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  • Chris Grifa

"On Teaching Band," A Valuable Resource for Band Directors!

Updated: Sep 15, 2019

“On Teaching Band: Notes from Eddie Green” edited by Dr. Mary Ellen Cavitt is the essential must read for all music educators. This book goes into great detail on all facets of an instrumental music program including: 1) understanding fundamental instrumental techniques, 2) ensemble tonal and timing concepts, 3) ideas on best practice for managing your band program, 4) classroom management, and 5) steps on how to secure a job from the resume to the actual interview. Teachers of all levels of experience will find this book helpful. Every time I revisit this book, whether it is a complete reread, which has been done multiple times or just a quick review of a chapter on articulation technique for our flutes, I always take away something new. The concepts in this book have led me to try, experiment. and create new ideas. Most importantly, my students have benefited from this book and they are having a better experience because of it!

It is important to understand that Eddie Green did not write this book. This is a collection of notes from Dr. Cavitt while taking his class at the University of Houston. In the chapter about instrumental techniques he covers basic playing position for all instruments, breathing, and pulse. He goes into further detail on the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. This includes information on suggested equipment, parts of each instrument, how to hold the instrument properly, fingering technique, how to form the correct embouchure and ways to keep an eye out for common mistakes. The articulation technique for each instrument, including the proper tonguing syllable that should be used is also included. There is even a section on articulation trouble shooting. As a brass player, the woodwind knowledge is indispensable! My brass teaching has even improved after reading this book! There is bullet point after bullet point of crystal clear ways of how to teach these concepts and what to look for continual maintenance.  

The language Mr. Green uses throughout the book is excellent. There is a common theme of words and phrases he uses to describe sound. These include the words "natural", "relaxed", "vibrant", and "tonal energy". I have learned how to communicate these fundamental concepts more accurately and with more confidence!  The analogies and buzzwords used throughout the book make it simple for my students to understand these concepts and easily apply them. When I first read this book, I was on a quest to figure out how to get our ensemble sound clearer. I wanted to get rid of all the excess noise that can easily get in the way of ensemble clarity. This book has helped our groups ensemble sound immensely and was a reason our group was selected to perform at the 2013 Midwest Clinic.

When you read this book, you will be presented with great teaching concepts and ideas, which you can start using immediately. Every time I read this book I catch a new concept or create a new idea based on something I missed before. This is what makes this book great! It will always be there as a resource and I always look forward to reading it! “On Teaching Band” is available on Amazon!

Praise for "On Teaching Band"

"On Teaching Band" is an incredible resource for band directors at all levels. Eddie Green's perspective on the pedagogy of sound and musicianship is the cornerstone of instrumental music education and along with the Essential Musicianship books should be part of every high school and middle school band's daily routine.

– Mr. Michael Pote, Director of Bands, Carmel High School, Carmel, Indiana

“Eddie Green’s On Teaching Band is an essential resource for band directors of any level.  In it you will find detailed and practical information about the crucial first steps in posture and sound production.  It provides countless examples of simple yet powerful language that concisely communicates fundamental principals of learning an instrument.  It is a book that I have on my nightstand next to my notepad and highlighter.  Each time I read it, I find something that I am eager to try in the classroom.”

– Mr. Zachary Rooksby, Hickory Middle School, Chesapeake, Virginia

“This book has completely reframed my entire philosophy of teaching tone.  The results I have achieved have led me to recommend this book to every teacher out there - especially those just starting.  It is a philosophy I wish I had come across much earlier in my career. Eddie Green had reignited my passion for achieving a high level of excellence, a must read.”

- Mr. Sam Fritz, Center Grove Middle School Central, Greenwood, Indiana

“I love this book!  It has truly transformed my teaching.  Not only is the information fantastic, it is also practical, applicable and it works!

– Wendy Higdon, Creekside Middle School, Carmel, Indiana

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