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Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

Concert One

Sea Songs Vaughan Williams arr. Robert Longfield

Seal Lullaby (Wind Symphony Transcription) Eric Whitacre

Alligator Alley Michael Daugherty

An Irish Rhapsody Clare Grundman

The Liberty Bell John Philip Sousa arr. Jay Bocook

This first concert is based on the oceans and the coast. The ocean is mentioned explicitly in the
first piece, which makes it an obvious choice for this particular theme. The second, the seal lullaby is
based off an animal which lives in the ocean, which is also true for the third; alligator alley. Ireland is an
island surrounded by the ocean, and the liberty bell is located close to the border of the United States of
America, placing it close to the coast as well. It was also used as a symbol of the foundations of the
Americas in a battle which took place from both sides of the sea; England and the Americas.

Sea Songs is a sea chanty-type fanfare that I think would be a good opener for a concert. There
is a repeating theme of three unison quarter notes hit by percussion and the band that would serve as a
good example for learning vertical alignment. The rest of the piece has many long melodies played in
different instrument families with almost equally as involved harmony parts. This could serve as an
exercise on listening across the ensemble to either the group that has the same part as you, or one who
is playing a contrasting part. The style switches from the beginning to the middle, and then switches
again when going from the middle more lyrical section, to the end which is almost a recapitulation of
the beginning theme. For the students, this piece would be enjoyable because it sounds as one would
expect a piece called ‘Sea Songs’ to sound- it is reminiscent of a pirate’s song. The audience will enjoy
the stylistic changes and the overall ‘groove’ of the piece, especially when in contrast to the Seal Lullaby.
As I mentioned, it would be a great learning tool for vertical alignment, listening, and stylistic changes. It
would push me as a conductor to be able to show contrasting styles in a very short amount of time so
that the students would be able to imitate and also make quick stylistic changes when called for in a
piece of music. This is also valuable because the students are learning a part of the English Folk Song
Suite by Vaughan Williams, who is a notable composer that they could research on instead of it being
your normal everyday canned grade 3 piece from a living composer.

Seal Lullaby is a gorgeous piece by my favorite composer, Eric Whitacre. He has transcribed his
piece “The Seal Lullaby” to more of a grade III level so that younger bands can also have the experience
of playing this piece as well. For the students, this is a great opportunity to play beautiful music that also
has an interesting story. The audience would enjoy a contrasting ballad between the other two pieces
around it, and would love the cluster chords and other Whitacre-esque elements that makes his music
so beautiful. Teaching-wise, the piece can function as a study on chordal structure, blend and balance,
individualistic playing, and provide the students with the stylistic contrast necessary for creating
balanced musicians. An opportunity to conduct this piece would push me to be more expressive in my
conducting, would improve my lyrical conducting style, and really push me to be the best teacher of
tone quality to the younger ensemble. The conducting element is important, but if I can’t also teach my
students the importance of tone and how to produce a clear and beautiful sound on their instrument,
this piece will just turn into a rhythmic exercise involving a lot of long tones.
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

Alligator Alley is a great example of a novelty piece, since it is a mixture of musical elements that
aren’t normally seen as well as being a programmatic type of piece. The fact that bassoon is highlighted
in this piece does place some limitations on this piece, since your band would have to have at least a
decent bassoonist for the piece to come across effectively. This piece also features the woodwinds
pretty heavily. The flutes, clarinets, and double reeds really take the foreground of this piece with their
involved runs and heavily rhythmic patterns. Towards the end, there is a slightly more involved brass
part, but the majority of this piece focuses on the woodwinds. The students would enjoy this piece
because of the programmatic nature. The piece has a lot of places where the important part ‘jumps
around’ a lot which would keep the audience interested and entertained. This piece could be used to
teach the concepts of staccato and accent, solo and soli, and dynamic contrast. The brass players mostly
play loud sections which are accented, and the woodwinds are normally playing soft staccato runs.
These concepts could be compared and contrasted by the students within a warm-up setting even if that
isn’t their own part in the piece.

An Irish Rhapsody begins in an almost fanfare-esque type of sound that quickly evolves into a
beautiful Irish chorale. The sweeping melody is passed from the clarinet, to the flute, to the low brass
and back up to the woodwinds again. The style changes once again to an upbeat Irish dance feel, which
features the upper woodwinds. The sweeping melody returns in the saxophone section, the fanfare
theme returns, and the piece ends with a slower dramatic finish. This piece will hopefully interest the
students because of its large variety of styles and expressive elements inherent to the Irish style of
music. The audience will enjoy the piece because of the number of color and texture shifts throughout
the piece. It is truly one of those pieces that, when played well, will keep an audience on their toes. This
is especially true at the end, when the listener is expecting a fast, Irish-fanfare style end, and then is met
with the beautiful chorale conclusion. Some of the challenges for the piece would be keeping the band
engaged the whole piece as well as showing all of the different styles without them becoming too
similar or getting bored as the conductor. As a conductor, I would have to ensure that tone was at the
core of my lessons, since the whole piece relies on the quality tone of the lyrical chorale sections.

The Liberty Bell is a classic Sousa march that has been transcribed for the young band. There are
a lot of instances of a call-and-response type of playing, as well as a large amount of dynamic contrast.
This piece is one of the slower Sousa marches, making it more accessible to the high school band
program. This piece would be interesting to the students because of the style of the piece. In my
opinion, it is easier to get people excited about a march than about almost any other genre of wind
band music. The audience will enjoy it since it is quick, up-beat and ends with a strong finish. A march is
the classic ending to a band concert, which is why I chose to have it at the end. The students could learn
about John Philip Sousa and the history of the modern band in America. In addition to the historical
aspect, the piece also provides a lot of opportunity to discuss staccato and dynamic contrast. As a
conductor, I’ve always wanted to conduct a Sousa march, so I would greatly enjoy it. It would also
stretch me to conduct in a way that shows the vast difference in dynamic contrasts in a Sousa march.
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

Concert Two

Academic Festival Overture Johannes Brahms arr. Michael Story

The Red Balloon Anne McGinty

76 Trombones Leroy Anderson arr. Jay Bocook

Children’s Folksong Kevin M. Walczyk

American Patrol Frank Meacham

The second concert is a collection of “A Look Into World History”. Brahms is one of the most
well-known German musicians of his time, and this is essentially taking a look into the past to see what a
band may have sounded like in the earlier years of bands as an art form. Then, we jump forward to
contemporary music, with a beautiful chorale from an American composer. We then look into the
American era of musical theatre with a rendition of 76 trombones from Meredith Williams’ musical, The
Music Man. This is followed by Children’s Folksong, which is inspired from different Hungarian Folk
Songs that was then brought to the American wind band culture. We finish our concert [and our trip
around the globe] with an old American march, which is reminiscent of the ‘good old days’ of the Sousa
traveling bands.

Academic Festival Overture is a new arrangement of Brahms’ well-known piece, made into a
version that is now more accessible to the standard high school band. Although it doesn’t begin in a
grandiose fanfare type of style, the piece’s unexpected beginning hooks the listener and draws them
into the piece and, as a result, the rest of your concert. This piece can be a very good rhythmic study for
your high school band. There is a lot of passing lines, countermelodies and all of the other aspects that
we associate with Brahms’ larger work of the same name. This piece is entertaining for the students,
because it has a lot of musical ‘jokes’ throughout, and when they are taught to understand them they
will enjoy playing them. For the audience, this piece delivers many different rhythmic and timbral shifts
that will keep their attention throughout. This piece can be used to work on individualistic playing,
dynamic work, listening to the important line, and can be used to teach stylistic elements from eras that
aren’t just the 21st Century. As a conductor, this piece would be difficult to conduct because of all of the
soloistic playing. I could grow in my skills as a conductor as well as my skills as an educator.

The Red Balloon is one of my favorite pieces for middle to high school band, ever since I played
it while I was in school. It is a lovely lyrical piece that features a flute solo, a trumpet duet, and an
optional alto saxophone solo. The piece has many instances of slight push and pull for the musical
aspects of the piece, but there aren’t many large dynamic or stylistic changes. This piece’s rich chordal
structure and writing will interest the students and keep them engaged as they play. It may be a slight
bit under their playing level, which enables the ensemble to explore the musical and expressive
elements of the music even more deeply. The audience will enjoy the melody that seems to just float
over the ensemble. This piece is a study on musicality. From the soloistic playing to the nuanced
differentiation in volume and timbre, this piece would be the perfect canvas for high school students to
explore the musical aspects that create emotion and motion in the listener. As a conductor, I would
need to learn to be more of a facilitator of the ensemble’s music rather than a dictator. This would mean
more ‘getting out of the way’ and letting the ensemble govern the music making themselves.
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

76 Trombones is the novelty piece of this concert. It is a familiar tune that students will enjoy,
with the creative percussion instruments, glissando in the trombone, and juxtaposition between short
woodwind phrases and the long, exaggerated brass tones. This piece also musically references The Stars
and Stripes as well as other large band masterworks. The students will enjoy playing the piece, with the
programmatic title and creative writing. The audience may be familiar with the tune or even the musical
of it’s origin, and familiar music is always a little more accessible to the high school band concert
audience. Even if they don’t know the song itself, the little quotations of other pieces throughout this
piece are sure to catch their attention and remind them of something they are familiar with. The
challenges of this piece are vertical alignment, tuning, and using the accessory percussion and ‘fun’
elements in a controlled manner. As a conductor, I would have to ensure that the students are watching
or internalizing the pulse so that the fun music doesn’t end up rushing and getting out of hand. (We
want to sound like a real band…. Not one that uses the ‘think system’) Precise can be fun too! This piece
demands a myriad of different facial expressions, making this an exercise in communicating style
nonverbally using the face, which I personally would like to improve on.

Children’s Folksong is technically scored as a grade III+ or even IV band piece. I think that,
combined in a concert with mostly lower grade III and even one grade II piece, the students will still be
able to achieve success with a more difficult piece. Children’s Folksong is a multi-movement work that is
made up of 5 short movements; 1 Turos Game, 2 They Brought Up the Rooster, 3 Go Round Sweetheart,
Go Round, 4 Dawn, O Day, and 5 Parsley and Celery. Movement One has a lot of composite sixteenth
rhythms between all the woodwinds, and vertical alignment would be a big concept to work on. The
second movement is all about balance and listening in the chorale style. Next, is the layered ostinato
patterns of the third movement. The fourth movement is a slower tempo, moving mostly in contrary
motion or echoes the whole time. The fifth movement echoes the upbeat style of the first movement at
the beginning, which a multi-movement piece normally does. This movement contains the most varied
tempi of the entire piece. The kids will be able to learn about the history of each folk song, experience
playing something with more than one movement, and explore the tonalities outside of the diatonic
region. The audience will enjoy the piece, because the different movements make it chock full of
variations of tempi, rhythm and style. There are some challenges with this piece, both for the conductor
and the ensemble. Since the tonality isn’t solidly placed square in the traditional 5-4-1 chord progression
that we are so ‘used to’, this piece may not be something the ensemble latches onto right away. There
may have to be an extended amount of time used to work through the chords and harmonies of the
piece one by one so that they can be better understood. As a conductor, you need to keep the interest
of not only the performers, but also the attention of the audience. If a conductor is making appropriate
gestures, the audience will as well experience more in-depth music based on what the conductor
conducts to the ensemble. I would love to do a piece like this with my band someday.

American Patrol begins with a pretty heavy clarinet solo, so having a good clarinet or clarinet
section is imperative to this piece. This piece, after the soloistic parts, is your typical Sousa march. The
accented notes and more involved brass parts are kept in their integrity. In the middle, there are quotes
from Yankee Doodle and other American folk songs. This piece would benefit the students because
there are a lot of ties back to our country’s history, as well as the piece itself being an upbeat march the
just begs to be played. The students will enjoy the fast moving pace, intermingling parts, and ‘gimmicks’
along the way. The audience will react in a similar way, but they will be hearing it for the first time
rather than them hearing it after they’ve practiced it a lot. The quotes from Yankee Doodle are sure to
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

catch the attention of the audience members and keep them engaged. As a conductor, I’ve always loved
marches so I think this would be a very fun piece to conduct. Since we have ‘theoretically’ already talked
about Sousa, [even though this isn’t a Sousa march] we can ask clarifying questions about the way a
Sousa march would have been played highlighting different sections of the band each time and we could
think about doing that ourselves.

Concert Three

Encanto Robert W. Smith

On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss David Holsinger

March of the Sundried Tomatoes Julie Giroux

Prelude on an Old English Hymn (III+) Robert Sheldon

The Black Horse Troop John Philip Sousa ed. Frederick Fennell

The third concert is a focus on the American composer. All of the pieces featured on tonight’s
concert have come about due to an American person who felt moved to compose this music. There are
many different genres, tempos and dynamics, but we are all united in the fact that we all call this place
our home. From the contemporary composers like Robert W. Smith to the ‘good old classics’ like Sousa,
we all call this place our home.

Encanto, unlike many other more traditional concert openers, doesn’t start with a grandiose fast
and rhythmic fanfare. It, instead, begins with a regal brass and woodwind choir, then moves into a much
more animated section in an asymmetric meter. There is a flute solo accompanied with all the
woodwind voices, which then moves into a full band rendition of the lyrical theme. If this piece is
intended to be used on a concert, a confident and talented flute player should either already exist in the
ensemble or strong potential should be seen. Otherwise, the middle of this piece would not be effective.
The end of the piece echoes the beginning but then takes a turn and ends in the expected flashy finish.
This piece is just really fun. The phenomenal writing with tone colors, stylistic elements and soloistic
playing make this a piece that high schoolers would enjoy learning and performing. This style of an
opener is unexpected, but effective. It is just enough of a fanfare to get the audience interested in the
piece without grabbing them by the collar and pulling them into it, as some other fanfares often tend to
do. Working on this piece would be a lot of chordal tuning, especially for the beginning and the ending.
The first impression of the concert is important, and coming in on a large block chord like that and then
being out of tune wouldn’t give the effect that we as the ensemble would be hoping for. As a conductor,
I will need to be able to instill confidence in the soloist, conduct the background information, and be
able to know when the strict beat is actually needed, especially in the chorale section.

On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss begins with the lyrical chorale style that this concert has been
needing so far. This piece has a lovely beginning with trading off soloists playing the melody of the old
hymn It Is Well With My Soul. The hymn is joined with a newly composed countermelody that is played
in between the verses of the hymn for a new harmonic context. Then, this piece turns to the brass for a
stanza of their own, which is then joined by the woodwinds for a grand restatement of the last verse.
The chorus returns, a call and echo between the clarinets and low brass. The piece ends in the same
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

peaceful fashion that it began in. I personally love this piece because the song itself has a very personal
meaning to me. In addition to this, the story of the hymn at its creation is very moving. When teaching
this piece, the teacher must be careful to not impose a set of beliefs on students. The students need not
be Christians to play the piece, but it does help to know the history of the piece is that a man had lost
his entire family on a shipwreck along with most of possessions and out of that tragedy came this
beautiful piece of music that was used to calm the man’s soul and tell him that with his God, everything
would be alright. This piece would appeal to the students because of the beautiful melody, and the
promise that music can be made in times of severe adversity. The audience would enjoy the sweeping
melody and building instrumentation. If the hymn is known by some members in the audience, it would
make it all the more meaningful to them. As a conductor, I would love to share this piece of music with
my students. I would need to be careful using a song that correlates so closely to my own beliefs,
because it would be difficult to not be too personal. I do think that this story can provide more than just
context, but also open the classroom for discussion about music being an expressive element that
comes from the heart rather than just notes on a page. Students should learn that life is hard and that
sometimes music is the best way to cope with that. In this way, we are teaching our students how they
can respond to tragedy and creating them to be lifelong musicians.

March of the Sundried Tomatoes by Julie Giroux is exactly the disjointed gimmicky piece that
you expect from the title. It begins with highly spaced out hits in the woodwinds and low brass, and the
other sections are eventually added in until everyone is playing by the middle, where the tempo picks up
and the piece sounds almost like the style of the namesake, a true march. There is heavy use of
accessory percussion such as the bird call and whistle. The piece has a lot of ‘musical jokes’, especially at
the beginning. The piece is truly entertaining and enjoyable once one understands how the jokes within
the musical structure work. The students will enjoy the piece because of the odd title, gimmicks, and
upbeat tempo. The audience will also appreciate all the musical jokes, as long as they are performed
well by both the ensemble and the conductor. As the conductor, I would need to ensure that the
students know they are allowed to have fun on this piece. There is nothing more confusing than going to
a concert where there are many musical jokes and gimmicks performed by a seemingly unfeeling
ensemble. This makes the audience members feel as though they aren’t supposed to laugh, since this is
a serious musical event. As the conductor, you have to make sure the audience knows that it’s ok to
laugh at a band concert. [But only if the piece is MEANT to be comical….].

Prelude on an Old English Hymn is slightly more than a standard grade III level, but the pieces
surrounding it are lower grade III, so the effort needed to tackle a piece that may be at the top end of
the zone of proximal development for the students will be able to put forth without sacrificing the other
pieces entirely. This piece begins in a fanfare fashion, but the middle is the picture of a true ballad. The
beginning is but a precursor to the actual chorale which is introduced in the middle section. The hymn
that this piece is based on is All Creatures of Our God and King. The students will enjoy this ballad
because of the beginning and ending sections, because they are more of an upbeat style. The audience
will enjoy the middle section more because as a rule of thumb, people enjoy things that they already
know. Since All Creatures of Our God and King is a pretty standard hymn, there is a higher likelihood that
someone in the audience will know the piece and then appreciate the smart writing and arranging of
this hymn tune for the high school band. There are a few challenges as a conductor and director here.
There may be a problem with mixing the secular and the sacred. Knowing how to handle this also ties
into knowing your community. Since there are two hymns on this concert, it may be pushing it, but our
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

country’s music did come largely from the church. As a conductor, I would need to ensure that the
beginning and ending are matching in style and that the middle has the correct tone, support, and
accuracy in order to make the beginning and ending mean more.

The Black Horse Troop is a standard Sousa march. This particular arrangement has been reduced
down to create a more accessible version for the high school wind band to play this iconic march and
have success in it. The running woodwind lines combined with the fanfare of the brass all combine into
what we know as the classic Sousa march. The students will enjoy the fast-paced challenge of this march
that seems to race to the finish. The audience will enjoy the quick flourish to the end of the concert,
almost as if it were ending with fireworks or some other show. This piece would give the director the
opportunity to talk about articulation styles, how to play quick running patterns in the woodwind
instruments, as well as discussing the history of the Sousa band with the ensemble again. This could turn
into an exercise on balance and listening to different sections each time to create your own special
[insert high school name here]’s version of the Black Horse Troop March that you won’t be able to find
anywhere else. As a conductor, I will be pushed to show just enough to get the students to play the
steady tempo on their own because I won’t be needed once the march starts rolling on its own. It will
also be a challenge to ensure that my teaching style is really a teaching style and not a dictatorship,
especially when trying to coach the students to think of their own musical interpretations of the piece.

Concert Four

Fanfare for the Common Man Aaron Copland arr. Robert Longfield

All the Pretty Little Horses Traditional arr. Andrew Boysen Jr.

The Great Steamboat Race Robert W. Smith

Dublin Dances Jan Van der Roost

Washington Post John Philip Sousa arr. Jay Bocook

The fourth concert is a focus on the early industrial revolution and man. All these pieces relate
to the progress of our human society and what has been left behind because of this. Fanfare for the
Common Man was a grand fanfare written for the ‘common’ man instead of focusing on someone of
higher standing, All the Pretty Little Horses is symbolic of the first explorations of the nation before the
invention of vehicular transportation, and the dwindling of our natural habitats while the US expands.
The Great Steamboat Race obviously has to do with the industrial revolution, focusing on the invention
of the steamboat ship. Dublin Dances addresses Irish immigration and the beginnings of our country
being known as ‘the great melting pot’. Washington Post is a classic march by John Philip Sousa, tying in
the human elements of the United States during this time.

Fanfare for the Common Man is a classic band piece by Aaron Copland. Arranged by Robert
Longfield, this piece is now accessible to the high school group with a classification of grade III. The
classic melody and regal style are preserved, and the piece itself is still intact. This opener is the perfect
beginning to this American concert since Aaron Copland’s first publication of the piece was available to
the American public on tax day. This piece focuses heavily on the brass, when most of the pieces I have
chosen focus more on the woodwind side. I think giving the brass a time to really shine is a good change
of pace from the other concerts I have planned so far. The students will love the piece with its forceful
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

and majestic feel. The audience will enjoy the piece, as it is most certainly an attention grabber and
remains in the heroic style through the end of the piece. This piece provides a great opportunity for the
students to think about tone quality, moving together as an ensemble, and blending together. This piece
can also open the door to a discussion of American musical history, and a study into the life of Aaron
Copland. I think incorporating historical elements of music into the band setting isn’t something we do
often enough, and this piece would provide an opportunity for that type of discussion.

All the Pretty Little Horses is a beautiful ballad inspired by a lullaby to a sleeping child. The title
of the piece is reminiscent of the pioneers and others who decided to go West and explore the country.
Many of them had to leave their homes and livelihood and sometimes even family members to go on
the journey to their new home, not yet knowing where they would even be. In our current wildlife
situation, the ending also brings back a familiar echo of the natural landscape that was once present in
our country. The beginning of the piece begins with a flute solo and ends with the band singing a final
rendition of the lullaby itself. This piece is a stark contrast to the first, making it a good piece to follow it.
The students will enjoy the sweeping melody of the piece. The audience will enjoy the style, and
especially the singing at the end. All of the parents in the audience will be happy to hear their own
child’s voice at the end of the piece. As a conductor, the beginning and ending will be extremely difficult,
since it’s highly soloistic and musically sensitive in both places. Showing every beat will very likely not be
needed, but the ensemble should still feel a strong sense of support from the podium. In addition to
this, it may also be a challenge to get the high school group to sing. It will be very effective, but only if
the ‘buy-in’ factor is high.

The Great Steamboat Race is a welcome addition to the concert that has begun with mainly
subdued pieces that haven’t had that flashy driving aspect that one often hears in a band concert. The
piece begins with a jazz feel, moves into a faster moving section with extended techniques in the flute
and novelty percussion instruments. As with almost all novelty pieces, the primary purpose of the piece
is to tell the story implied by the programmatic title. The piece finishes with the sound of the victorious
steamboat sailing away into the distance. The students would absolutely love this piece from all the
‘trick’ elements to the overall style of the piece. The audience would likely be caught up in the story that
the band is portraying, giving the listener an engaging and enjoyable experience. The musical elements
that can be taught here are extended techniques to the flute players, new techniques for novelty
percussion items in the percussion section, the concepts of accelerando and ritardando, and a
refocusing on dynamics and articulations. As the conductor, I would have to make sure to be in
complete control of the pulse without having room to be flexible with the students and enjoy the music
making. This piece has a tendency to rush, since there is so much going on at once. Also, I would need to
have a very deliberate teaching style for the instrumentalists that are using new techniques, such as the
flutes and the percussion.

Dublin Dances begins with a quiet percussion ostinato and flute solo. The style for the piece is
already set by this time and when the brass come in with the longer lyrical melody, the subdivision has
already been provided, creating a higher likelihood that this melody will be played rhythmically
accurately. This first movement is based on the traditional Irish folk song “Brian Boru’s March”. In the
second movement, the texture is full, featuring more of the brass sounds in a beautiful chorale rendition
of “The Minstrel Boy”. This piece ends with the classic, “The Irish Washerwoman”, an upbeat jig with all
sections involved. The dances are all well-known Irish tunes that are sure to capture the interest of both
the audience and the students. The students would enjoy the stylistic Irish elements and the upbeat
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

tempos. The audience will enjoy the stylistic differences between the Irish dances and the other pieces
on the concert. The dance-like style of Irish music in general tends to captivate the listener, so I think the
audience will love the rendition of the three chosen Irish folktunes. As a conductor, this would be very
enjoyable to conduct. I personally love Irish music and would be really excited to be able to conduct a
piece in that style. Irish music is known for being in triple meters, like 9/8, 12/8, or 6/8. This piece would
be a good opportunity to ensure that my students understand the differences in triple and duple meters
and it would be a good opportunity for me to ensure that I can conduct in both types of meter as well.

Washington Post is a classic Sousa march that has been arranged to make it more accessible to
the high school band program. Even though it is simplified, it still keeps the indicative Sousa style and
elements of the traditional March itself. The march has a lot of instances of unison playing on the
melodic line before a harmony part is added. Looking at this shows that a good concept to work on
would be vertical alignment and articulation matching. Another element of the piece is the harmony
itself. By the end of the piece, the melody has been heard a lot of times and the harmony parts aren’t as
familiar to the audience. Bringing those elements out more than the melody in that moment would be
helpful. This seems counterintuitive to our normal thinking of always assuming the melody is the most
important. This piece provides a platform for us to teach the ensemble how to decide what is the most
important in a piece and how to listen for it. The ensemble will enjoy the upbeat tempo, sudden style
changes, and opportunity to being out their own part. The audience will love how light and quick the
march is. This piece would be fun to conduct, and I think the musical understanding of concepts would
really benefit a high school band program.

Concert Five

Also Sprach Zarathustra Richard Smith arr. Robert Longfield

Deep River Spiritual (Arr. Swearingen)

It Don’t Mean a Thing Duke Ellington arr. Moss

Carnival of the Insects Bruce Fraser

The Legend of Tizona Rick Kirby

The fifth concert is a spring fling concert. The pieces are all interesting, things I either think the
kids should know or things that I think they will enjoy. It starts with an old classic, Also Sprach
Zarathustra. This piece is included because I think this is a valuable piece of literature for the students to
know. The second is Deep River. This ballad is gorgeous and didn’t seem to fit into any of the other
concert themes, so it is in the spring fling concert. It Don’t Mean a Thing is included purely because it is a
completely different style that I think the kids will really enjoy. It would also work as an end of the year
plug for the jazz bands at your school. The Carnival of Insects is a full-length piece that I think the kids
will really enjoy, especially due to the somewhat silly title. The concert ends with a piece that I have
grown to enjoy a lot- The Legend of Tizona. This piece makes a great closer and will be very exciting for
the students and the audience.

Also Sprach Zarathustra is a very brass-heavy piece, which I think is good in my sea of
woodwind-featured pieces. This particular version is a great arrangement of the original piece made to
fit better for a group such as a high school band. The opening brass fanfare is just as you would expect
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

and the whole band joins in after that opening section. The sound is open and full, which really would fill
up a space. This majestic piece would be perfect for the beginning of a concert. It catches the
audience’s attention without the director having to encourage the audience members to listen and
appreciate performances. The brass in particular will enjoy being able to showcase their talents to the
world, playing such a showy and regal piece. The audience members will be totally immersed in sound,
and most likely love of these piece. As a conductor, I’ve heard this piece many times before and it would
be very cool to be able to conduct it and be able to share this piece with my group. This is one of the
pieces of this concert that I think my students should know. It’s used so often that I think they should
know who wrote it and what it is called so that they are being educated music consumers.

Deep River is a beautiful rendition of an old African American spiritual. The sweeping melody
and harmonization just sings out in the band setting in a way that brings the chorale to a climax almost
without the listener knowing so because they are so into the music. There is a beautiful trumpet solo in
the middle, and limited percussion parts. The students will enjoy the piece because even though it’s a
ballad, there isn’t a lot of just soloistic playing. There is an emphasis put on everyone playing a majority
of the time, but moving voices in and out to create the beautiful color shifts. The audience will love the
piece because of it’s inviting melody and highly developed counterlines. The music calls for musicality.
As a conductor, this would be very cool to conduct and to have that chord just ring in a hall after the
cutoff. Some things that could be addressed are dynamics, how to crescendo and decrescendo
seamlessly from one dynamic to another, the concept of color shifts, and the importance of the melodic
and the moving lines. Also, the history of the country we live in could be researched to connect this
piece to other classes your students may be in and create an even deeper meaning for the song to them.

It Don’t Mean a Thing is the novelty piece of this concert. It is a novelty piece because of the
style. The jazz style is hardly ever attempted in the large band setting, as the music itself is created for a
smaller ensemble style. This piece, in my opinion, is written in a more serious style that comes across as
jazzy without feeling cheesy or hokey. The jazz players in your ensemble will be very excited about this
piece, and it may even give them a chance to practice helping be the teacher. The tempo and new styles
are the big selling points to me for this music. The students will really enjoy a change in style, as well as
the fact that some of them may know the song already. Being able to play something familiar and fun is
always a cool bonus, especially for the middle and high school age student. The audience will enjoy a
break from the norm as well, and will most likely be tapping their feet by the time the ‘chart’ is over. As
a conductor, this would present a lot of unfamiliar ideas to me. I would be very excited to try it, but I
have never even been a part of a jazz band and I think conducting a semi jazzy tune with the full
ensemble is a good way to do that. This would be a great teaching tool for identifying different styles
and rhythms from one genre to the next.

Carnival of the Insects is a parody on the Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens, put into
a way that a grade III high school band could successfully play. There are many different insects
portrayed in this piece, giving the students a chance to experience switching between multiple styles.
The beginning of the piece is upbeat, in almost a circus style. Then, a lyrical section is introduced before
the band develops into a pointed more aggressive section. Then, a section that faintly echoes ‘the
elephant’ from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals is portrayed before returning to the original theme. I
think the students will really like this piece, from the interesting title to the clever musical ‘jokes’ spread
throughout the piece to portray different insects. The audience will enjoy the musical take on different
insect types and the range of styles that accompany them. As a conductor, I think it would be a
Abigail Huck Instrumental Conducting Literature Review

challenge to be ready for every single stylistic switch before it happened. This would be something I
would have to work on. A couple of things that I think would work well with this piece would be a study
in articulation and changing styles. This would also work well with incorporating a little bit of
compositional history. This piece has a lot of musical ‘jokes’ that one will catch after listening to Carnival
of the Animals. Some of the insect themes very closely relate to the animal themes first portrayed by
saint-saens. Playing this piece will give the students a bridge from the easier piece to wanting to listen to
(at least part of) The Carnival of the Animals and hopefully learn about one of the great composers,
Saint-Saens, in the process.

The Legend of Tizona is a great piece for the high school concert band. With the tam-tam crash
at the end following a big buildup, in my mind the only place is really can fit in a concert is as the closer.
It starts mysteriously, then changes to an upbeat light feeling. This piece continues, building speed and
tension until the end of the piece. It really does seem to tell the story of a grand warrior. There are a few
instances that the trumpet is featured along with the flute. There would be a need for a focused
timpanist, because there are so many timpani solos sprinkled throughout the piece. Otherwise, I think
the students would really enjoy the piece. It’s written very well for that grade level. The audience will
enjoy the fast ‘fight’ sections and the driving finish, as well as the programmatic style of the piece. This
piece would be a great opportunity to touch on articulation, style, and creativity. I think the concept that
is easier to approach in this piece than many others is the idea of musical interpretation and expression.
If the students can decide what is going on in the story, they can connect that with different musical
sounds and therefore be able to play music with the correct inflection and style based on the story
created. As a conductor, it would be a good experience to conduct this again. There are a lot of things I
think I could improve on the second time through.