow volume changes to affect articulation.
  9. Be concerned with note endings as much as note beginnings.
  10. Support with lots of air, even (especially) at softest dynamic levels.
  11. Communication: breathe and move together.
  12. Learn to connect unslurred legato passages.
  13. Play with vibrato when appropriate.
  14. Staccato!
  15. Don’t allow upper notes in phrases to “pop out”.
  16. fp
  17. Fast staccato passages can’t be….
  18. Percussionists must consider wind instruments being later on entrances, and adjust accordingly.

Above all…tone, clarity, beauty.

S Peterson_High Res

Professor Stephen Peterson

Director of Bands, Ithaca College

President – College Band Directors National Association

Professor Peterson is being hosted by ABODA NSW from May 4-8.  There is an open rehearsal with Sydney Wind Symphony at Club Willoughby on Wednesday 7 May from 7:30pm-9:30pm – ALL WELCOME!


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