Date of Award
Master of Science
Master of Music
During the past few years I have observed music teachers particularly in the instrumental field. In observing, I look and listen for these things: attitudes, information, ideals, appreciations, skills, habits of work, and those learnings which pertain to citizenship in a democratic situation.
With this fact in mind, the writer should go ahead with confidence in building an instrumental program, noting at the same time that there are many devices, both old and new, which can be used to do a better job.
The best teachings, are frequently found among those teachers who are familiar with the greatest amount of materials. The study of materials broadens a teacher's horizon, and makes it possible to give students an enriched fare of musical materials. It also tends to help broaden the teacher's own philosophy of what a music program should contain.1
In building up the instrumental music program, the teacher must examine how the student will make use of his performing ability. It is difficult, but possible, to develop an excellent high school band without any instrumental music below the ninth grade. The writer is certain that it is impossible to develop a good high school orchestra unless the violin players are started while they are in the elementary school. Of course, it is desirable to start players, while they are young, on other instruments, too, but the fact should be stressed that an early start on the violin is a must.
The next step is to get the girls and boys started. To do this, we need a teacher and some instruments. It is desirable that the public school provide these essentials, as part of the regular school program, at no extra cost to the pupils. Many school systems do this. Having the teacher and the instruments, next we need some girls and boys.
How can the instrumental teacher be sure that he or she will set up an adequate program?
It can be done only by organizing his course of study on a definite semester basis, with graded materials which the children can enjoy and perform with satisfaction, and with which they can recognize their own growth in performing ability.
The small school, practically all band directors will agree that the instrumentation of the small school should differ from that of the large school; however, there is lack of agreement as to what it should be.
The entire subject is more complex than it may appear. It has at it's core important considerations of interests, motivation, organization, efficient management, regularity of habits, and all the human behavior factors treated in psychology and philosophy.
While the experienced instrumentalist may frequently take these factors into account, the teacher with a limited knowledge of techniques will need all possible guidance and assistance to adequately understand the problems involved in teaching students to play instruments.
1. Irving Cheyette, "Building the Instrumental Program," The Instrumentalist, March-April, 1951, 25.
Julius B. Jones
Prairie View A&M College
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Date of Digitization
John B Coleman Library
City of Publication
Miles, A. (1952). Building an Instrumental Program in the Small School. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.pvamu.edu/pvamu-theses/518