I would like to get your advice, and hopefully a tip or two on the use of chorales for a concert/wind band.
I am co-conducting junior symphonic band have read that a lot of people play chorales in the early stages of rehearsals. Easy to play note wise but the conductor can develop a lot of different areas of the ensembles playing etc.
So I guess my question is have you used chorales throughout any of your rehearsals and if so what band packs or titles could you suggest?
Yes, I use chorales in every rehearsal and have done so for many years. Here are some chorale resource recommendations for younger bands:
66 Festive and Famous Chorales - Frank Erickson - Alfred Music.
Chorale Warm-Ups for Young Bands - Sandy Feldstein and Larry Clark - C. L. Barnhouse
Eight Chorales for Elementary Band - Quincy Hilliard – FJH Music Company
Bach and Before For Band- David Newell - KJOS
Symphonic Chorales Series: Young Concert Band - John Moss - Hal Leonard
However, remember to stay with your band method book as well as using chorales. The unison exercises are great for instilling pitch, vertical alignment and proper note length, among other essentials.
The book is designed to work sequentially, from exercise to exercise, and page to page. Each exercise is designed to introduce and reinforce certain concepts, such as counting, rhythm acquisition, articulations, syncopation, sub-division, new pitches, phrasing, intonation, terminology, fingerings, sticking, slide positions, etc. In fact, we need to help our students find the targets implicit in each and every exercise (generally we should not focus on more than three points).
We don't, in fact teach the method book, we show the students how to use it at home. We supply the strategies on how to learn, show them that when they use the strategies they can achieve successful outcomes. Remember to focus on goals, which can be achieved in the short term, say 5 minutes as a good starting point. The learning is theirs, along with the rewards of daily successes. Individual consistent achievement is what keeps students practicing and participating. They need to have ownership of their learning.
If we want our students to get the most out of chorale study, they need a grasp of the fundamentals provided by consistent use of of their band method as listed above. Chorales assist in acquiring harmonic sensitivity, stable intonation and imaginative phrasing.
Thank you for asking!